Si Saket / Thailand


Si Saket, Sri Saket, Sisaket

Si Saket is a town and province capital (of the province bearing the same name) in the south of Thailand's northeast (Isan). It's a completely modern place and has itself practically no attraction. Officially around 40,000 people live in Si Saket town, although, as usually in Thailand, it gives the impression of more people for it's so compact and actually not that small.

Si Saket Downtown

'Wooden Shophouse in Si Saket' by Asienreisender

Si Saket is a place without history, actually without much of a face. It's one of the ugly Thai towns with too much naked concrete, where verymost of the buildings and roads are all look quite similar. The wooden shophouse here in the foreground is at least a bit older and different.

The town's streets are widely aligned in a chessboard pattern, running in north-south and east-west directions. That makes orientation relatively easy. Image by Asienreisender, 10/2015

Si Saket Province borders in the south to Cambodia. There is a border crossing at Choam Pass in the Dangrek Mountains which offers a remote and seldom used route to reach Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor Archaeological Park.

The town is connected to Bangkok via the railway line to Ubon Ratchathani and has a small, modern railway station. The Huai Samran River, a tributary of the Mun River, the largest in Isan and itself the largest tributary of the Mekong River, runs along the edges of Si Saket Town.

Si Saket is not a central part of Thailand, rather peripheral. The population's majority consists of people with Laotian roots. Another part of the people, up to 30%, have Khmer roots and are still able to speak Khmer.

The original foundation of the place dates back to the Angkorean times. However, the first, medieval place was not at the same spot but a few kilometers away. In later centuries the region came to Siam and got city-status granted in 1759. In the second half of the 19th century the place was moved to where it is situated now. Still then it beared another name what was Khu Khan. There is a place with this name still some 40km south of nowadays Si Saket. Si Saket got it's name only in 1938/39, by the way at the same time when Siam was renamed into Thailand.

Si Saket Railway Station

'Si Saket Railway Station' by Asienreisender

Also the railway station is a completely modernist building. In front of it is a large roundabout. Image by Asienreisender, 10/2015

There is actually not much reason, if any, for a traveller to visit Si Saket. Since the town offers nothing in particular, only some minor attractions in the surroundings are worth to be visited. It's difficult to rent a vehicle here, for there is no tourist industry established in town.

The most notable sight in the region is not exactly part of the province, at least politically, although geographically seen it should be. It's the famous Khmer temple of Preah Vihear, which fell in the French-Siamese treaty of 1907 to the French side and is therefore now part of Cambodia. The temple has the best access from the Thai side and was also meaned by their builders to serve the Si Saket region. It's placed on the heights of the Dangrek Mountains, who fall down steeply to the south (Cambodia) and rather gently to the south (Thailand). However, although the site is under border dispute, it's officially part of Cambodia and the Cambodians block the access from Thailand. That's actually a real pity, for the Thai Department of Fine Arts cares so nicely for the Angkorean sites in Isan as one can see e.g. in Phimai, Phanom Rung or Prasat Ta Muen, while the Cambodians have only one thing in mind: to make a maximum of money out of the sights and don't care at all for them. There is now a steep serpentine road going up to Preah Vihear from the southern side, and the Cambodians charge visitors high access fees.

However, there is quite a number of more, although far less significant and impressing Angkorean ruins in Si Saket Province.