Last month after the IPPA Congress in Chiang Mai, we organised a SEAMEO SPAFA post-conference excursion taking us from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, and visiting a number of cultural sites along the way. One of our stops was at the Si Thep Historical Park in Petchabun Province, where one of the highlights was Khao Klang Nok, a large Buddhist stupa dating to around the 8-9th centuries CE.
Khao Klang Nok is one of the largest monuments in the Si Thep Historical Park, although it isn’t actually inside the ancient town of Si Thep but about two kilolometers away. The brick and laterite stupa is 64 m long on each side, and 20 m high. A collapsed stupa is at the summit, and excavations in 2008 uncovered at standing Buddha image there in Dvaravati style.
The ancient moated town of Si Thep dates to around the 5-13th centuries CE. It was a Dvaravati site with evidence for Buddhist and Brahmanist worship, but in the later periods it was also a Khmer site, as evidence by Khmer-style prangs, notably within the ancient town walls.
Si Thep Historical Park is located in Phetchabun province in northern central Thailand. It’s one of the lesser-known archaeological sites outside of Thailand, particularly because it’s not near any urban centre. Still, it’s about four hours away from Bangkok by car, so it can be visited as a day trip, or better as an overnight trip. If you follow the news about Si Thep Historical Park on this site, you’ll know that the authorities have plans to nominate the site for Unesco World Heritage.
Many thanks to the team at the Si Thep Historical Park for the permission to get some footage over Khao Klang Nok. Please note that drones are NOT normally allowed over the monuments; I had permission to use one for this instance.