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Thailand: Si Satchanalai

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Si Satchanalai | Thailand | Asia

[Visited: October 2005]

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.

Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Si Satchanalai: Wat Chedi Ched Thaeo

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.

Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Wat Chang Lom seen from below

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.

Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Wat Chang Lom seen from one of its corners
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Wat Chang Lom temple seen from the path leading up to the temple
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Wat Chang Lom: the masterpiece of Si Satchanalai historic park
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Wat Khao Suwan Khiri located on a hill
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Wat Khao Phanom Phloeng: Sitting Buddha
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Wat Chang Lom reflected in its surrounding water
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Wat Chedi Ched Thaeo: main chedi
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand):  Old Buddha statue in Si Satchanalai historic park
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Small chedi of hidden temple
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Nang Phaya: main chedi
Picture of Si Satchanalai (Thailand): Old kiln near Si Satchanalai, producing ceramics

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