Golden Mount was commissioned by Rama III, who ordered that the earth dug out to create Bangkok’s expanding klorng network be piled up to build an enormous, 100m-high, 500m-wide chedi.
Next door, seemingly peaceful Wat Saket contains murals that are among both the most beautiful and the goriest in the country; proceed to the pillar behind the Buddha statue for explicit depictions of Buddhist hell.
In November there’s a festival in the grounds that includes an enchanting candlelight procession up the Golden Mount.
As the hill grew, the weight became too much for the soft soil beneath and the project was abandoned until Rama IV (King Mongkut; r 1851–68) built a small gilded chedi on its crest and added trees to stave off erosion. Rama V later added to the structure and interred a Buddha relic from India (given to him by the British government) in the chedi. The concrete walls were added during WWII.