© Heloise Bergman / Time Out
Assembled from canal diggings, the Golden Mount (Phu Khao Thong) was intended by Rama III to be clad as a giant chedi. Proving unstable, the rubble was instead reinforced with trees and plants to prevent erosion. Shrines dot the two spiral paths to the summit, where a gilded chedi contains Buddha relics from India and Nepal. Its breezy, bell-chiming concrete terrace offers a wonderful 360° panorama of both old and modern Bangkok. Phu Khao Thong belongs to Wat Saket, which spreads eastward with handsome kuti (monks' quarters), fine murals and a peaceful atmosphere. This wat was where the bodies of people who had died in epidemics were once brought for cremation. Crowds throng through its famous 10-day fair around Loy Krathong.