All You Need To Know About Thailand’s Ancient Town Of Si Thep

Recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage, the ancient town of Si Thep contains various structures that date back to different periods of history, ranging from late prehistory to the Khmer Empire
An 11th-century Buddhist pagoda in Si Thep Historical Park, Phetchaboon, Thailand
An 11th-century Buddhist pagoda in Si Thep Historical Park, Phetchaboon, ThailandShutterstock

Thailand has long been celebrated for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant traditions. The country's historical sites continue to captivate the world, dating back centuries. Among the latest additions to Thailand's impressive roster of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the Ancient Town of Si Thep and its associated Dvaravati Monuments in Phetchabun province. This recognition marks the seventh World Heritage Site in Thailand and shines a spotlight on a hidden gem with a fascinating history.

Architecture And Attractions Of Si Thep

Khao Klang Nok
Khao Klang Nok Shutterstock

The Si Thep Historical Park is a testament to the diverse cultural influences that have shaped the ancient city over the centuries. Covering an area of 4.7 square kilometres, the park contains various structures that date back to different periods of history, ranging from late prehistory to the Khmer Empire.

Khao Klang Nok, a pyramid-shaped hill that rises 30 metres above the ground and covers an area of 1,600 square metres, is the only structure of its kind in Thailand. It is believed to have been built as a burial site or a ceremonial centre in the late prehistoric period. A moat surrounds the hill and has four staircases leading to the top, where a brick platform and a stone pillar are located.

Khao Klang Nai is a Buddhist sanctuary that was built in the Dvaravati period (6th to 11th century CE) and influenced by Indian art and culture. The sanctuary faces east and has a rectangular layout with a laterite foundation. The base of the foundation is decorated with stucco reliefs depicting animals on the backs of dwarfs. The relic chamber is made of bricks and has a lotus-shaped base, typical of Khmer architecture. The sanctuary also features a Dvaravati-style bas-relief and small figurines around the structure's foundation.

Prang Si Thep is a Khmer-style prang (tower) that was built in the late Dvaravati period (12th century CE) and represents the peak of Khmer influence in Si Thep. The prang is 20 metres high and has a square base with four porches. The base is made of laterite, and the relic chamber is made of bricks. The prang has a carved lintel depicting Vishnu on Garuda and other Hindu motifs. The prang is considered one of Thailand's finest examples of Khmer art.

Places To Visit Nearby

5 Faced Buddha Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaew Temple
5 Faced Buddha Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaew TempleShutterstock

Si Thep is surrounded by a number of amazing places to visit. Nam Nao National Park is about 70 km away and spans 966 sq km. The park is home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, gibbons, deer, bears, and hornbills. Visitors can indulge in various activities such as hiking, camping, birdwatching, and exploring the caves and waterfalls within the park.

Phu Thap Boek, located 100 km from Si Thep, is the highest mountain in Phetchabun province. The summit offers an incredible view of the misty valleys and sea of clouds. In addition, visitors can also witness the colourful flower fields and Hmong village on the mountain. Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaew is a picturesque temple that is situated around 120 km from Si Thep. The temple is adorned with a giant white pagoda and five smaller ones on top, decorated with millions of mosaic tiles and colourful statues of Buddha. Visitors can appreciate the magnificent architecture and scenic beauty of the temple.

Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, located about 150 km from Si Thep, is known for its unique rock formations, cliffs, and waterfalls. In addition, it boasts a number of historical sites related to the communist movement in Thailand. Finally, for those who want to venture further, Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, is located around 200 km from Si Thep. Visitors can cross the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge to reach Vientiane and explore landmarks such as Pha That Luang, Patuxai, Wat Si Saket, and Haw Phra Kaew. They can also experience the culture, cuisine, and nightlife of Vientiane.

Where To Stay

Nokyungthong Hotel and Kosit One Hotel have restaurants, a garden, and a 24-hour front desk. You can enjoy the views of the surrounding countryside and visit the nearby attractions such as the Si Thep Historical Park and the Phra That Si Thep Temple from these hotels. You can also stay at Baanraiingdoi hotel, that offers elegant rooms with all the luxury amenities.

Getting There

If you plan to travel to Si Thep Historical Park from India, you can fly to Bangkok, Thailand. The flight duration is approximately 4 hours. Once you reach Bangkok, you can take a bus to Phetchabun. Si Thep town is located about 130 kilometres from Phetchabun town on Highway 21, Saraburi-Lom Sak route. When you reach the 102-kilometer mark, take a right turn onto Highway 2211. After traveling for about 9 kilometres, you will find a sign indicating the Si Thep Historical Park entrance on your right. If you prefer, you can catch one of the regular and air-conditioned buses that leave from Bangkok's Mo Chit Bus Terminal for the market in Amphoe Si Thep (Ban Klang) and then take a taxi to the national park.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the ancient town of Si Thep is from November to February when the weather is pleasant and the scenery is beautiful. 

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller