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  4. Wat Saket

Wat Saket, Bangkok

Photo © Elwin Chai. View all images in our Wat Saket Photo Gallery.
Photo © Vyacheslav Stepanyuchenko.
Photo © Markus Gasser.
Photo © Markus Gasser.
Photo © Dana Hawkins.
Photo © madzoy.
Photo © Chris Brown.
Photo © Hartfried Schmid.

A well-known landmark, the towering gold chedi of Wat Saket was once the highest point in Bangkok. It is notable for its spectacular views and its hosting of the annual Loy Kratong festival.

History

Wat Saket itself (the temple complex at the bottom of the hill) dates back to the Ayutthaya era, when it was called Wat Sakae. The wat was restored under Rama I (1782-1809).

Wat Saket was used for cremation ceremonies, which were not permitted inside the walled city. During a plague in the reign of King Rama II (1809-24), 30,000 bodies were brought here.

The Golden Mount is an artificial hill constructed under King Rama III (1824-51). When the king tried to build a chedi here before the hill existed, it collapsed because of the soft soil beneath. He therefore made a strong pile of mud and bricks to support it.

It was Rama IV (1804-68) who crowned the new hill with the intended chedi. He also shored up the hill with 1,000 teak logs because it was already sinking into the swampy ground.

Rama V (1853-1910) added the chedi that stands today, enshrining within it a relic of the Buddha, said to be from India or Nepal, given to him by the British. The concrete walls were added during World War II to prevent the hill from eroding and the structure collapsing.

What to See

Wat Saket is not generally considered a notable temple in its own right, and most visitors come for the Golden Mount. However, it is interesting for its long history and its use as a cremation and burial site for so many people.

To the reach the top of the Golden Mount, you must ascend an exhausting 318 steps. On a clear day, the view from the top includes old Rattanakosin Island and the rooftops of Bangkok.

Just north of Wat Saket is where you can catch canal boats back to the town center, Siam or further up Sukhumvit.

Festivals and Events

Every late October to mid-November (for 9 days around the full moon) Wat Sakhet hosts Bangkok's most important temple fair during the Loy Kratong festival. During this event, the Golden Mount is wrapped with red cloth and a carnival erupts around it, with food and trinket stalls, theatrical performances, freak shows, animal circuses, and other monkey business. The festival includes a candlelight procession up the Golden Mount.

Quick Facts on Wat Saket

Site Information
Names:Wat Saket; Wat Saket, Bangkok
City:Bangkok
Country:Thailand
Categories:Temples; Graves and Tombs
Faiths:Buddhism
Status:active
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Bangkok, Thailand
Coordinates:13.753954° N, 100.507361° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Wat Saket

Below is a location map and aerial view of Wat Saket. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Fodor's Thailand, 8th edition
  2. Frommer's Thailand
  3. Wat Saket and the Golden Mount - Thailand for Visitors
  4. Vultures at Wat Saket - Thai Blogs

More Information

Article Info

Title:Wat Saket, Bangkok
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:04/13/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/thailand/bangkok-wat-saket-golden-mount
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/thailand/bangkok-wat-saket-golden-mount">Wat Saket, Bangkok</a>