Turtle Mountain is probably not somewhere you have heard of, even if you have been to Bangkok. You may not have heard of it even if you have lived in Bangkok but I recently discovered Turtle Mountain and I want the whole world to know about it. It is without doubt the most unusual temple of Bangkok to my knowledge.
Recently I posted a list of the top 5 must see temples in Bangkok – The Top 5 Must See Temples In Bangkok
In the post, I mentioned a place called Turtle Mountain which sits next to a temple called Wat Prayurawongsawat (or Wat Prayoon), a little known religious site with a gleaming white Chedi in the Thonburi district. Temple Mountain left such an impact on me that I decided to write a whole post dedicated to one of the most peaceful places in Bangkok.
A Quiet Discovery
Anyone reading this that’s been lucky to sample the many delights of Bangkok will know one of its ‘charms’ is the noise the city generates with its busy roads and bustling pavements. For some people, the pace of the city is all too much. Luckily, I lived in London for twenty years, so the din of traffic blends into the background after a while. But with all of the noise that surrounds you here, one thing stands out – finding somewhere quiet. I may have found the most peaceful place in Bangkok. In fact, the lack of noise seems to get up off the floor and slap you in the face with a wet fish.
I had heard about Wat Prayurawongsawat (a place that rolls eloquently off the tongue) and its huge white Chedi through reading another blog I saw and decided I wanted to check it out for myself.
After a rather long taxi ride that involved the driver using my girlfriend’s phone several times to check for directions, we arrived in front of the gigantic Chedi rising into the sky. The sun was hot…no, scorching, and sweat instantly began to exit my body at a rate of 40 beads per second. It seemed it was even too hot for the locals as we were the only people there when we arrived. After taking the obligatory photo for Instagram, we decided to look for shade, and our eyes were drawn to a shady garden a little more than fifty feet away.
As we entered the garden we soon noticed that this was no ordinary garden…this was somewhere completely different…
Before us was a vast rocky humanmade mountain covered in lush plants and trees with a small temple complex seated on top. What made the sight all the more striking was the small lake that surrounded it. The whole place seemed like something out of a fairytale or a Disney movie. I half expected a group of animated characters to leap out from behind a tree and ask me to help them get rid of an evil genius who was trying to destroy the mountain. There were so many different plants in this small space that I wish I’d studied botany, but I didn’t, so you’ll have to settle with, ‘there were loads of pretty plants’.
The History of Turtle Mountain.
The Turtle Mountain was built along with the Chedi and temple in the early years of the 19th century. The mountain was designed by King Rama III after he observed the way wax forms as it drips from a candle.
The Turtles of Turtle Mountain
So what’s with the name ‘Turtle Mountain’? You may be wondering…well, quite simply, the garden is home to turtles…
It is unclear when the turtles moved in, but they are a revered animal in Buddhism. So revered the temple is now the home to many ‘homeless’ turtles much like a dog kennel is for our furry friends. People bring unwanted or lost turtles to this place, and they are taken in and look after. As I looked down on them, I felt instantly jealous that they got to chill out here all day and take a dip whenever the sun got too hot. What I wouldn’t have done to join them as the sun burnt down onto my red, sweaty face. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the photo above, the place was crawling (slowly obviously) with turtles.
Can I Live Here?
As if my love for Turtle Mountain, the most peaceful and unusual temples in Bangkok, couldn’t get any higher, I then discovered that a stall next to the entrance was selling food for people to feed the turtles. Free room and board! You can buy a selection of fruits from the shop for a reasonable price…you could eat it yourself but come on, these turtles have got it pretty tough! The poor things are loved so much that one of them had to pose for this statue.
Turtle mountain is best reached by taxi (with a satnav preferably) or you can take a boat to Saphan Phut Pier before walking across the river via Memorial Bridge next to the pier. The grounds to Turtle Mountain is open from 8.30 am – 5 pm.
You can find a map and more information by following the link below. http://www.bangkok.com/attraction-temple/wat-prayoon.htm
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