Wat Saket is one of those temples in Bangkok that should be on your list of “places to visit”. I have already written about a gruesome visit to this temple by a tourist in the 1880’s (click here). The temple itself is not much of interest. What most people go there for is to climb the 318 steps to the top of the artificial mound to see the views. The chedi at the top, see picture above, is believed to house relics of the Buddha. Every year in November, for nine days and nine nights, there is a temple fair which is probably one of the oldest fairs in Bangkok. Like our own temple fair here in Samut Prakan, a sacred red cloth is paraded around the base of the mount before being taken to the top. It is then wrapped around the chedi. If you look closely, you can see people have written messages on the red cloth.
The temple fair really starts to get active in the late afternoon. However, I went there earlier in the afternoon in order to enjoy the breeze and also the beautiful panoramic views from the top. In the past, this temple used to be the highest point in Bangkok. It is now of course dwarfed by the skyscrapers. But, on a clear day you can still see a long way. Towards the setting sun, I could see the Grand Palace and Wat Arun. (If you want to take pictures this direction then you would obviously need to come in the morning.) After I had finished looking at the views I made my way down to the base of the Golden Mount. Here there were hundreds of stalls selling everything from the latest VCD movies to the best selection of Thai food. This temple fair is held every November and so if you find yourself in Bangkok around the full moon this time next year then be sure to visit the fair at Wat Saket.
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