Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Chaliang

A side trip you won't regret

Photo of , , Si Satchanalai

What we say: 4 stars

About two kilometres to the east of the "official" historical park, the Yom River oxbow wraps around Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Chaliang ("Wat Phra Si" for short) in a nearly 360 degree circle.

With its majestic Khmer-built spire, massive stone Buddha image, smaller Buddha sculptures sheltered by the hoods of nagas, and a striking Khmer stucco carving of Avolokitesvara's face that's similar to those found at the Bayon in Cambodia's Angkor, Wat Si is probably Si Satchanalai's most impressive single site.

It remains a working temple and there's a more modern Thai wihaan with an especially jolly looking gold Buddha image where you can offer a flower and incense. A handful of musicians playing traditional Thai instruments for donations adds to the atmosphere. Wat Phra Si charges a separate entrance fee of 20 baht per person.

The countless antique shops and art galleries that line the road near the temple are also worth a peek.

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