Thursday, 23 December 2010

Climbing the Golden Mount

Once the highest point in Bangkok, the Golden Mount still stands out even amongst the concrete jungle that now surrounds it. This is a great vantage point to take in a 360 degree view of the city and gives you some great photo opportunities if you get a nice, clear day.

To get here, we took the Khlong Saen Saeb canal boat from Pratunam pier to Fan Faa Bridge. This is the bridge that was, for a while, at the centre of the ongoing anti government protests. After struggling out of the “cosy” boat, we stopped off briefly at the unusual Loha Hin Prasat temple, famous for a building made of iron. Took a few obligatory shots of the Democracy Monument, although the monument itself is ugly (in my opinion) it’s a symbol of struggle and everything that’s happened there.

After taking only 2 wrong turns (!) we arrived at the entrance at the base of the Mount.

Don’t be intimidated by the name, it’s a very steady climb up, the broad stairs wind around the edge of the Mount. There are several places you can stop along the way as well, to ring the bells and take photos.

We want straight up to the top and make some stops on the way down. Of course the first thing that strikes you is the golden Chedi (bell shaped tower) in the centre. Tradition dictates that it is good luck to walk clockwise around a chedi three times. So we fulfilled our obligations and joined the locals in this. Unlike many chedis in Thailand, you can actually go inside this one, the walkways are somewhat narrow and low, so any tall Westerners beware! I only bumped my head once which is good for me!

As a fan of panoramic views, I spent a good hour pottering around the perimeter taking various photos of the Bangkok skyline, picking out the many famous buildings, bridges and temples.

On the way down we rang all of the bells and took photos of the well manicured plants and shrubbery. All in all we spent a good couple of hours here and you could probably spend more if you explored the rest of the temple grounds (The Golden Mount is just one part of the larger Wat Saket compound). Happy days!

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