Si Saket

Si Saket

Quirky temples, fiery food

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.

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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. : 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 ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 500 words.)

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