Went up from the campground. Very nice trail that is part of a 2.6 km nature trail troop (a short trail branches to the summit at the ~1.2 km mark on the loop in the clockwise direction)
figured a route up some trails after leaving main road a few thousand feet below the summit. then mountain biked back down. I would suggest this route up if you want a bit longer of a hike
Kind of a long drive but scenic and well worth the modest effort. The stairway up to the wat is impressive, and the forest is nice too.
Be careful on the one lane road above the palace, a truck came around a corner at one point and ran me off the road, but no issues (and most other vehicles are much more careful).
I'm not sure of the exact date but it was in January 2006. Two of my cousins joined me on this trip. They had never traveled very far from home so you can imagine what it was like for them to see national parks.