Flocks of tourists descend upon the ancient capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai – and rightly so, as the ruins are extensive and fascinating to explore – but if you want a peaceful, evocative interaction with the past, Si Satchanalai is an often overlooked site in central Thailand, an easy day trip bus ride from Sukhothai. The city was once a bustling trade center under the aegis of Sukhothai in the 13th century and today encompasses a shady park of the surviving temple ruins, an ancient staircase climbs to hill temples that crumble into the forest, and an elephant temple with various stages of decaying pachyderms ringing the temple walls. Go in the rainy season and you’re likely to have the park of ruined temples all to yourself, except for the quiet back roads of the nearby village.
My collection of photos from Si Satchanalai Historical Park are some of my favorites from Thailand. To view the slideshow, click on the link.