Si Satchanalai Ancient City

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    [​IMG]The Si Satchanalai historical park is a lesser known world heritage site, similar to Sukhothai but strangely not as popular.

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    Founded in 1250, Si Satchanalai was the 2[sup]nd[/sup] centre of the Sukhothai kingdom & ruled by a crown princes in the 13th-14[sup]th[/sup] centuries. In the 16th century, a 5-metre high wall with an upstream moat was built to fend off the growing Burmese attacks.

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    Si Satchanalai in many ways much more interesting than the more manicured & promoted Sukhothai site; & the ruins to me seem more authentic & more extensive & are most definitely worth a visit.

    Park entrance for farang in October was 100 baht - Thai drivers licence not accepted!

    No vehicles are allowed in & a treddly is the way go

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    if you're good enough; or use the guided park "train."

    The main temples in the park are

    Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo

    Wat Chang Lom

    Wat Chom Chuen

    Wat Nang Paya

    There are numerous other ruins seemingly scattered everywhere amongst the trees, with walls & moats still relatively intact. Indeed it must have been a beautiful city in its day.

    If you have not been to Si Satchanalai, you should check it out sometime. Highly recommended.

    I will let the images do the talking.

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    Signs with QR codes allow you to listen / watch a youtube vdo with info on different ruins.

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    60 kms north of Sukhothai, Sii Satchanalai has quite a few hotels / guesthouse near the ruins, but the ruins are 15 kms from the centre of town & it’s awfully quiet out there at night. Even Si Satch is damn quiet too!

    Its 240 kms from Si Satchanalai - Chiang Mai  = 3.5 hrs fast hard riding.

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    Take your time & it’s a leisurely half day ride to / from Si Satchanalai - Chiang Mai

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    Where to stay in Si Satchanalai

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    Where to eat in Si Satchanalai

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    Check it out sometime - the ruins & Si Satch won't disappoint you.
     
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  3. Deano747

    Deano747 Ol'Timer

    Thank you so much for this, the detour is on the must do now for December on our way to Uttradit from Chiang Mai.
     
  4. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    I visited a couple of years ago and found Si Satchanalai to have a wonderful atmosphere. As there are few visitors, it is a peaceful place with similar architectural style to Sukhothai.

    Here are a few more pics of this wonderful old ruined city.

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    This is an interesting feature, only small but similar to the structures on the Bayon in Angkhor, with Buddha looking in 4 directions.

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  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for this Ian

    After I got back I did a bit more research & realized that I'd missed probably the most important site

    Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Chaliang

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    it lies outside the park & just to the south, beside the Yom River

    Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat predates the Sukhothai era. It was founded in 1237, when the area was under control of the Khmer empire from Angkor. It was restored and expanded during the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya eras.

    Today, the temple is an active monastery with a modern ubosot and kuti, the monks living quarters.

    [​IMG] The modern ubosot & the ancient temple

    The temple’s modern ubosot, was built over the remains of an older one. Inside the ordination hall is a large golden Buddha image in the “Calling the Earth to witness” posture.

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    In front of the main Buddha image are numerous smaller old images in various postures.

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    Back to the ruins - the complex is surrounded by a wall of vertical laterite slabs topped with horizontal slabs is a large number of structures aligned on an East West axis.

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    The Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat houses structures from various eras and styles including Khmer (Bayon style pillar over the East entrance gate), Sukhothai (Phra Attharot standing Buddha image in the mondop, walking Buddha image in the principal viharn) and Ayutthaya (prang).

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    Divided into two areas by a laterite wall & a gate;

    [​IMG] The laterite wall dividing the sections

    the main structures are a prang & viharn in the East section are the prang and principal viharn,

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    & in the West section are the Phra That Mutao, a Mandapa, and a second viharn.

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    [​IMG] Phra That Mutao chedi - The oldest structure of the temple, is believed to be of Mon Dvaravati origin.

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    Behind the Phra That Mutao are the remains of a viharn, an assembly hall named Viharn Phra Song Phi Nong. Its name translates to “viharn of the two brothers”, referring to the two large images inside.

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    The Mandapa - built of laterite blocks & covered with stucco, enshrines a large standing Buddha.

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    There's a steep narrow stairway up the prang

    [​IMG] The steep prang stairway

    [​IMG] Looking down the prang stairway

    The prang dates to the second half of the 15[sup]th[/sup] century, the early Ayutthaya period & is believed to have been built over an older structure.

    At the top of the steps is a small cellar inside the prang

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    The view at the stop is a beauty & worth the climb

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    Dont miss it!
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Adjoining Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Chaliang is a small folk museum with a history of Si Satchanalai & it's people & culture.

    [​IMG] Si Satchanalai Folk Museum

    [​IMG] History of Si Satchanalai

    [​IMG] History of Si Satchanalai Historical Park

    [​IMG] A classic photos of an early visit by the King of Thailand to Si Satchanalai

    [​IMG] Folk history - old Si Satchanalai utensils

    [​IMG] Folk Museum - history of Si Satchanalai peoples

    [​IMG] Si Satchanalai festival characters

    [​IMG] Si Satchanalai - Chaliang was once famous for its beautiful ceramics

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    [​IMG] Si Satchanalai folk museum

    If you're visiting Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Chaliang, check out the funky little folk museum next door, beside the river.

    Si Satchanalai also has an annual Cultural Heritage - Light & Sound Festival

    Si Satchanalai Cultural Festival - Sound Light Show

    [​IMG] Si Satchanalai light & sound show
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016

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