AMPHOE KRIRI MAT
National Park (Khao Luang Sukhothai)
This exquisite national park with a combined natural and historical
background covers an area of 341 square kilometres, and was declared
to be a national park on October 27, 1980.
High hills and steep cliffs some over 1,200 metres above sea level,
together with fascinating falls, different species to plants and
wildlife are some of the major attractions available in this park
offered to nature loving tourists or visitors. Furthermore, the
archaeological and historical sites with ancient remains and relics
make the park even more attractive, especially for critics and theologians.
To reach the park by road, take Highway No.1 from Bangkok, then
at km.414 (20 kilometres to Sukhothai) take the left turn along
the laterite road for another 16 kilometres till arriving at the
parks office. For accommodation, reservations for bungalows and
tents can be made through the National Park Section, the Royal Forest
Department by Tel: 0 2562 0760 or P.O.Box 1 Amphoe Khiri Mat, Sukhothai
Visitors have to start trekking before 3.30 a.m. everyday and bring
food and essential equipment with them. Bungalows and tents are
available. Admission is 200 baht per person.
This is located in the Rama IV Park on the Sukhothai Phitsanulok
route and can be reached by local bus from town. The museum displays
a variety of fresh water fish mentioned in Thai literature. It is
open daily except Tuesdays from 9 a.m. 5 p.m. There is no admission
Phra Mae Ya Shrine
This shrine is situated in front of the City Hall and is highly
respected by Sukhothai residents. It houses an idol of Phra Mae
Ya, a stone figure with a white face and long hair, and dressed
as an ancient queen. The idol is about 1 metre high and is supposed
to have been built during King Ramkhamhaeng's reign as a dedication
to his late mother Nang Sueang.
Sangkhalok is the name of ceramic wares produced in the old city
of Sukhothai. The museum displays the collection of Sangkhalok and
ceramic wares produced some 700 years ago in the Lanna Kingdom (now
the northern region of Thailand). The museum is just one kilometre
from town on the road to Phitsanulok.
It is open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is 100 baht for adults
and 20 baht for children.
Sukhothai Historical Park
This is located 12 kilometres from town on the Sukhothai-Tak Highway
and can be reached by local bus or hired motored tricycle from town.
The park is open daily from 8.30 a.m.- 4.30 p.m. Admission is 40
baht. The park also offers tram services as well as bicycles for
rent for exploring around its large area. The Tourist Service Centre
in the park (Tel: 0 5569 7527, 0 5569 7310) provides information,
as well as displays models of historical buildings and structures
in old Sukhothai.
Ruins of the royal palaces, Buddhist temples, the city gates, walls,
moats, dams, ditches, ponds, canals, and the water dyke control
system, which was the magical and spiritual centre of the kingdom,
are now preserved and have been restored by the Fine Arts Department
with the cooperation of UNESCO, not only with a view of fostering
Thailand's national identity but of safeguarding a fine example
of mankinds cultural heritage.
Places of interest in Sukhothai Historical Park are as follows:-
Inside the city wall
The city wall is located in the centre of the historical park
and surrounded by earthen ramparts. The city has a rectangular shape
with 1,300 metres width and 1,800 metres long. The walls contain
four main gates. A stone inscription mentions that King Ramkhamhaeng
set up a bell at one of the gates. If his subjects needed help,
they would ring the bell and the King would come out to settle disputes
and dispense justice.
Inside the town stand 35 monuments including Buddhist temples
and many other structures.
The Royal Palace and Wat Mahathat
The royal palace lies in the centre of the town and covers an area
of 160,000 square metres. This area is surrounded by a moat and
contains two main compounds; the royal building and the sanctuary
in the palace. In the royal compound exist the ruins of the royal
building called Noen Phrasat.
Here, the famous stone inscription of King Ramkhamhaeng was found
by King Mongkut (Rama IV) in the 19th century together with a piece
of the stone throne called Manangkhasila-at. King Ramhamhaeng set
up the throne in the midst of a sugar-palm grove where, at his request,
a monk preached on Buddhist Sabbath days and the King conducted
the affairs of state on other days. This throne was later installed
in Bangkoks Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
A sanctuary lying to the west behind the Royal Palace compound
is Wat Mahathat. It is Sukhothais largest temple with a customary
main chedi in lotus-bud shape and a ruined viharn. At the base of
the chedi stands Buddhist disciples in adoration, and on the pedestal
are seated Buddha images. In front of this reliquary is a large
viharn formerly containing a remarkable seated bronze Buddha image
of the Sukhothai style, which was cast and installed by King Lithai
of Sukhothai in 1362. At the end of the 18th century, the image
was removed to the Viharn Luang of Wat Suthat in Bangkok by the
order of King Rama I and has since been named Phra Si Sakaya Muni.
In front of the large viharn is another smaller viharn which was
probably built during the Ayutthaya period. Its main Buddha image
(8 metres high) was installed inside a separate building. In front
of the southern image, a piece of sculpture called Khom Dam Din
(a Khmer who came by way of walking underground) was found, and
is now kept in the Mae Ya Shrine near the Sukhothai City Hall. On
the south stands a pedestal of a large chedi built up in steps,
the lowest platform is adorned with beautiful stucco figures of
demons, elephants and lions with angles riding on their backs. Mural
painting adorns this chedi.
King Ramkhamhaeng Monument
Situated to the north of Wat Mahathat, the bronze statue of King
Ramkhamhaeng sits on a throne with bas-relief at the base depicting
the Kings life.
Wat Si Sawai
Situated among magnificent scenery southwest of Wat Mahathat is
Wat Si Sawai. Three prangs (pagodas) are surrounded by a laterite
wall. Inside the wall, the viharn in the west, built of laterite,
is separated from the main prang which was constructed in the Lop
Buri or Hindu-style, but the other also constructed beside the prangs
are Buddhist viharns. The Crown Prince of that time who later become
King Rama VI found a trace of the Hindu sculpture Sayomphu, the
greatest Hindu God in this sanctuary. In his opinion, this ruin
was once a Hindu shrine, but was later converted into a Buddhist
Situated to the west of Wat Mahathat is Wat Traphang-Ngoen with
its square pedestal, main sanctuary, and stucco standing Buddha
image in four niches. There is a viharn in front, and in the east
of the pond, there is an island with an ubosot. This edifice has
already crumbled and only its pedestal and laterite columns still
remain. Many monuments and magnificent scenery are visible from
Wat Chana Songkhram
Situated to the north of Wat Mahathat is Wat Chana Songkhram. Its
main sanctuary is a round Singhalese-style chedi. In front of the
chedi exists the base of a viharn and behind the former stands an
ubosot. Bases of twelve small chedis are also visible. Near Charot
Withithong Road is a strange chedi having three bases, one on top
of the other.
Situated near Wat Chana Songkhram is Wat Sa Si. Around a Singhalese-style
chedi is the main sanctuary on an island in the middle of Traphang
Trakuan Pond. A large viharn contains a stucco Buddha image. To
the south stands nine chedis of different sizes.
San-Ta-Pha-Daeng or Deity Shrine
Situated to the north of Wat Mahathat is San Ta Pha Daeng. This
monument consists of only one laterite prang with a staircase in
the front. Sandstone Hindu divine objects (Lop Buri-style) were
Situated to the north of Wat Mahathat is Wat Mai. Wat Mai, having
a brick viharn as the main sanctuary, is in the Ayutthaya style.
The columns of the viharn are made of laterite. A bronze image of
the Buddha under a Naga (Lop Buri-style statue) was found here and
is now preserved in the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum.
The Ramkhamhaeng National Museum
The Ramkhamhaeng National Museum was built in 1960 and open on 25
January, 1964. The museum collection includes gifts from the ex-abbot
of Wat Ratchathani and art objects unearthed in Sukhothai and nearby
provinces. It is open daily from 8.30 a.m.-3.30 p.m. Admission is
30 baht. Tel: 0 5569 7367 www.thailandmuseum.com
Wat Traphang Thong
Situated to the east of Wat Mahathat is Wat Traphang Thong. The
monastery is located on an island in the middle of a large pond.
A ruined laterite Singhalese-style chedi is on the island. In front
of it, a new mondop contains the Lord Buddha's Footprint slab that
was created by King Lithai in 1390 on Samanakut or Phra Bat Yai
Hill. This footprint was removed to the new mondop some years ago.
An annual fair to worship this sacred Lord Buddhas Footprint takes
place at the same time as the Loi Krathong Festival.
Outside the City Wall
The Sites in the North
Wat Phra Phai Luang
This temple lies about 500 metres north of San Luang Gate (northern
gate). This sanctuary, formerly a Khmer-Hindu shrine but later converted
into a Buddhist monastery, is surrounded by a moat. It is second
in importance to Wat Mahathat. Inside, there are three prangs like
Wat Si Sawai, but the southern and the central ones have crumbled
leaving only the northern one decorated with stucco figures. In
front of these prangs are a viharn and a crumbled chedi; the later
has a pedestal decorated with stucco seated Buddha images. A mondop
contains Buddha images in four postures; sitting, reclining, standing,
and walking. They are now all in ruins. A Sivalinga (Phallic emblem
of Hindu gods) was unearthed in the compound of this sanctuary.
Ruins of the Old Celadon Factory (Thuriang Kiln)
Thuriang Kiln is a site where Sukhothai celadons were made. Kilns
exist in an area measuring 100 by 700 metres. Each kiln is divided
into three sections; the fire area, the pottery baking oven, and
the flue. The pottery found here is usually decorated by three different
painted designs on their bottom: a disc, a fish, and a flower. Forty-nine
kilns and small edifices are visible. To the north, a pond has been
dug into the stone.
Wat Si Chum
This lies about 1,500 metres north of Wat Mahathat and was originally
surrounded by a moat. A square mondop which is the main sanctuary,
contains a monumental stucco-over-brick Buddha image in the attitude
of Subduing Mara called Phra Achana. This Buddha measures 11.30
metres from knee to knee.
The mondop is 32 metres square and 15 metres high, and the walls
are 3 metres thick. There is a passageway in the left inner wall
itself which leads to the above crossbeam. On the ceiling of the
passageway are more than fifty engraved slate slabs illustrating
The sites in the West
Wat Saphan Hin
This is situated on a hill 200 metres high. A pathway of slate slabs
leads to the sanctuary yard.
Wat Chang Rop
This is situated in the Aranyik area. A chedi is decorated with
an elephant emerging from the base. A viharn base and laterite columns
are in front of the Chedi.
This earthwork dam was formed to hold back water between Phra Bat
Yai and Kio-Ai-Ma Hills and restored by Thailand's Irrigation Department.
Water from the dam will be used as a reserve whenever the water
level in other reservoirs goes down. This dam is referred to in
the Sukhothai inscription.
The Site in the South
A mondop enshrines four Buddha images in different postures: sitting,
standing, walking, and reclining. The outer walls of the mondop
still retains a section in the form of a slate pillar-balustraded
window. There is an entrance to the mondop to the north. Just behind
the mondop is a small sanctuary which contains a Buddha image known
locally as Phra Si Ariya Maitreya, the Lord Buddha of the Future.
The Sites in the East
Wat Chang Lom
Wat Chang Lom is located to the north of Charot Withithong Road
with a bell-shaped chedi of Ceylonese influence standing as the
centre. The chedi is situated on a 3-tiered square base with a platform
decorated with a row of elephants seen by their front halves supporting
the round chedi.
This type of elephant-decorated chedi is to be seen in many ancient
towns of the Sukhothai period; for example, Kamphaeng Phet and Si
Wat Traphang Thonglang
A square mondop is the main sanctuary. In front of the mondop to
the east, is the viharn and beyond the viharn stands an ubosot.
The outer wall of the mondop is beautifully decorated by stucco
figures in niches. The southern side portrays the Lord Buddha flanked
by angels' decending from Tavatimsa Heaven. To the west portrays
the Lord Buddha preaching to his father and relatives. The northern
side depicts the episode when the Lord Buddha returned to preach
to his wife. These stucco figures, especially those on the south
side, are masterpieces of Sukhothai art.
Sawankhaworanayok National Museum
It is 38 kilometres from Sukhothai and 2 kilometres further
on a road on the left. The museum was open in 1984, and features
sculptural art from various periods; the most interesting being
Sangkhalok crockery from the Sukhothai era and Sangkhlalok items
retrieved from sunken vessels in the Gulf of Thailand. The museum
is open daily except Mondays, Tuesdays, and public holidays, from
8.30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission is 30 baht per person. For more information,
call 0 5564 1571, 0 5564 3166
AMPHOE SI SATCHANALAI
Celadon Kiln Site Study and Conservation Centre
This is located at Ban Ko Noi, some 4 kilometres to the north of
Si Satchanalai. More than 500 kilns have been excavated up to now.
Numerous celadon wares in perfect condition as well as pot have
been discovered. The kiln is oval in shape with a curved roof and
is 7-8 metres wide.
The centre consists of 2 buildings situated on the kiln site area
with 2 kilns No.42 and 61 exhibited on site. There are also exhibitions
on artifacts and on the evolution of ancient ceramic wares. The
centre is open daily from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Admission is 30 baht.
To get there, drive for 6.5 kilometres to the north of Si Satchanalai
Historical Park to Ban Ko Noi where the remains of ancient kilns
can be seen scattered around. The centre is also accessible by the
provincial highway No.1201 from Amphur Si Satchanalai, a distance
of 7 kilometres with the buildings located on the left.
Satchanalai Historical Park
Si Satchanalai Historical Park is located on the bank of the Yom
River. It is open daily between 8.30 a.m.-4.30 p.m. Admission is
The ancient town, formerly called Muang Chaliang, was named Si
Satchanalai during the reign of Phra Ruang when a new administrative
centre was established to replace Chaliang. Ruins of 134 monuments
have been discovered within the park:
Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Temple also called Phra Borommathat Muang
Chaliang Temple or Phra Prang Temple, is situated 3 kilometres to
the south of ancient Si Satchanalais wall. An immense laterite prang
on a square base marks the centre of the temple. A steep staircase
in front of the huge prang leads to a room where a reliquary is
Khao Phanom Phloeng Temple is a hilltop temple within the old town
of Si Satchanalai. A laterite chedi in the centre, a large viharn
or image hall in front, and a small sanctuary behind all lie in
ruins. Some laterite pillars and a damaged Buddhas' image constructed
of laterite slabs and coated with mortar are seen.
Khao Suwan Khiri Temple is also a hilltop temple situated 200 metres
away from Phanom Phloeng Hill. A huge bell-shaped chedi on a 5-tiered
base marks the centre of the temple. Ruins of a viharn and chedi,
and fragments of huge stucco figures lie scattered on the ground.
The similarity between some figures here and those at Wat Chang
Lom in the old town of Sukhothai leads to the belief that it was
King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of the Sukhothai Kingdom who had this
Chang Lom Temple is an important monument within the old town of
Si Satchanalai. A huge bell-shaped chedi supported by 39 elephants,
with 4 of them at 4 cardinal points elaborately decorated, marks
the centre of the temple. Above the chedis base, there are niches
enshrining images of the Buddha subduing Mara.
Chedi Chet Thaeo Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in
Sukhothai Province. Chedis of different artistic styles and influence
were built within the area of this temple. Mural paintings, seriously
damaged, are still to be seen in some chedis.
Suan Kaeo Utthayan Yai Temple is located near Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo
with only a dirt road in between. A large image hall lies in remains
within this temple. The monastery is also called Wat Kao Hong or
the 9 roomed temple.
Nang Phaya Temple is famous for its delicate stucco reliefs on
the remains of the northwestern wall of the 7 roomed viharn or image
hall. The pillars of this viharn are decorated with unglazed ceramic
designs. The central laterite chedi is surrounded by lampposts and
accessible by a set of narrow stairs.
Suan Kaeo Utthayan Noi Temple is the only temple within the old
town of Si Satchanalai with a brick building in front. The ruins
of this temple consist of a whole laterite image hall with a laterite
Satchanalai National Park
This was proclaimed a national park on 8 May, 1981. With a total
area of 213 square kilometres in Amphoe Si Satchanalai and Amphoe
Thung Saliam of Sukhothai Province, Si Satchanalai National Park
offers trekking routes through waterfalls and caves. The parks geography
is mainly high, undulating mountains covered by a tropical jungle.
Interesting tourist spots in the park include Tat Dao and Tat Duean
Waterfalls, about 3 kilometres and 500 metres from the park headquarters,
respectively. The park also has a hot spring, two caves called Tham
Khangkhao (bats cave), and Tham Thara Wasan.
Si Satchanalai National Park is about 100 kilometres from Sukhothai
via route no. 1113 and route no. 1294 and can be reached by local
bus from Amphur Si Satchanalai. The bus leaves for the park once
a day and costs 30 baht. It takes 50 minutes for the journey. The
park admission is 200 baht per person. There is accommodation for
tourists. For reservations, please contact the National Park Section,
Royal Forestry Department at Tel: 0 2562 0760 or 0 5561 9214-5