Wat Saket - Golden Mountain Buddhist Temple in Bangkok, Thailand, Wat Saket


Golden Mount Temple or Wat Saket (Wat Saket and the Golden Mount) The original name is Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan. The temple and the artificial hill were originally erected back in the days when Ayutthaya was the capital of the kingdom. Later, starting from the 18th century, the temple was repeatedly completed and improved by order of the kings of Siam, until it acquired its current form. When the capital moved to Bangkok in the 18th century, the temple was used as an urban crematorium. They say that on its territory at the base of the mountain the remains of more than 60 thousand people from among the poor population of Bangkok are buried. Now, of course, the temple as a crematorium is no longer used.

In general, this is a very interesting and famous temple in Bangkok, and it is definitely worth a visit if you have already managed to get acquainted with the main trinity of Bangkok's attractions: the Grand Royal Palace, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and the Temple of the Morning Dawn. The most interesting feature for tourists in this temple is that an artificial hill is created on its territory, on which one of the temple buildings and a gilded chedi (pagoda) are located. The height of the hill with chedi is 76 meters. Until skyscrapers began to be built in the city, the Golden Mountain Temple pagoda was Bangkok's highest point on the east coast of the Chaopraya River (only the Morning Dawn Temple 88 meters high on the west coast was higher). Going upstairs, you can see an excellent panoramic view of the Bangkok ratanakosin island area (see Bangkok districts) from a bird's eye view. To go up, you have to overcome more than 300 steps (they say that exactly 318). When going upstairs, you will pass bells that you can easily call, no one will tell you anything (just don't overdo it, they are very loud). It is believed that if you ring these bells, you will be lucky and healthy. Like it or not, you can check it yourself. When you go upstairs and get into the room at the base of the pagoda, inside it you will need to find another staircase that will lead you to the observation deck, where the chedi is located, and from where the view of the city opens.

But not only this is known for the temple. This place is very revered and visited by the Thais, because here, on the top of the mountain, in a special storage in the very center of the building, a piece of Buddha's ashes brought from India is stored, but they don’t tell which one. You cannot see a piece of dust itself, only the golden sarcophagus in which it is stored is visible. It is located in the very center of the pagoda, and narrow corridors lead to it, where you can go, but only strictly following the directions indicated by the arrows. Every November, the temple hosts a grand Buddhist festival, during which a huge procession rises to the hill.

The temple itself consists not only of a mountain and a pagoda located on it, as many tourists believe. In fact, the territory of the temple is quite vast, and its main structure is located below. Perhaps it’s not remarkable in hundreds of other temples in Bangkok, but if you get here, it’s worth a visit.

🕐 working time: daily from 07:30 to 17:30

💵 Entrance fee / ticket price: Temple attendance is free; access to the observation deck is 50 baht (106.01 rubles; Thai currency)

🚶 How to get there: Golden Mount Temple is located in Bangkok's Ratanakosin Island area (temple on the map). From the tourist area of ​​Khaosan, getting here is not difficult on foot. From the rest of the areas you will have to get by taxi, bus, or boat through the canals, since there is no metro near the temple (2 km to the nearest station).

Near the temple make city buses routes number 8, 37 and 47 (travel from 6 to 23 baht). To find out if a particular bus route passes in the area of ​​your hotel, you can use the service on the official website of BTMA city buses or just ask at the hotel reception.

From the Pratunam and Siam areas, the Golden Mount Temple can be reached by regular boats along the canal (klong). Boats along the Golden Line route sail in the Pratunam area from under the bridge at the intersection of Phetchaburi and Ratchadamri Streets and follow through the Siam area almost to the Golden Mount Temple. The fare is 13 baht.

Temple Mount Wat Saket on Golden Mountain

Every year in November, a huge temple fair is held at Wat Saket, which opens after the annual worship of the Buddha particles. During this period, golden chedi stands wrapped in bright red cloth, and the opening of the weekly fair begins with a procession of lit candles stretching from the foot to the very top of the Golden Mountain.

This is a rare opportunity to visit a wide fair in a Buddhist temple, held in accordance with ancient traditions, preserved in an amazing way and have come down to us from the depths of time. A distinctive feature of this fair is the many colored lanterns everywhere, and an incredible amount of decorative flags. Here you can buy food for every taste, as well as participate in fair games, revitalizing the Golden Mountain and making it a center of attraction for all people. Crowds of pilgrims, fair visitors from all over Thailand and just curious tourists fill up all the free space on the territory of Wat Saket Temple from early morning until midnight during the fair week.

If you decide to head to the Golden Mount Temple in Bangkok after sunset during the festivities, be prepared to defend the enormous line that begins at Rattanakosin Hotel. So keep it busy as early as possible.

I also recommend that on the way to the Wat Saket temple, walk around Bangkok on foot and find out how this noisy Asian metropolis lives. It is interesting to read some facts about Bangkok in advance, and then notice them while walking around the city.

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Bus№ 8, 15, 37, 47, 49
Ferryto Phra Arthit Pier
A boatGolden Line route to Phan Fa Lilat pier

The Golden Mountain Temple rises in the historical part of Bangkok near the Rattanakosin Island on a 60-meter-high hill artificially constructed in the bend of the Chaopraya River. Before the era of skyscrapers, it was the highest point of the urban landscape on the east coast (Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn holds 81 meters in height on the west coast). On English signs and maps Wat Saket is marked as Golden Mount.

The first mention of the temple in the annals dates back to the beginning of the 17th century, when the city had not yet become the capital of Siam. The territory of the vast temple complex housed not only a sanctuary, but also a crematorium for burning the dead citizens of noble origin. During the cholera epidemic in 1817, 30,000 bodies were burned here.

Wat Saket has been rebuilt several times. The first king from the ruling since 1782 and still the Chakri dynasty ordered the restoration of the ancient religious building of the Ayutthaya era. During the reign of Rama III, chedi was built. However, the architects made a mistake, and the swampy soil sank. Rama IV, better known under the name Mongkut in world politics, ordered the construction of a bulk mound with a diameter of 500 m and a height of 60 m, personifying the sacred Mount Meru - a sacred symbol of Buddhism, embodying the Hindu-Buddhist ideas about the structure of the Universe. The embankment was reinforced with bricks and logs made of teak trees.

According to legend, the body of the founder of the religion was cremated, and the ashes from the funeral pyre were divided among themselves by students.

Every day, thousands of believers come to worship the shrine, ask for heavenly intercession and pray. In tents, flower garlands for offerings to deities and sets of three incense sticks are sold: one means Buddha, the second - the principle of Dharma, the third - the Buddhist community of Sangha.

In the prayer halls there are numerous copies of the Emerald Buddha (the original is exhibited in the temple of Phra Kaew) in different vestments and Buddha days of the week - 8 in a row, since in the Thai calendar Wednesday is divided into time before noon and after.

The tourists are surprised at the wax figures of famous monks, made with such anatomical accuracy that they cannot be distinguished from living people.

On Loy Kratong, celebrated on the day of the November full moon, solemn services are held. A procession of pilgrims rises to the top with burning candles in their hands. The procession is accompanied by chants and prayers. The pagoda is draped with a red canvas.

Layout and interior

A road leads to the religious building, to the right of which there is a canopy for protection from the sun, and the sidewalk under it is covered with a coating that mimics a green lawn. The base of the hill is surrounded by spiral staircases. One of them (with the inscription “up”) is intended for ascent, and the other for descent. Unlike most temples in Thailand, there is no need to take off your shoes, as indicated by the corresponding announcement. Shoulders and knees should be covered. There are no restrictions on photo and video shooting.

At the entrance to the stone is a miniature copy of Saket Temple. The abundance of lush tropical greenery, reminiscent of a jungle thicket, makes you forget that the life of the metropolis is boiling nearby. A quiet place immerses in an atmosphere of calm and tranquility. Flowering jasmine and plumeria bushes fill the air with delicious aromas. Among plants, sculptures of animals and birds are installed, man-made waterfalls murmur.

In the middle of the path there is a terrace with ritual bells and a gong, which makes a low vibrating sound upon impact. There are also cafes, toilets. and benches for rest. In flowerpots filled with water, lotuses float.

Going upstairs, visitors get to the observation deck, which offers panoramic views of Bangkok. A golden 15-meter bell-shaped stupa is topped with a spire.

Entrance to the temple is free, but it is recommended to drop 20 baht into the donation box.

How to get there

Golden Mountain Temple is a 15-20 minute walk from the popular tourist street of Khaosan. To shorten the path, you can drive one stop on any bus going towards the center. If you walk, then you need to cross the river over the bridge and after a couple of minutes the entrance will appear on the right side.

Wat Saket is within walking distance of the main attractions of Bangkok - the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha Wat Pho. There are no metro stations nearby.

Bus routes No. 8, 15, 37, 47, 49 pass by Wat Saket. The fare depends on the distance and varies from 6 to 23 baht. From the central part of the capital of Thailand, you can get on buses No. 2 and 511, which go to the roundabout at the Democracy Monument.

From the areas of Pratunam and Siam it is more convenient to get along the klong (river channel) by boat of the Golden Line route for 13 baht. The pier is located under the bridge at the intersection of Phetchaburi and Ratchadamri. Exit should be at the final stop - pier Phan Fa Lilat. You can also catch a ferry and sail along Chao Phraye to Phra Arthit Pier.

If you do not want to use public transport, the GrabTaxi mobile taxi application will help out.

Wat Saket Temple

The Temple of the Golden Mountain is called not casual. The fact is that he is on an artificially created mountain, and at the very top is a golden stupa. Before the era of skyscrapers, Saket was one of the highest places in Bangkok. By the way, once this mountain sank due to the weakness of the soil, but then it was restored. I hope this does not happen anymore, otherwise I’m still going to return there. Visually now everything looks very tight, all the grief is removed in the concrete retaining walls.

Climbing the mountain is not difficult, literally 300 with a few steps. Although it is possible for plank beds to cause some, but not critical, difficulties. The mountain is surrounded by two spiral staircases, one on the ascent, the other on the descent. In fact, what to climb, no difference. Where in the middle of the climb there is a cafe for those who are tired. Also along the way there are bells and gongs available for visitors, call your health. And that’s why it’s impossible to call our Orthodox, it’s so great ...

The first part of the climb goes through the jungle

The first part of the climb goes through the jungle

Wat Saket or Golden Mountain Temple

Call for health!

Call for luck!

At the very end of the stairs, you can see the Bangkok rooftops, both of skyscrapers and poor peasant huts. We go inside the temple and see several statues typical of the Thai temple, there is even a relic of some kind hidden in the sarcophagus. From here the staircase to the roof goes to the observation platform, where the same golden stupa is installed. Please note that if the heat of the day is hot, then it is easier to observe the city from the large windows of the temple, and not from the observation deck.

Many people write that the Wat Saket temple has a pretty pleasant atmosphere, and I can agree with them. Indeed, a sort of island of calm in the very center of a large and noisy city, where you want to stay for a while and distract from pressing affairs and thoughts.

Views of Bangkok at the top of the stairs

Below the roof of other temple buildings

We look down and see the stairs around the mountain

Typical interior decoration

Buddha all in pieces of gold leaf

Monk whole in pieces of gold

Inside the temple you can eat ice cream

On the king’s birthday, the asphalt at the temple was washed with soap

Once, not far from the temple, these lovely creations were being sold.

Information to visit

The easiest way to get from Khaosan Road to the Golden Mount Temple is on foot, then it takes literally 15 minutes. For lazy people there are tuk-tuki, they will also be taken without problems. If you travel from another part of the city, then there is no subway, and you can either get by city buses or by klong (river channel). The latter is relevant if, for example, you are traveling from the Pratunam area, where all the shopping centers are located and the Bayok Sky skyscraper. Drive from there somewhere about 20 minutes and to the final. In the opposite direction, it’s also good to ride, do not stand in traffic jams.

The opening hours of Wat Saket Temple are from 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. It is a pity that you can’t get here in the evening in order to see the night of Bangkok.

If you want to find a hotel and settle near this place, choose accommodation conveniently on RoomGuru, this is a convenient service where you can compare hotel prices in different reservation systems.

I have stayed in Bangkok many times and in different hotels. I will not provide links to all my reviews, I will give only a few. Nasa Vegas is convenient for stopping near the airport and metro, Rajata is a good place to stay near Khaosan, S3 Residense is centrally located next to the park.

River Canal from Wat Saket to Pratunam District

Opening hours Wat Saket

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Thanks for reading

10.27.2013 at 11:22 | #

They made an entrance to the Temple of 20 Baht and put the uncle's barker =)

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The territory of the temple

The golden chedi at the top of the mountain is so named because its dome is glued with thin gold plates. Climbing the ladder, halfway you will see several bells and one large gong that you can hit. It is believed that this brings good luck.

At the very top, enjoying the panoramic view of Bangkok, it is worth going inside the pagoda. Some take off their shoes, some do not - so this is not essential. The fans work there, so it's pretty cool. You can sit or pray. Inside is a statue of a reclining Buddha in human height and a dozen smaller statues in various poses. Also inside there is a souvenir shop with religious attributes.

At the very center of the base of the pagoda is a Buddhist shrine brought from India. But you will not be able to see it, since it is closed from prying eyes and rests in the sarcophagus.

Despite the fact that the territory of the Wat Saket temple complex is not limited to the Golden Pagoda, but the rest of the buildings are of little interest to tourists, unless you want to pray in a Buddhist manner. This can be done at the foot of the mountain and in the surrounding area. There are many temple buildings made in the traditional Thai style and practically no different from other temples in Thailand. If there is time, then you can examine them.

The cost of visiting the Temple of the Golden Mountain is 50 baht.