Showing posts with label Si Satchanalai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Si Satchanalai. Show all posts

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thailand: Si Satchanalai Historical Park in Sukhothai Province

Si Satchanalai Historical Park is one of three ancient towns included in the World Heritage inscription Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns. If Sukhothai was the political and administrative capital, Si Satchanalai served as the spiritual center of the kingdom, with its many temples and Buddhist monasteries. The town is 90 kilometers from Sukhothai.

As part of the tourism workshop we attended in Sukhothai, the plan was to bike all the way to Si Satchanalai. But plans were changed and we took a van to Sawankhalok, and did the bicycle tour to Si Satchanalai from there. The 40-kilometer bike trip ended at Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, a first class royal temple three kilometers outside the Si Satchanalai wall.

Other major temples and sites are located within the old town of Si Satchanalai. Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo is one of the most beautiful temples of Sukhothai Province. Its features include a main chedi and 33 subordinate chedis. The temple is believed to have kept the cremated remains of the Sukhothai royal family.

Wat Chang Lom's main landmark is a bell-shaped chedi on a platform supported by 39 stucco elephants. Between the chedi and the platform are niches with statues of Buddha subduing Mara.

Delicate stucco reliefs have survived on one of the walls of Wat Nang Phaya. The wall is protected by a roof to prevent further damage from the elements.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Thailand: Bicycle tour from Sukhothai to Si Satchanalai

Sukhothai, Thailand
I never thought I'd have fun biking that far! When I arrived at the Sukhothai Airport for a tourism workshop, my Thai colleague told me that he had assigned me to a group that would bike 70 kilometers from Sukhothai to Si Satchanalai. I thought he was joking and laughed off the idea.

Bicycle Tour, Sukhothai, Thailand
When the workshop started the next day I realized he was serious! The ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee was in Sukhothai to try out different tourism experiences in order to make recommendations for a tourism plan they were finalizing. While most teams were comfortably seated in air-conditioned vans, moving from one attraction to another, one group was assigned to try out the bicycle tours through the Sukhothai countryside hosted by Sukhothai Bicycle Tour.

Bicycle Tour, Sukhothai, Thailand
Bicycle Tour, Sukhothai, Thailand
Just looking at the large roadmap taped to the wall during the orientation was daunting enough. But the next day, I was glad to hear that our team leader had cut the ride to 40 kilometers and we would take a van to Sawankalok, which was half the way to Si Satchanalai.

Cricket Farm in Sukhothai, Thailand
Cricket Farm in Sukhothai, Thailand
The group rode through small rural villages, on concrete roads to small narrow dirt paths that bended left and right, following the course of a river. We did rest stops at interesting, and at times, odd places. A cricket farm caught our attention. I didn't realize those deep-fried bugs sold along Bangkok's colorful streets were grown in backyard farms like these.

Salapao vendor in Sukhothai, Thailand
I heard a salapao vendor motor by and caught up with him to buy some hot steamed pork buns. I was quite hungry and this is what I needed! At each rest stop, we were also served fruits such as bananas, longkong (lansones) and mangosteen, crackers and drinks.

Traditional rooster cage in Sawankalok, Thailand
A colorful temple also served as another rest stop before we biked through a small sugar cane field. I didn't know what got into my head but a steep incline up ahead challenged me to bike even faster. I reached the top without any walking but suffered from cramps as a result. So I called it a day after 30 kilometers of biking. Not bad for someone who hasn't biked for years!

Weaver in Si Satchanalai, Thailand
Si Satchanalai Historical Park, Thailand
Good thing these bike tours come with a back-up team plus a support vehicle that has drinks and snacks for the bikers during the rest stops. So I rode the last 10 kilometers in a pick-up truck to the Si Satchanalai Historical Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explored the temples and got to see some of the colorful local activities before heading for a sumptuous lunch at a farm near the Sukhothai Airport.

If you want to try out the bike tours in Sukhothai, e-mail

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