Si Thep Tourist Attractions
A visit to this town in the Menam Pasak valley framed by jungle covered mountains is only for those seriously interested in the history of Thailand and who possess a vivid imagination. The archaeologists have only made a hesitant start in their excavations and the Department of Fine Arts is funding future work. The finest pieces from Si Thep are in the National Museum in Bangkok.By car: from Phetchabun Highway 21 south (132 km (82 mi.)). From Saraburi also route 21 in the opposite direction (123 km (76 mi.)).By bus: connections from Saraburi and Phetchabun.It is a matter of debate whether Si Thep enjoyed any importance before its function as a Khmer town. One of the earliest settlements in Thailand has been identified in the region around Si Thep. This theory has been reinforced by excavations which unearthed Brahman statues and reliefs. However, the discovery of some stone tablets bearing Khmer inscriptions indicated that Si Thep was an important town during the Khmer empire.The oval wall surrounding the town built by the Mon, later to be rebuilt square by the Khmer, can only be distinguished with difficulty. The remains of prangs, town walls and five temple sites can be seen more or less clearly.The stone statues found during excavations are among the oldest and finest Hindu depictions. They originate from the 6th-9th c., the time of the Dvaravati empire and display strong influences of Indian Gupta and post-Gupta art. These rare treasures have been in the National Museum in Bangkok for years where they are on display together with a plan of a ruined town. There is also an exceptionally fine Buddha statue with a Pali inscription on the pedestal.None of the Khmer monuments appear to be more recent than early 11th c., suggesting that Si Thep was probably abandoned by the Khmer in that century.
Evidence of Buddhist art (wall carvings, date unknown) can be found in the cave in the hill at Thamorat, to the west of Si Thep.