Wat Si Sawai in Sukhothai

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ April 15th, 2015. Filed under: Thailand.
Wat Si Sawai also known as Wat Sri Savaya in Sukothai, Thailand

Wat Si Sawai also known as Wat Sri Savaya in Sukhothai, Thailand

A big Khmer style temple in Sukhothai

There are plenty of big temples in Sukhothai Historical Park. If you’ve already seen Wat Phai Luang then you’ll know what the ruins of a Khmer style temple look like. However I do encourage you to seek out Wat Si Sawai (Wat Sri Savaya) just south of Wat Mahathat to see a much more complete Khmer style temple.

What’s more Wat Si Sawai is set in a very peaceful setting surrounded by green trees, a small moat and a stone wall. It’s makes for a good spot to stop and have that packed lunch!

History of Wat Si Sawai

As you come from Wat Mahathat the first common sight of Wat Si Sawai is across the small moat are the three Khmer style Phrangs are visible. Prior to the 12th &-13th century War Si Sawai was a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. Wat Si Sawai is accredited as being one of the oldest temples in Sukhothai Historical Park.

Wat Sri Sawai is surrounded by a small moat and breautiful greenery

Wat Sri Sawai is surrounded by a small moat and breautiful greenery

During the Kingdom of Sukhothai it was converted to a Buddhist temple. With assembly halls added later in the 14th century.

Art & architecture of Wat Si Sawai

Wat Si Sawai has some of the best relief (stucco) work in all Sukhothai. As you enter Wat Si Sawai from the front vihan you’ll see typical Khmer slat windows looking out over the white stucco covered prangs.

Original Wat Sri Savaya design

Original Wat Sri Savaya design

The central prang is over 15 meters in height with the others about 2 meters shorter. Construction of the Prangs began in the 12th century but were halted during a shift in power from Sukhothai to the kingdom of Ayutthaya when they were finished in the 15th century.

Stucco work on the prangs of Wat Sri Sawai

Stucco work on the prangs of Wat Sri Sawai

The three prangs themselves are marked with reliefs showing Buddha images, Kirtimukha faces, Kala images and Makaras. Such works of art continues on stuccos depicting mythical  half-human, half-animal figures.

Each of the prangs also contain shrines to Buddha but are now empty.

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Over by the entrance there is a depiction of the Hindu deity Vishnu leaning on Ananta Shesha, the King of the Naga serpents.

The main assembly hall or viharn was constructed much later,

Around Wat Si Sawai

Archaeological digs around the area have uncovered Chinese porcelains and Hindu statues. Today the surrounding area is grassy and peaceful. To the east of the main temple is a tree line area which makes for a lovely place to stop and have a rest.

Vihan ruins beside Wat Si Sawai

One of the more recent vihans that did not last as long as the original temple!

It’s here and to the other side that you’ll see the ruins of the other viharns which did not stand the test of time too well. They are of a similar construction to the surrounding wall.

If you enjoy the history of Thai temples. Are doing a full day trip around Sukhothai Historical Park. Or are just looking for a nice temple area to sit and read for while then Wat Si Sawai makes a great place to visit.

The Prangs at Wat Si Sawai

The Prangs at Wat Si Sawai

Entrance fees into Sukhothai Historical Park
  • Entrance to Sukhothai Historical park = 100 baht
  • Bicycle surcharge = 10 baht
  • Mystery all section ticket = 350 baht (if you can find the right person)

Food and drinks are a touch and go affair in the park. There are a few cafes. They aren’t too outrageously expensive. But if you are on a budget bringing one’s own water will half your cost.

It’s 2 kilometers from the central zone ticket office to the northern section. The main road there is surfaced, flat and quite easy to use via a bicycle.

The park is open from 6am-18.00. Keep in mind the bicycle shops closed between 17.30 and 18.00 too. I’ll write later about night time viewing of the temples but sufficed to say, it’s very dark and very isolated so don’t get caught out alone after dark.

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8 Great responses to Wat Si Sawai in Sukhothai

  1. Cho says:

    That top photo looks like Angkor wat! They must have been the same people I think. That built it.

  2. Martha says:

    It looks wonderful there. I’m surprised more people don’t visit. It looks abandoned!

  3. Nora says:

    It looks wonderful there. I’m surprised more people don’t visit. It looks abandoned!

  4. Marai says:

    Can you just ride a bike all day or does it get too hot?

  5. Nikki says:

    I so want to go there an see everything. Do you think it’s possible to study meditation there?

  6. Amy says:

    Lovely photos. So incredible that there’s places like this in the world.

  7. Sandra says:

    Really looking forward to visiting here. Thanks for all your hard work and information.

  8. Dorean says:

    Such nice photographs of the temples in Sukhothai. It’s really a place we did not consider visiting until now.