Wat Saket: A Guide to Bangkok’s Golden Mount

Wat Saket (The Golden Mount); A Monk Walking Past the Temples Sign
Temple Rating:8.6

Wat Saket, also known as Phu Khao Thong, is a revered Buddhist temple nestled in the heart of Bangkok. Its distinctive gold-covered chedi, standing atop a man-made hill, offers not only a serene spiritual retreat but also a panoramic view of the city.

Architecture: 8.5
Aesthetics: 8.0
Culture: 9.0
X Factor: 8.5
Value: 9.0

In Thai: วัดสระเกศราชวรมหาวิหาร

Address: 344 Thanon Chakkraphatdi Phong, Ban Bat, Pom Prap Sattru Phai

Opening Hours: 7.30 – 19.00 daily

Admission Fee: 100 baht for foreigners

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Length of Trip: 2-3 hours.

Trip Type: cultural / historical.

Age Restrictions: none. 

Dress Code: modest and conservative. 

Religious Affiliation:

Primary Sect:

Table Of Contents

Wat Saket

The Golden Mount's Stairs

After paying the entrance fee of 100 baht, you’ll begin your ascent up the gently winding path that leads to the temple’s iconic chedi. As you take each step of the 344 stairs, the atmosphere shifts from the chaos of city streets to an oasis of calm. 

Amidst the steps, you’ll encounter lush greenery, intricate statues, and aging bells that adorn the path. As you climb higher, the soft meditative chimes of these bells resonate through the air, strengthening with each step, guiding your ascent to the temple’s middle hall.

Wat Saket

Inside The Middle Hall

Upon entering the middle hall, you’ll be greeted by the sight of beautifully crafted Buddha images that are placed in respectful arrangements, creating a deep sense of reverence. 

Devotees can be seen lighting incense, offering prayers, and engaging in silent contemplation, while others take advantage of the peaceful atmosphere to meditate.

Devotees can be seen lighting incense, offering prayers, and engaging in silent contemplation, while others take advantage of the peaceful atmosphere to meditate.

One of the hall’s focal points is the central altar, where a golden Buddha statue is enshrined. This statue, often adorned with a saffron robe and intricate jewelry, serves as a representation of enlightenment and compassion. Locals are often drawn to this centerpiece, offering flowers and incense as acts of merit.

Wat Saket

Atop The Golden Mount

At the summit of Wat Saket’s Golden Mount, you’ll be rewarded with an open-air terrace that houses the temple’s iconic golden “chedi,” a towering cone-shaped structure that rises elegantly against the sky.

Here, you’ll witness devotees circumambulating the chedi in a clockwise direction or engaging in a quiet reflection. Either method of devotion serves as a way to purify one’s mind, release negative thoughts, and let go of attachments.

Beyond the chedi’s physical beauty, the view from the top of the Golden Mount offers a unique perspective of Bangkok’s urban landscape. The sprawling cityscape stretches in all directions, punctuated by modern skyscrapers, historic temples, and the meandering Chao Phraya River.

The juxtaposition of ancient and contemporary elements amongst this panoramic view reflects the harmonious coexistence of tradition and progress that characterizes the city of Bangkok.

Phu Khao Thong

Wat Saket's Complex

Besides the Golden Mount and its impressive chedi, the temple’s complex holds the revered Lucky Buddha, a timeless symbol of blessings and prosperity, that is believed to grant good fortune to those who pay respects. Adjacent to this revered figure stands the enigmatic Black Buddha, an embodiment of solemn devotion that is venerated for its spiritual significance.

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The History Of Wat Saket

During the Ayutthaya period, from the 14th to the 18th century, Wat Saket was originally known as Wat Sakae, a relatively modest temple amidst the historical backdrop of the kingdom. It wasn’t until the reign of King Rama I, who established Bangkok as the new capital of the burgeoning Chakri Dynasty, that Wat Sakae’s evolution into Wat Saket commenced. This transformation was part of the broader restructuring of the city’s religious landscape.

Nonetheless, it was during the mid-19th century, under the reign of King Rama III, that Wat Saket underwent remarkable expansion and architectural metamorphosis. At the heart of this revitalization was the construction of the chedi atop a man-made hill, an endeavor that would ultimately become the renowned Golden Mount, or Phu Khao Thong.

The Golden Mount’s ascendance marked a pivotal juncture in the narrative of Wat Saket. With its glistening golden exterior, the chedi stands not only as an architectural marvel but also as a potent symbol of Thai Buddhism’s core principles. The endeavor was a testament to King Rama III’s commitment to restoring and elevating the prominence of Buddhist traditions throughout Siam (present-day Thailand).

This monumental undertaking, carried out with meticulous attention to detail, signified a profound new chapter in Wat Saket’s history, cementing its significance as a spiritual sanctuary and cultural treasure for generations to come.

The Golden Mount

Getting To Wat Saket

MRT: Take the MRT Blue Line and disembark at Sam Yot Station. From there, the temple is a 10-15 minute walk or a 5 minute motorbike taxi ride away. This option is ideal if you want to utilize the city’s subway system for a convenient and affordable journey.

Private Taxi: Arrange a private taxi via Grab to reach the temple without any hassles. This choice is perfect if you prefer a direct transportation experience with transparent pricing. Keep in mind that Bangkok’s traffic can be congested during peak hours, so plan your timing accordingly.

Tuk-Tuk: Hail a tuk-tuk, a popular three-wheeled vehicle, and negotiate the fare with the driver before hopping in. Opt for a tuk-tuk if you’re looking for a unique way to cover a short distances to the temple.

When taking a tuk-tuk, be cautious of drivers who might suggest detours to other attractions. Clearly express your desire to go straight to Wat Saket.

Guided Tours: Numerous travel agencies in Bangkok offer guided trips to Wat Saket as part of their packages. Joining a guided tour provides you with valuable insights into the temple’s history and cultural significance, along with the convenience of transportation and an informative guide.

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Wat Saket Travel Tips

Where Should I Go Next?

Exploring Loha Prasat after Wat Saket is worth your time, primarily because of its captivating architectural design. Loha Prasat’s multiple metal spires and intricate detailing set it apart as a remarkable Buddhist structure within Bangkok. 

While Wat Saket offers its iconic golden stupa with hilltop views, Loha Prasat’s unique metal castle architecture, combined with its close proximity, makes it a seamless and worthwhile addition to your temple-hopping itinerary.

Wat Saket Guide

Actionable Insights

Visitors to Wat Saket, like many other temples in Thailand, are usually required to dress modestly. This typically means wearing clothing that covers your shoulders, chest, and knees. Below are some general guidelines for dressing appropriately when visiting temples in Thailand:

Tops: Wear tops with sleeves that cover your shoulders. T-shirts or shirts with short sleeves are usually fine, but avoid tank tops, sleeveless tops, and spaghetti straps.

Bottoms: Wear long pants or a skirt that covers your knees. Avoid wearing shorts, mini-skirts, or any clothing that exposes your thighs.

Footwear: Remove your shoes before entering temple buildings or certain areas of the temple grounds. Some temples might provide areas to leave your shoes.

Avoid tight-fitting or revealing clothing: Clothing that is too tight or reveals a lot of skin is generally considered disrespectful in temple settings.

To escape the intense midday heat of Bangkok, we recommend that you explore the temple grounds and climb the Golden Mount in the late afternoon, around 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM, when temperatures are cooler and more comfortable. This timing also allows you to witness the sun setting over the city’s skyline, which is particularly captivating from the elevated vantage point of the temple. 

Additionally, if your schedule allows, planning your visit during the Loy Krathong festival, which usually takes place on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month (typically in November) offers an enriching cultural experience.

We recommend 1.5 to 2 hours, which should provide you with enough time to explore the temple, climb the Golden Mount, and take photos.

Absolutely, Wat Saket is definitely worth visiting when in Bangkok. Its serene temple grounds, rich history, and the opportunity to climb the Golden Mount for stunning panoramic views of the city make it a memorable cultural and visual experience.

A chedi, also known as a stupa, is a sacred structure found in Buddhist architecture. It’s a type of monument that has a distinct design, typically consisting of a domed or bell-shaped structure mounted on a base, often with a spire on top. Chedis come in various shapes and sizes, and their designs can vary based on regional and cultural influences.

Generally, chedis serve multiple purposes in Buddhism:

Religious Symbolism: Chedis symbolize important aspects of Buddhist teachings. The shape of the chedi represents the cosmic axis or the path to enlightenment, with the circular base symbolizing the earth and the dome or spire symbolizing the heavens.

Storage of Relics: Many chedis contain relics of the Buddha, such as bones, ashes, or personal items. These relics are considered sacred and are enshrined within the chedi, making it a focus of veneration for Buddhists.

Memorialization of Events: Chedis are often constructed to commemorate important events, individuals, or historical moments in Buddhist history.

Chedis can be found in various Buddhist countries across Asia, including Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and more. 

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