Wat Phra Phai Luang

Wat Phra Phai Luang

Delicate carvings and more

More on Sukhothai

Exemplifying the evolution of religious arts in the Sukhothai area, Wat Phra Phai Luang was second only to Wat Mahathat in size and prominence during the Sukhothai period. It was also an important site centuries earlier when the Khmer empire was in charge.

Travelfish says:

Covering a vast tract of land ringed by moats, the site is thought to have marked the city centre back when it was still under Khmer control. The highlight is a remarkably well preserved prang with Lavo-style lintels depicting scenes from the Buddha’s life and images of Shiva and Brahma. The details are among the finest found in Sukhothai. Two other prangs also stand at the front of the complex but are in far more dilapidated states.

Buddhas big and small at Wat Phra Phai Luang : David Luekens.
Buddhas big and small at Wat Phra Phai Luang Photo: David Luekens

Wander further back and you’ll find a huge rectangular base studded with several different types of lopsided chedis, including the remains of an unusual pyramid-shaped chedi that’s peppered with broken Buddha images.

All the way in back stands a brick mondop with the remains of large stucco Buddha images in the walking, standing and reclining postures. Though only bits and pieces are left of these today, it’s easy to see how they were added around the same time as other distinctively Sukhothai-style Buddha images like the ones found at Wat Chetuphon and Wat Saphan Hin.

Artisan handiwork in the lintel. : David Luekens.
Artisan handiwork in the lintel. Photo: David Luekens

Compare them to the Buddha images engraved on the Khmer-style prangs to see two very different types of art depicting scenes from a single religion at the same site.

Transport information

From the central zone’s eastern gate, head north and bear left (west) before hanging a right (north) on Highway 1113. Just after passing the old city gate you’ll see a sign pointing left (west) to Wat Phra Phai Luang. It’s also possible to get here by heading east out of Wat Si Chum’s parking lot and taking a left (north). Admission is 100 baht, which also gets you into Wat Si Chum.

Contact details for Wat Phra Phai Luang

Address: Sukhothai Historic Park
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º41'54.88" E, 17º1'45.26" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 100 baht

Reviewed by

David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.

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