The Golden Mount, otherwise known as Wat Saket, is a Buddhist temple that dates back to the Ayutthaya era. Up until Bangkok became the capital it was known as Wat Srakae, however when King Rama I renovated the temple its new name was born.
As you walk into the grounds you are greeted with an array of figures. The animals are made out of polystyrene and each animal figurine represents a zodiac year within the 12-year Lunar Cycle. I was born in the most majestical year…
The Year of the Ram.
Being born in the Year of the Ram supposedly makes you kind, caring, clever, weak-willed, pessimistic and shy. You’re supposed to be in tune with your spirit animal but considering rams tormented my childhood years by chasing and head-butting me, I’m not so sure we’re a good match.
The Golden Mount sits inside the grounds of Wat Saket and has been built up over time to become what it is today. It started with King Rama III (Rama I’s grandson) who wanted to build a huge chedi inside Wat Saket, but because Bangkok’s soft soil could not support the weight the building collapsed. The remains were left and over the years slowly began to morph into the shape of a natural hill.
Construction was restarted by King Rama IV who had a small chedi built on top of the man-made hill. A relic of Buddha, brought from India, was placed in the chedi and during his son’s (Rama V) reign (1853-1910) the construction was completed. Until 1940 when surrounding walls were built with concrete to stop the hill from eroding.
It takes around 318 steps to get to the top. But don’t worry, the steps are shallow, and long and the edges are dotted with beautiful greenery, statues and waterfalls.
There are also benches along the way if you need to catch your breath, and a little refreshment stand halfway up. As you near the top, you’ll see a selection of bells that you can ring for good luck.
However, this particular one, is rung three times, for good fortune. Once for your mother, once for your father, and once for you and your siblings. The ringing of the bell also signifies your arrival. It’s essentially the Facebook check-in for religious monuments!
When you get to the top, you will be treated to views of The Grand Palace and Wat Arun in one direction, and Silom’s financial district in the other. Pure uninterrupted views of Bangkok.
There is a 20 THB entrance fee.
How To Get To The Golden Mount:
From Khao San Road: Walk towards the King’s Museum, turn right, walk across the bridge that goes over the canal and keep walking. The entrance will be on the left-hand side of the road.
From Sukhumvit / Siam: Go down Phaya Thai Road until you reach Saphan Hua Chang Pier on the Saen Saeb Canal. Jump on a speedboat and ride it to the end of Panfa Pier. Jump off, make the first left down Thanon Boripaht and you’ll be there within minutes. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, as most drivers will know where you want to go!