Si Satchanalai had its heyday in the same period as Sukhothai, but was largely forgotten after Ayutthaya rose to prominence in the 14th century. Apparently it never recovered from this oblivion, since it draws much less visitors than Sukhothai. But, as the locals say, both Sukhtohai and Si Satchanalai are beautiful women, only the former is dressed up. I decided to visit the naked woman before the dressed one. Even before entering the park, I saw an elephant walking and followed it on my bike. I was just in time to seeing it washed in the river Yom running just outside the complex.
My first stop was the main temple of Si Satchanalai, Wat Chang Lom. The elephant of the river followed me with his supervisor. The temple is situated in the heart of the old town, was constructed in the late 13th century, and its main chedi is square. It was probably built by King Ramkhamhaeng and has 39 statues of elephants all around it, although I must say that I didn't directly recognize the remains of the statues as being elephants. Nevertheless, I liked this temple so much that I returned after visiting the others. Among those were Wat Chedi Ched Thaeo, remarkable for its many chedis, Nang Phaya with its elaborate decorations on stucco, and Wat Suan Kaew Uthayan Yai.
From here, I cycled on through the enormous park. After the few visitors I saw near Wat Chang Lom, Si Satchanalai historic park now seemed completely empty, which gave a special feeling. After having seen the main temples, it was exciting to discover the remains of much smaller ones in the grassy plains. Climbing a short, steep hill took me to Wat Khao Suwan Khiri, where trees unfortunately obstructed a good view over the park. Next, I visited Wat Khao Phanom Phloeng, with seated Buddha and another chedi, the top of which can be seen from the plains below. After having returned to Wat Chang Lom the elephant was still there, and I realized how much I had liked the naked lady of Si Satchanalai.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Si Satchanalai (Thailand). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Si Satchanalai.
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