The sound of chanting monks and bells ring softly in our ears, urging us to take the next step up the staircase to the mighty Golden Mount in Bangkok.
It is a sunny afternoon as we set off up the broad concrete staircase that cut through the hanging trees covering this odd and unique hill in the middle of old town Bangkok.
Despite its 344 steps the climb is fairly easy as the path gently spirals its way to the top.
Through the leaves, we occationally glimpse the big prize at the top, the bright and shiny Golden Mount/ Wat Saket temple glittering in the sun.
Along the path there are funny statues that makes the climb cheerful and huge bells to strike for good luck.
After about a twenty-minute walk, including a couple of photo and “bell” breaks along the way, we step onto the top base of the temple. The whole building is covered with small bells, that ring in the wind like a gigantic bell orchestra.
After enjoying the stunning 360-degree view of Bangkok from the inside building of the temple, we followed an old monk up the narrow staircase to the temple’s roof and the golden stupa.
We sit down on a bench, and I close my eyes and take in all the sounds of people praying, monks chanting, bells chiming and the wind blowing in my hair. It is truly wonderful and one of the most memorable temple experience I have had in Bangkok.
The temple is not crowded either with only a few other western tourists, the rest are local Thais here to worship.
A visit to the Golden Mount Temple is one of the highlights of Bangkok in our opinion. The Golden Mount is one of our favorite temples of Bangkok. It also has a pretty interesting history…
Golden Mount / Wat Saket Temple Bangkok
The Golden Mount, or Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan (วัดสระเกศราชวรมหาวิหาร) which is its full name usually shorten to Wat Saket, is a Buddhist Royal Thai temple in the center of old Bangkok. It is located close to the Democracy Monument, Chinatown, the Giant Swing, and Kao San Road.
Golden Mount Bangkok dates back to the Ayutthaya era when King Rama I (ruled 1782 – 1809) founded this ground as a burial site. This area was at the time just outside the city walls of the newly established city of Bangkok. Several thousands of bodies are buried here, most of them from when the plague ravished through Bangkok during King Rama II´s rule (1809 – 1824).
King Rama III (ruled 1824 – 1851) then decided to build a stupa/ chedi here to be used for meditation and praying. But his building project turned out to be a bit of a failure as the big stupa collapsed due to the soft riverbank soil of Bangkok that could not support the weight of the giant stupa.
The whole project was abandoned and left to nature which took over and made the collapsed stupa into a hill overgrown with trees and weeds. The new artificial hill got the name Phu Khao Thong (ภูเขาทอง), meaning Golden Mountain. Nature is extraordinary in that way, it fixes and covers human failures. 🙂
Years later, King Rama IV (ruled 1851 – 1868) started a new building project of a small stupa/ chedi on top of the hill. His son, King Rama V (ruled 1868 – 1910), completed the structure and also added a relic of the Buddha inside the stupa that he got from Sri Lanka. The rumors have it that it contains some of Buddha´s teeth.
The temple structure that we can see today, with the concrete walls and stairs, was added in the 1940s to prevent the hill from eroding and collapsing.
The temple has since been renovated and is now beautifully painted in white and yellow. The stupa itself is of shining gold paining and marble. It indeed is a well kept secret jewel of Bangkok! It is stunningly lit and glows of gold in the evening.
The Golden Mount is one of the best places in Bangkok to enjoy the sunset.
If you are in Bangkok the first week of November, you should visit the Golden Mount as there is an annual festival held at the Wat Saket Temple every November. The candlelight procession up the Golden Mountain is supposed to be stunning. Check the Wat Saket Temple´s official webpage for more information and updates about the November festival and other ceremonies.
Useful Information About Golden Mount/ Wat Saket
- The Golden Mount opening hours: 08:00 – 19:00
- The Golden Mount ticket price: 50 Baht = US$1,50 per person
- The Golden Mount dress code: There is no strict dress code for visiting this monument. However, it is advised to dress politely as this place is a Buddhist temple. Do not to wear sleeveless and shorts if possible. Wear something that covers your knees and shoulders like pants or a long dress/skirt and a t-shirt/ shirt.
- How to get to Golden Mount Bangkok: Take the BTS Skytrain to National Stadium Station. From there you can either walk to the Golden Mount (30-40 min) or walk to the small canal next to National Stadium Station and take the canal ferry from Hua Chang Pier to Phan Fa Leelat Pier, and you are right next to the Golden Mount. Or you can take a taxi, tuk-tuk or a Grab car/ taxi
Join A Tour To Golden Mount/ Wat Saket
If you prefer to join a tour to experience the Golden Mount, there are several to choose from. Our favorites and the one we recommend, where a visit to Golden Mount is included, are:
- Family Canal and Tuk Tuk Adventure (four to five hours)
- Bangkok´s Hidden Treasures Walking Tour (five hours)
- Highlights and Hidden Gems of Bangkok (five hours)
The walk up to Golden Mount is beautiful, and this is one of our favorite temples in Bangkok. It is not as crowded as many of the other and more famous temples in Bangkok, which makes the experience peaceful and more authentic.
For more great things to do in Bangkok, check out our 3 Day Bangkok Itinerary.
Where To Stay In Bangkok
Bangkok offers a wide selection of accommodation for all budgets, and you will have plenty of choices when it comes to finding the right place to stay.
Bangkok is pretty affordable when it comes to accommodation, so you can get some really good deals and even find five stars hotels very cheap compared to other places in the world. However, accommodation prices do vary greatly with the season. Below are some of our favorite hotels in Bangkok. We have stayed at all of the hotels below.
If you’d like to stay along the river without breaking the bank, the new Avani Riverside hotel is a great alternative to the usual riverside luxury hotels. Rooms are super comfortable with fantastic views overlooking the Chao Phraya river and the fantastic rooftop infinity pool is probably our favorite in Bangkok.
Click here for current prices
If you’re looking for a mid-range option close to Bangkok’s famous Khao San area, then the Casa Nithra comes highly recommended. The rooftop swimming pool is lovely, the rooms comfortable and the breakfast has plenty of options. It’s located in a quiet area, yet Khao San is just an easy walk away.
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Hotel Icon is a small hotel centrally located on Sukhumvit road. The rooms are fresh and modern, big and comfortable with all the usual comforts such as flat screen tv, aircon, and free Wi-Fi. The rooftop swimming pool is great!
Click here for current prices
For more accommodation options read our complete guide to where to stay in Bangkok.
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Have you been to any of Bangkok´s many temples? Which one is your favorite? Please leave a comment in the comment area below, we would love to hear from you! Thank you so much! 🙂Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, and we will earn a small percentage of the sale if you purchase through them at absolutely no extra cost to you! Thank you! ♥