Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is home to several historical landmarks, magnificent temples, and cultural treasures. One such landmark is Wat Saket, which stands as an iconic symbol of Thai Buddhism and has been attracting tourists and locals alike for over two centuries. Also known as the Golden Mount or Phu Khao Thong, this temple is situated on a hilltop and boasts breathtaking panoramic views of the city. In this article, we will delve into the history, architecture, and significance of Wat Saket and explore its attractions, along with some useful tips for visiting this beautiful temple.
History of Wat Saket
Wat Saket has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the Ayutthaya period (1351-1767). During this period, King Rama I of the Chakri dynasty commissioned the construction of a fortress wall around Bangkok to protect the city from foreign invasions. The wall was built using mud and bricks, which were later replaced with cement during King Rama III’s reign (1824-1851).
At the time of the wall’s construction, a small hill stood outside the city’s limits, which became a dumping ground for the city’s waste. Over time, the waste accumulated, and the hill grew larger, eventually becoming a mound. In the 18th century, King Rama III ordered the construction of a chedi on top of the mound to house a relic of the Buddha’s tooth. The chedi was initially made of wood and covered with plaster, but it collapsed due to weather conditions and poor construction.
King Rama IV (1851-1868) then commissioned the construction of a new chedi made of bricks and cement, which was completed in 1869. The chedi was later covered with gold leaf, and the temple was renamed Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan, which translates to “Temple of the Golden Mount of the Royal Patronage.”
Architecture and Design of Wat Saket
Wat Saket’s architecture and design are a beautiful blend of traditional Thai and modern styles. The temple’s most prominent feature is its golden chedi, which stands 80 meters tall and has 318 steps leading to the top. The chedi is visible from many parts of Bangkok and is illuminated at night, adding to the temple’s magical atmosphere.
The temple grounds are also home to several other buildings, including a prayer hall, a meditation hall, and an ordination hall. The prayer hall houses a beautiful Buddha statue made of gold, while the ordination hall features murals depicting the life of the Buddha. Visitors can also explore the temple’s courtyard, which has several small shrines and statues of mythical creatures such as garudas and nagas.
Significance of Wat Saket
Wat Saket holds significant cultural and religious importance for the Thai people. It is believed to be one of
the most sacred temples in Bangkok, and locals and visitors alike come here to pay their respects and seek blessings. The temple is also known for its annual temple fair, held during Loy Krathong, a popular festival in Thailand. The fair features food stalls, games, and entertainment, and attracts thousands of people every year.
Attractions of Wat Saket
Apart from the golden chedi and beautiful buildings, Wat Saket offers several other attractions for visitors. One of the most popular is the panoramic view of Bangkok from the top of the chedi. The climb to the top may be a bit strenuous, but the views are worth it, especially during sunset or at night when the city lights up.
Another attraction is the temple’s bell, which is one of the largest in the world, weighing over 7 tons. Visitors can ring the bell by pulling a rope, and it is said to bring good luck and ward off bad spirits.
The temple’s courtyard also has several small shrines and statues of mythical creatures, which are believed to protect the temple and its visitors. One such statue is a giant golden Buddha, which is said to bring prosperity and wealth to those who pay their respects.
How to Get to Wat Saket
Wat Saket is located in the historic district of Rattanakosin, in the heart of Bangkok. The easiest way to get there is by taking a taxi or tuk-tuk, as most drivers are familiar with the temple’s location. The temple is also accessible by public transportation, with several bus routes and the Chao Phraya Express boat service stopping nearby.
When to Visit Wat Saket
Wat Saket is open daily from 7 am to 7 pm, and it is best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and the heat. The temple is also open during the annual temple fair, held during Loy Krathong, which usually falls in November.
What to Wear and Bring to Wat Saket
Visitors to Wat Saket are required to dress modestly and respectfully. This means covering the shoulders and knees, and avoiding revealing or tight-fitting clothing. Shoes must also be removed before entering the temple buildings, so it is best to wear comfortable slip-on shoes.
Visitors may also want to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, as the temple grounds can be quite sunny and hot. It is also recommended to bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated during the climb to the top of the chedi.
Tips for Visiting Wat Saket
To make the most of your visit to Wat Saket, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Start early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and the heat.
- Wear comfortable and modest clothing, and slip-on shoes.
- Bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a bottle of water.
- Take your time climbing to the top of the chedi and enjoy the panoramic views.
- Respect the temple and its surroundings, and avoid making loud noises or taking inappropriate photos.
Wat Saket is a historical and cultural gem of Bangkok, with its golden chedi, stunning panoramic views, and cultural significance. Visitors to Bangkok should not miss the opportunity to visit this beautiful temple and experience its unique atmosphere. With a bit of planning and preparation, a visit to Wat Saket can be a memorable and meaningful experience.
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- Is there an admission fee to enter Wat Saket? A: yes , foreigner 50 thb
- How long does it take to climb to the top of the chedi? A: It takes approximately 20-30 minutes to climb to the top of the chedi, depending on your fitness level.
- What is the best time of day to visit Wat Saket? A: It is best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and the heat.
- Is there a dress code for visiting Wat Saket? A: Yes, visitors are required to dress modestly and respectfully, covering the shoulders and knees, and avoiding revealing or tight-fitting clothing.
- Can visitors ring the temple bell at Wat Saket? A: Yes, visitors can ring the temple bell by pulling a rope, and it is said to bring good luck and ward off bad spirits.
Price and opening days
344 Chakkraphatdiphong Road Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok