The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #199


A reader thinks this week’s photo was taken “somewhere wondrous”:

I haven’t been doing well with hemispheres but I’ll guess Northern. This certainly takes the prize for the best roofs in a VFYW. That flying carpet one in front of the green bottle building with the four white spears in the right background will be a wonderful clue.

Another imagines a happy giant:

This has to be Zoeterwoude, Netherlands. Where else would there be a 10-story tall Heineken bottle?

Near the Alps?

Torino, Italy. I’ve gone up in the green tower while studying abroad years ago. I think so, at least.

Another goes south to Buenos Aires. Another gets on the right continent:

I look at your view every week.  For this one, about 10% of the view is black – just the window frame. A palm tree, some traffic cones, then there is what appears to be a rolling rock beer bottle in the middle of town. My guess: Singapore.

Another goes with Kuala Lumpur and another gets closer with Hanoi. Closer still:

Off to coach a Little League game, but I’m guessing Phnom Penh, because that compound in the foreground looks a like the Royal Palace, and those two towers in the background could maybe be the Gold 42 tower? I don’t know. Go Nationals!

Another gets the right country:

I don’t have the time in my life to do the research that would generate a win, but it’s still fun to play. This is clearly Thailand – the architecture gives it away for anyone who has ever visited, and the yellow royal flags confirm. Where in Thailand is a different story. Not metropolitan enough to be Bangkok, so I just went with one of the other large cities: Chiangmai. Looking forward to seeing how the winner narrows it down to the exact window.

The exact city:


Another got a little lost:

Wow, these are harder than they look. The roof looks like nearly every Buddhist temple Google images can turn up in Bangkok, and there’s a yellow flag in the distance that could be the old Thai royal flag. The twin buildings in the background also looks like two that are visible near the Rama IX bridge in Bangkok. I’m going to guess the Wat Phra Kaew temple in Bangkok, but I wish I could find that green building.

Another recognizes a different temple:

I don’t really have time to work on the contest this week, but that sure looks like Wat Po in Bangkok. One of the best trips I ever took was a solo journey to Southeast Asia to visit friends (and friends of friends who randomly left me keys to their apartments!). It was right after 9/11 and I saw some of the most beautiful places on Earth traveling through Burma, Thailand and around Hong Kong. One of my favorite scenes was a photo I snapped at Wat Po (I’ve borrowed this image from some kind soul who posted it on the interwebs):


Would you like to see the Reclining Buddha … or massage the toilet?

Another tried in vain to find the building the photo was taken from:

Southern Hemisphere, Asian architecture, so somewhere in Southeast Asia. I focused on the temple with the unusual roof and windows. I lucked out and learned they are Thai windows, then came upon the temple compound, Wat Ratchanadda in Bangkok. I found photos with a similar orientation taken from the Golden Mount across the way, but there’s no hotel. Crap; I got the location but can’t find the freaking hotel? Aren’t all of the contest photos taken from a hotel? I think so, but I’m starting to tire, so I’ll just guess it was taken from the Golden Mount.

By the way, you learn a lot playing this game. I mostly learned that Bangkok needs to be added to my list of travel destinations.

You also learn that it’s not always a hotel; this week’s view is from the Golden Mount – or more precisely:

From the northwest corner of the Golden Mount along the walkway at the Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan, usually shortened to Wat Saket, a Buddhist temple in Pom Prap Sattru Phai district, Bangkok, Thailand.  The photo is looking west northwest toward Wat Ratchanadda.

Chas, aka Special Teams, put together this photo composite of about 20 entries – see yours?


Another reader is bemused:

So last week my gut said Western Samoa, them I saw that the clue said United States. I had a brief look at Hawaii, then American Samoa, but then family and work called and I didn’t make it as far west as Guam. I was busy at work getting things wrapped up to go on holiday.

This morning, on holiday in Koh Samui, Thailand, my wife said: we can get this week’s contest; it’s got to be Bangkok! I’d forgotten to even check (too much swimming with our 2.5 year old!) If only you’d posted this next Sunday we could have wandered down and narrowed down the view in person.

And yes, it is Bangkok. I’m on holiday and on an iPhone so no fancy pictures and diagrams. The view is of Wat Ratchanatdaram and the Loha Prasat, taken from Wat Saket – also known as the Golden Mount. I’m assuming lots of people will get this one – but in not sure how to narrow down the window. It’s taken from the base of the stupa, and appears to be the southwestern most corner. Like I said: in one week we could have gone to the wat and replicated the picture … now, back to the holiday!

A “long-time peeper, first-time player” gives it a go:

From the southern-most window (of five) facing Boripat Rd of the temple at Wat Saket วัดสระเกศ ราชวรมหาวิหาร (ภูเขาทอง) in Bangkok. It is a view of Wat Ratcha Natdaram. It appears there is some restoration going on. The only reason I know this was my wife and I were planning a trip in February to Bangkok and ended up needing to cancel our trip after the recent unrest. Ugh. Wish I was viewing this myself instead of playing a game.

Another reader, like the many who determined this week’s view, is feeling mighty victorious:


Finally! I am 99.9999% sure that I have this one. This picture was taken from the Golden Mount at the Wat Saket in Bangkok, Thailand. The window is from the North West corner (facing west). The picture yelled Chaing Mai, but after searching Chaing Mai and coming up empty, I googled Bangkok + Wat and found this place. After three more hours of trying to pinpoint the exact angle, a brilliant idea came to me; I searched YouTube. This video at the 2:57 mark shows the angle of the picture but from a slightly different window:

I bet many of your readers answered this correctly, but how many used YouTube to pick the window? This is first time I have participated in this game, and I can’t wait to do it again.

A frequent visitor to Bangkok sheds some light on the temple:

In the years of guessing in this contest, finally someplace I have more than a passing knowledge of. My husband is Thai and I have been to Bangkok over 20 times. It is my second home. The photo appears to be taken from Wat Saket, a Buddhist temple. The stupa on top of the temple is well known in Bangkok. The Golden Mount was once the tallest building in Bangkok. The location of Wat Saket was a crematorium where the bodies of the dead, who were killed by cholera, were disposed of in the early 19th century during the reign of Phra Buddha Lertla Napalai – King Rama II. The temple has windows near the top of the base of the stupa where this photo was apparently taken.

A visual entry:


Another offers an architectural lesson:

The countries of east Asia all have a unique style for the big temples. Here are some of my pictures for different nations. Thailand’s have a red, yellow, or green roof accented by another color and those golden pointy things. Korean temples are mostly red, with green and blue floral patterns painted all over the place. Japanese temples are muted affairs. Browns and whites and such.

The second clue was the window, specifically the lack of a window pane. Thanks to a confluence of economics and the city’s completely flat topography, any vantage point that high must be in an expensive building whose fancy-shmants owners want window panes – the one exception being Wat Saket, a temple built on an artificial mountain.

Down below you can see a fish-ball soup restaurant and a bunch of shops that cater to wooden door enthusiasts. Up top is a ton of smog. In the end, it seems my unpaid internship in Bangkok could actually have some recompense!

A former resident feels a pang of regret:

I don’t think I ever visited the Golden Mount while I was living there and now wish I had! Whenever you’re somewhere long-term, you neglect to do all the tourist things …

Nostalgia also moved this reader:

I was amazed to see this picture pop up on the feed tonight. I used to pass this Wat (temple) on the bus going to work every day in the early ’90s. My wife was born nearby. Now we both live in the Brooklyn-like wilds of Adams Morgan (and love it), but still occasionally miss Krung Thep Mahanakorn, the Great City of Angels.

An angel’s-eye view:


I suspect you’ll have a 100+ who know this is Bangkok, but I think many fewer will nail the location – which is the opposite direction from the classic view that looks down to Wat Saket (toward the east). In any case, your View is to the west – with the Democracy Monument being the main clue (but City Hall Imagex4is also visible). I was only really sure I had it when I found the Google street view showing some matching windows.  I remember getting the kids some ice cream along this street after the visit to the Mount – it was stinkin’ hot, as always in Bangkok.

Attached is a photo of my four-year-old son making a donation inside the Golden Mount. the Buddhas inside were not particularly memorable, but he definitely remembers the tiger and ringing bells along the stairs on the long walk up.

Best way to get to the area is via the water taxis that ply the nearby narrow Saen Saep Khlong (canal) – occasionally reaching James Bond-like speeds (make sure to keep up the vinyl curtain to keep from having water hit you on the backsplash off the walls).  We try to travel by water as much as we can in Bangkok, since you can get to a surprising number of places, and it always beats a taxi on the clogged roads.


Another reader is taken back:

Wow, wow, wow. Never has a View From Your Window brought back so many memories! I feel like every week some reader has a story about the time they de-wormed orphans while staying in that same hotel or attended a UN summit at the chateau in the distance. But never me. Well, until now.

Although it looks like it, that “skyline” looming in the background isn’t a financial district. It’s Siriraj hospital and it was my neighbor for six glorious months in 2005 when I was an exchange student at Thammasat University (which is directly across the river from the hospital). In fact, that large blue-roofed wat-looking structure in front of the skyline isn’t a wat at all; it’s Thammasat University’s huge auditorium complex.

This photo actually has lots of wonderful Easter Eggs. I’m sure I won’t be the only reader to point out the four fins jutting up in the middle – that’s The Democracy Monument and it’s been the site of more than a few (sometimes violent) protests over the years. That spot of greenery in front of the Thammasat auditorium is Sanaam Luang, which is sort of like Thailand’s National Mall. And just barely cropped out of the left side is the Grand Palace.

I spent eight months studying abroad in Thailand in 2005 (mostly in Bangkok, but also doing research in the northeast in Ubon Ratchathani). I’d only been back once since, but this last summer I had the good fortune to bring my boyfriend with me on his first backpacking trip (through Europe, the Mid-East and Southeast Asia). He’s never been a big traveler or had much interest in it, so it was a coup to get him to come. When I saw this photo I immediately forwarded it to him, exclaiming “Does this look familiar?!? We’ve been there!!!” He said it was either Thailand or Europe. Looks like we’ll need to do more traveling.

Another correct guesser:

VFYWNever been to Thailand, but my dad (with whom playing VFYW is our weekly bonding time) quickly pegged it as an indeterminate location in Bangkok. I was able to narrow it down from there. If I win, it will be a shared victory.

By the way, how do you keep track of prior guesses? If I guess the correct building but not the correct window, does that count as a correct guess?

Yes it does, if the contest that week is a difficult one – “difficult” defined by only 10 or fewer readers correctly guessing the location. (This week’s contest, in contrast, had closer to 100.) We keep track of such Correct Guessers and then cross-reference future potential winners against our email database. Back to Bangkok:

VFYW virgin here. I wish I had a better story, but I basically did some googling for those red/green roofs, which took me to some very similar looking wats in Bangkok. From there, it was a trial and error approach to Street View (headache accomplished!)  My first thought was that the actual wat was just out of frame, or maybe under the green tarp. But then there was a Keanu-like “whoa” moment where I realized the photo could have been taken from the wat.


Heh. Okay, so which Wat window is it already? From the submitter:

Wow, thanks for picking my photo. I have only taken part in the contest a few times but am pretty stoked on having a picture selected. The photo was taken from the west-facing window of the top floor (not the roof) of Wat Saket (Golden Mount) in Bangkok, Thailand. The building in the immediate distance is the Royal Pavilion Mahajetsadabadin. Unfortunately I can’t be more specific than that. I believe there are five windows on each side but I can’t say which one I took the photo from. Next time I will record more detail …

Don’t worry, Chini’s got your back:

I guess we had to go back a few months to the holidays to find a less challenging view than this week. But as far as the easy ones go, this one was was fun, mainly because finding the right window took a little bit of work. This week’s view comes from Bangkok, Thailand. The view looks west, northwest along a heading of 293.12 degrees from a window at the top of the Wat Saket temple.


Of the several contestants who guessed the same window as Chini, one stood out with 13 previous entries, including many correct guesses with no wins – until today:

Great contest this week! I looked at the picture on Saturday and immediately thought that it was going to be impossible, but then I noticed the temple in the background. In fact, it’s a whole temple complex. I thought perhaps Vietnam (Hanoi, maybe?) or China, but doing a google search on “buddhist temple” brought up hundreds of similar structures, mainly in Thailand. So I just added “Bangkok” to the search and after poking around Panaramio for a while, I became convinced that the temple was actually Wat Rachanatda School. A little more looking on Panaramio, and bingo! I found this picture. That’s taken from what appears to be the identical position, just with a little more zoom, and another, for good measure.

It seemed pretty obvious that this photo spot is popular, so I guessed that it was taken from a tourist destination. Drawing a line from the top of the tower covered in green scaffolding over the temple roof points directly to Wat Saket, and specifically, to the “Golden Mount” in its center, which Wikipedia calls a “popular Bangkok tourist attraction and … one of the symbols of the city.” Here’s another view, this time from the Golden Mount, looking over from the north side of the building. The window in the contest is on the west side.

wat saket

The Wiki page shows a square building with five windows on each side, so at this point I have to guess: numbering the windows from #1 to #5, north to south, I guess that the picture was taken from window #3 (the middle window) from the Golden Mount, facing northwest towards the temple at Wat Rachanatda.

Congrats on the hard-fought victory! See everyone on Saturday for the next view – our 200th, in fact.