Wat Saket, popularly known as the Golden Mount or ‘Phu Khao Thong’, is a low hill crowned with a gleaming gold chedi. Within, the 58-metre chedi houses a Buddha relic and welcomes worshippers all year round. The temple also hosts an annual temple fair in November, which lasts a week during Loy Krathong. The temple grounds feature mature trees and typical Buddhist structures such as the main chapel, ordination hall and library. Its origins can be traced back to the Ayutthaya period (1350- 1767 AD) and it underwent major renovations during King Rama I’s reign (1782-1809).
The Golden Mount at Wat Saket Built on an artificial man-made hill, the Golden Mount is the temple’s most well-known landmark and is a sacred pilgrimage site during the weeklong worshipping period in November. To get to the top requires a climb up some 300 steps, which encircle the chedi like a loosely coiled snake. The path is well-paved and the climb relatively easy if you avoid going at midday or during peak summer months. Before beginning the climb, you will find an unusual cemetery built into the base of the Golden Mount. Covered in vines and overgrown trees, it emits a rather spooky out-of-era vibe. Perhaps this is because in the late 18th century, Wat Saket served as the capital’s crematorium and the dumping ground for some 60,000 plague victims. Approaching the top of the hill, you will be welcomed by a wall of bells and panoramas of historic Bangkok. Temple Fair at The Golden Mount Every year, Wat Saket hosts an enormous temple fair during Loy Krathong, usually in November, following an annual Buddha relic worshipping ceremony. During this period, the golden chedi is draped in massive bright-red cloth, and a candlelit procession up to the top marks the opening of the weeklong fun fair. This is a rare opportunity to experience a large-scale temple fair like how it once was. Coloured lanterns, decorative flags, food vendors as well as fairground games and rides bring the place to life. Crowds of worshippers, families and fair-goers pack the temple grounds from early evening to midnight for the entire week. There’s hardly room to walk. If you go after sunset, the queue up to the Golden Mount can begin as far as Rattanakosin Hotel. So plan to go as early as possible.