Seeing Si Satchanalai -Thailand

November 21, 2011 by

Day Trips, Sightseeing, Things To Do

The 39 elephants at Wat Chang Lom, Thailand - photo courtesy of Moritz Schmaltz via Flickr

The 39 elephants at Wat Chang Lom, Thailand - photo courtesy of Moritz Schmaltz via Flickr

Not far from the better known ancient architectural wonder that is Sukhothai (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the city of Si Satchanalai in Thailand has much to recommend it, not least of which is the arresting complex of ancient ruins bearing the same name of the municipality.

Easily accessible by car or bus from its world famous sister city, Si Satchanalai has long been dwarfed by its proximity to the regional capital. However, it has also benefited from it. Many travelers don’t think to stop over when heading to and from Sukhotai, but they’d be wise to do so.  There aren’t many amenities to speak of (most visitors make the journey as part of one leg of a guided tour to the aforementioned attraction), and it is advisable to come well-stocked with any unusual medical or dietary items that you require.

The 39 elephant-shaped (and sized) buttresses at Wat Chang Lom are in considerably better condition than those at the temple of the same name in Sukhotai. Along with the rest of the main structure, the stone beasts date back to the 13th century. Containing the ashes of Si Satchanalai’s ruling family, the seven rows of ruined chedis at Wat Chedi Jet Thaew aren’t in great shape (these are ruins, after all), but of the few relatively intact articles, many take the shape of lotus buds. Don’t forget to see the floral reliefs in stucco and balustrade at Wat Nang Phya because they are in excellent shape, along with the stone Buddha at Wat Suam Utayan near the exit to the region which is a memorable sight.

-John Reality

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