Golden Mount, at Wat Saket, Bangkok
Golden Mount at dusk.
Golden Mount or Mountain (Phu Khao Thong), the name referring to the golden stupa on top of an artificial hill a bit short of 100 meters in height, is located in the Wat Saket temple compound. There is a circular walkway around the hill, where nowadays a playground (with a small ferris wheel) and various shops are located. To reach the stupa on top you need to climb a bit more than 300 steps, though we did not find the climb particularly tiring. On the way up, you will notice a lot of bells in varying sizes, and also a gong. They are obviously there for religious reasons, but kids have often good fun making a bit of noice with what is available.
The gilded stupa on top on Golden Mount.
The temple building on top of the hill was finally erected after other earlier attempts. Originally a large(r) chedi was planned, during the reign of Rama III, but the temple collapsed (Bangkok's soil is not the most reliable). The chedi on top was finished during the reign of Rama V, and houses a relic of the Buddha. Concrete walls were also added later around the stupa base for support. We noticed that these walls have the shape of a boat, like was customary for temple buildings of the Ayutthaya era.
Small bells, making a pleasant sound in the breeze.
Golden Mount is not only an historical site, offering a relatively good view over 'downtown' Bangkok, but is also somewhat crowded with worshippers.
Nowadays, entrance to Golden Mount is free.
Wat Saket itself, which can be seen from atop the hill, does not attract many visitors.It is however an historical temple, dating from the later Ayutthaya period, and was an important site for cremations. There is an important festival at Wat Saket every November with also a candlelight procession up Golden Mount.
Buddha image at Golden Mount.