Photo: The classic approach to Wat Si Sawai.

Wat Si Sawai

Quite unlike any other site in the historical park, Wat Si Sawai was initially a Hindu sanctuary that was adapted into a Buddhist temple during the Sukhothai period. Exquisite lintels still grace parts of its three Khmer-style prangs, probably built when the Lavo (Lopburi) kingdom controlled the area as a branch of the Khmer empire.

Fronting the complex is a stone base and pillars of a Buddhist wihaan, the last structure to be built on the site. Expect to encounter visitors snapping selfies framed by the brick entranceway with the central prang in the background. From here you can step inside the musty reliquary, where an ancient image of Shiva was discovered in the early 20th century. These days it’s a prime nesting space for pigeons.

Intricate prang at Wat Si Sawai.

Intricate prang at Wat Si Sawai. Photo: David Luekens

Ancient carvings can be seen on all three of the prangs, including some that appear to mimic designs found on Chinese Yuan Dynasty ceramics. One lintel depicts Vishnu reclining on a naga seat, while others display Kali’s wild-eyed grin and a range of other Hindu characters. The intricate details are quite incredible for a site that’s probably more than 1,000 years old.

Look carefully.

Look carefully. Photo: David Luekens

Beyond the trio of prangs there’s not much else to see at Wat Si Sawai, but you could stroll beneath the broad old mango and golden shower trees or wander out to the back walls of the complex to avoid the selfie snappers.

How to get there
Wat Si Sawai is located in the south side of the historical park’s central zone. From here we suggest heading northwest to Wat Traphang Ngoen.

Last updated on 16th June, 2016.

Wat Si Sawai
Sukhothai Historic Park

Location map for Wat Si Sawai

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Rising in the mid-13th century, Sukhothai laid down much of the cultural and political groundwork for the kingdom that eventually became known as Thailand. Towering monuments with exquisite details and well-documented records now make the ancient Thai capital a premier heritage destination. Even if the history doesn’t interest you, Sukhothai’s ruins do not fail to impress. This package of detailed travel guides covers Sukhothai along with the secondary sites at Si Satchanalai to the north and Kamphaeng Phet to the west. Further afield, it also includes guidebooks to Tak, Mae Sot and Umphang -- three destinations on the Burmese frontier that will appeal to those looking to getting right off the beaten trail.

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