Wat Saphan Hin, or Temple of the Stone Bridge, was named after a 300-metre-long slate walkway leading to a large standing Buddha that gazes back east across the ancient capital.
Standing about a metre off the rugged ground, the well-preserved slabs of slate run all the way up the roughly 200-metre-high hill touched by forest on either side. Take it slow and imagine pilgrims making the climb seven centuries ago. It’s believed that King Ramkamhaeng climbed the hill on the back of a white elephant each year to pay respects to the Buddha on Vesakha Puja.
A pristine 12.5-metre-tall standing Buddha image graces the hilltop, fronted by the slate base of a small wihaan. Known as Phra Atharot and portrayed with its right hand raised in the “stop fighting” posture, the Buddha can also be seen from the bottom of the hill, as if to encourage visitors to keep climbing.
After reaching the top, turn around and enjoy the view that the Buddha has faced for centuries and perhaps wander down some of the side paths. It’s a fairly tiring climb when the weather is hot; luckily a guy sells ice-cold water just across the road.
How to get there
Wat Saphan Hin is the first site on the right after entering the western zone through the main gate to the north. To get here from Wat Si Chum, simply continue west for about a kilometre and look for signs and a ticket booth.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 15th June, 2016.