The population of Thailand is over 90% Buddhist and there are thousands of temples in Bangkok alone. You could spend days in the city temple hopping! However, some of these sacred places are more grandiose than others, and more worthy of your precious time. Helpful hint: Wat is the Thai word for temple.
Quick facts about Wat Saket:
*Entrance fee is 20 baht, cash – great budget option
*Opening hours 9:00-5:00
*Dress code enforced, cover legs and shoulders
Located outside of old town, Wat Saket has less tourists and an entirely different feel from the more frequented temples.
It still ranks as one of the oldest temples in the city and has a very interesting history to boot. You can actually learn about it without a guide, as there are informational plaques in English! A cholera epidemic hit in 1820s with more than 30,000 deaths. At its height, 1 in 10 people were killed by the disease. Custom had it that bodies could not be cremated within old town, so the nearest gate to transporting them out of town was right near this temple. The smoky aura at the entrance may symbolize the ash that must have surrounded the temple.
The area would become a dumping ground for bodies and vultures swarmed, depicted in sculpture, feasting on the corpses immortalized in legend.
Fast forward to present day on a sunshiny day. Also known as the Golden Mount, this place of worship is situated up on top of a hill and visitors must climb up over 300 stairs to get to the top.
There is always something to look at be it the kitschy art, bells to ring for luck, or Buddha shrines.
It’s an easy walk, but as you gain elevation the birds eye view over Bangkok is astounding.
When you get to the top, be sure you’re really at the top! Inside the building there is a discrete staircase that leads up to the golden chedi.
Soak it in, think peaceful thoughts. When you are ready to head back down, find the alternate route. The temple is located here, with a gilded Buddha, and no tourists to contend with.Visiting this temple is an excellent choice for those who are on a budget, hate crowds, and enjoy a more off the beaten path experience.