Si Satchanalai

Si Satchanalai

Ancient satellite of Sukhothai

Set amid forested hills and fields beside the Yom River, the ruins of Si Satchanalai and Chaliang include 11th-century Khmer sanctuaries, Sukhothai-period temples and kilns used to fire pottery as late as the 16th century. The rural setting draws far fewer visitors than Sukhothai, offering a better chance to explore the ruins at your own pace and in your own way.

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Established at a narrow oxbow in the Yom, Chaliang was a far northern outpost of the Angkor empire, which predates the Sukhothai kingdom. A handful of 1,000-year-old Khmer-style monuments were later embellished with Sukhothai-style features, resulting in a layer of artistic styles. Excavations at Wat Chom Chuen revealed that humans lived here in the fourth century, the dawn of the Dvaravati civilisation.

Temple ceremony, Si Satchanalai. : David Luekens.
Temple ceremony, Si Satchanalai. Photo: David Luekens

Just down the road from ancient Chaliang lie the 13th- to 15th-century ruins of Si Satchanalai, a branch of the Sukhothai kingdom that may have been even larger than the capital. It hosted dozens of monasteries, an industrial zone and a palace for the crown prince; the legendary Ramkamhaeng lived here before ascending the throne in 1279. Early Thai art blossomed, evidenced by exquisite lintels, Buddha images, elephant sculptures and a wide array ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 800 words.)

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