After some pool time and lunch at the hostel I set out to explore the local area. I pass through the Royal Pavilion and look back to see the Golden Mount Temple high up in the distance. But I’m heading the opposite way making a large loop with my goal to see the Golden Mount Temple towards the end of the day.
I wanted to catch a view of the Democracy Monument a monument honoring the Thai constitution at the first intersection of the main streets.
I pick up some small supplies at a local mini-mart which fits into my small shoulder purse and continue on to a park and see this group of young guys. They are all wearing masks but once guy is wearing a full astronaut suit. I’m thinking he’s taking protection from the corona virus to an extreme. Passing by the Giant Swing built in 1784, this tall, red religious structure was historically used in Brahmin swing ceremonies I continue onward.
I cross over to and through Rommaninat Park a public park built on old prison grounds and admire some of the landscaping and statues. Then explore this place before making my way back towards the hostel.
I’m almost back to the hostel, this time crossing the street bridge over the river. I see river taxi boats and debate whether to just jump on one as a sort of poor man’s river cruise. However my goal today is to visit the Golden Mount Temple. There were two options to get there from here but I chose to walk the small pathway along the river thinking I could find a cafe for some refreshments. Nothing was actually open along that pathway but I found it an interesting side path to take.
Getting closer to the Golden Mount after passing through the Wednesday Buddha Temple I find a cafe and have some Pad Thai, a coke, and bottled water for 75 baht ($2.40 USD). The Pad Thai was very good and you watch it being made by a friendly host. I was too busy enjoying this to remember to take any pics.
After a satisfying lunch and cooling off with liquid refreshments its time to get to the Golden Mount (Wat Saket) which is a few steps away. Wat Saket in Bangkok Old Town is an Ayutthaya-era shrine topped with a gleaming gold Stupa. It’s also a sacred pilgrimage site during a week-long worshipping period in November.
I spot this cave entrance and checked it out. It’s a Buddha cave which is pretty cool and literally a cool place to hang out. History of the temple is displayed here. This portion of the temple area is free.
I new this Golden Mount would not be free but didn’t know the price until I got there. It was 50 baht ($1.60 USD) for the entry ticket.
Some background history; in the year 1820 corresponding to the reign of King Rama II (1809–1824), cholera spread from Penang to Bangkok leading to more than 30,000 deaths in the capital. Wat Saket became the main receiving ground of many dead bodies that were moved in everyday until no longer able to handle the loading.
There are 344 steps to get to the top of the mount, surprisingly with no significance to the number, the temple is 80m tall. Along the way you’ll see beautiful flora, lots of statues and cool misting.
There are many lines of large prayer bells to ring as you continue your climb up the steps. At one point I hear this loud gong, really loud. When you round the corner you see this gong. Everyone is tempted to try it and is quite surprised to hear how loud it is but can’t help but try it for themselves. Of course I did.
The city skyline comes to view which makes you stop and enjoy before proceeding. The steps are not bad at all since they are small height steps.
Once at the top you can get a near 360 degree view of the city. I can see many building and bridges that I would later pass by on my river cruise the next day.
After enjoying the views for some I think about making my way back down to the Temple coffee shop for some more refreshments. I get this Italian Lime Soda with ice that was perfect for quenching my thirst and cooling off. I stayed here until closing time, which was rather early at 5:30pm.
There are messages & wishes written on heart-shaped gold leaves hanging from bells. You can buy a leaf for a donation, write your message or wish and hang it from a bell at the top of the golden mount or from a tree at the bottom near the Buddhas footprint. I chose the tree at the bottom on my way out.
With the sun setting my favorite time of the day for taking pictures. I get a few sunset shots of the way back to the hostel which is just 1 km away from the temple.
Always a welcoming view to get back to the hostel though this Royal Pavilion.