Photo: These snacks go great with an iced beer.

Introduction

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Foreign travellers are rare in Si Saket, the small capital city of the same-named province in lower Isaan. Those who make it here might be thrilled by the bursting markets and charmed by locals who seem content in their rural surrounds. If you crave something different, some minor Khmer ruins and a couple of quirky temples make a stop in Si Saket worth considering.



Also spelt Sri Saket or Sisaket (among other ways), Si Saket province is best known for its proximity to the 1,100-year-old Khmer ruins known as Phra Wihan in Thai, or Preah Vihear in Khmer. The complex is located on the crest of an escarpment that otherwise belongs to Thailand, but a 1907 French-drawn map – later disputed by the Thais – places it on the Cambodian side of the border.

At Wat Lan Kuad. Photo taken in or around Si Saket, Thailand by David Luekens.

At Wat Lan Kuad. Photo: David Luekens

In 2011, soldiers exchanged mortar fire that killed civilians on both sides. Not long after that, lawyers battled it out in an international trial that ultimately saw Cambodia’s claim to the site upheld. At time of writing, it’s still not quite possible to reach the ruins from the Thai side. You can pay 400 baht to glimpse it from 500 metres away at Khao Phra Wihan National Park, which is 100 kilometres south of Si Saket town and just as easily accessed from Ubon Ratchathani.

West of the provincial capital, Prasat Sa Kamphaeng Yai is an underrated set of Khmer ruins surrounded by a newer Thai temple with some gnarly depictions of what happens to people in Buddhist hell. Wat Phra That Ruang Rong keeps the oddities coming with larger-than-life animal statues and a rare image of the Buddha lying flat on his back. Down in the tiny town of Khun Han, Wat Lan Kuad is a temple constructed almost entirely from empty bottles.

Admire the view over Cambodia. Photo taken in or around Si Saket, Thailand by David Luekens.

Admire the view over Cambodia. Photo: David Luekens

Si Saket town boasts a pair of easy-to-find markets that are arguably better than any found in neighbouring Ubon Ratchathani or Surin – and that’s saying a lot. Home to some 40,000 people, the city is worth an overnight for a taste of rustic Lao/Isaan salads and Khmer-inspired curries. One great American-owned eatery, the Cuckoo’s Nest, ensures that you’ll find at least a few people who can speak English.

A fifth of the province’s population speaking a Khmer dialect, and the vast majority of people in Si Saket are devoted to agriculture. Specialty products include shallots, garlic (look for it jarred in honey) and tropical fruits like rambutan, mangosteen and durian that we’ve found to be top notch. Visit in May or June for the most abundant fruit.




Orientation
Si Saket town is located towards the northern side of the eponymous province in lower Northeast Thailand. The heart of town is the train station, with the night market stretching immediately to the east on the south side of the tracks and the fresh market continuing east for a long way on Ratchakan Rotfai Soi 3. Beginning north of the tracks and continuing all the way south to the bus station, Khu Khan Road is the main south-to-north thoroughfare.

Prasat Sa Kamphaeng Yai Photo taken in or around Si Saket, Thailand by David Luekens.

Prasat Sa Kamphaeng Yai Photo: David Luekens

The police station is a 15-minute walk northeast of the train station on Thepa Road, just west of Wichit Nakorn Road. The public Si Saket Hospital is situated a short walk west of the train station, at the end of Ratchakan Rotfai Soi 3, with the smaller Pracharak Hospital a stone’s throw southeast of that off Ubon Road.

Several banks and ATMs are found along Khu Khan Road. If you’re in need of internet, Pnet has cheap rates a few hundred metres north of Boonsiri Boutique Hotel on Wichit Nakorn Road.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Si Saket.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Si Saket.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Si Saket.
 Read up on how to get to Si Saket, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Si Saket? Please read this.





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