Sisaket (ศรีสะเกษ, sometimes Si Saket) is a town and a province in Isaan, Thailand.
With a long history, the area around Sisaket has had a strong culture and a prosperous economy since the Khmer era over one thousand years ago. Moreover, many ethnic tribes settled here such as the Suay, Lao, Khmer, and Yer. Sisaket became a town in 1759 during Ayuthaya period. In the reign of King Rama V, or around a century ago, the town moved to its present location.
With plenty of Khmer Ruins, Sisaket is an interesting destination to visit. It is also the gateway to visit the world famous Preah Vihear ruins, a cliff-top Khmer sanctuary most of which is just across the border in Cambodia. The province grows a wide variety of fruits, such as rambutan and durian. These are typically available at the beginning of rainy season around May. Much of the local population are near-subsistence farmers earning an average of about 100 baht or USD3 per day.
From Bangkok, use Hwy 1 (Payolyothin Rd) then Hwy 2 (Mitraphap Rd) from Saraburi. Near Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima) take Hwy 24 (Chock Chai-Det Udom) to reach Sisaket. This route is 571 km.
Buses and air-conditioned coaches leave the Northeastern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) in Bangkok for Sisaket daily. The journey takes 8 hours. For more information, visit The Transport Co., Ltd. or call +66 2 9362852-66 or Sisaket Bus Terminal at +66 45 612500.
Ordinary, rapid, and express trains regularly leave Bangkok and Bang Sue Station for Sisaket. The route is 515 km. For more information, call the State Railway of Thailand at 1690, +66 2 2204334, +66 2 2204444, and Sisaket Railway Station at +66 45 611525.
For getting around in Sisaket City, tricycles are readily available. Moreover, there are buses from downtown Sisaket to other towns as well as provinces nearby.
There are no meter-taxis or tuk-tuks, but you can hire a motorbike-taxi or take a samlor (three-wheeled bicycle-taxi).
Sisaket Province is famous for its ruins dating to the Khmer Empire.
- Phra That Ruang Rong (พระธาตุเรืองรอง) (8 km away on the Sisaket-Yang Chum Noi Rd). A beautiful wat (temple). The whole complex takes about 90 min to visit. Open only in the daytime. The temple's architecture is a blending of art from four ethnic groups in the lower northeast: Lao, Suay, Khmer, and Yer. The Phra That Or stupa is 49 metres tall.
- Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew (Wat Lan Khuad or Temple of a Million Bottles) (~61 km south of Sisaket, in the small town of Khun Han). A bizarre yet entirely serious Buddhist temple complex constructed entirely out of glass bottles. Even the pictures on the walls were assembled from bottle caps. The temple is a worthwhile detour if visiting Preah Vihear with your own transport. Its architecture is interesting, particularly the pavilion called "Sala Thansmo Maha Jedikaeo", an ubosot located mid-pond.
- Tamnaksai ปราสาทตำหนักไทร (Tamchan ปราสาททามจาน) Khmer ruins – This is a single stupa of brick on a sandstone base. The stupa is rectangular. There is door on the east, while the other three sides have entrances with a door frame carved into the brickwork.
- Bas relief – Carved on the red sandstone cliff, this depicts three gods in Khmer style. Khmer craftsmen probably practiced here first before doing the actual carving for Preah Vihear Temple sanctuary.
- Sra Trao or Huay Trao – This stream runs through rock at the foot of Preah Vihear Mountain, before entering a tunnel strengthened by rock walls. It is assumed that the lowland was once used as a barai, a Khmer reservoir.
- Sra Kampaeng Noi (ปราสาทสระกำแพงน้อย) – These Khmer ruins include a laterite stupa and chapel with a big pond at front, all within a laterite wall. In the 13th century, additions were made in the Bayon architectural style. It once contained a community hospital known as the Arokaya Sala.
- Sra Kampaeng Yai (ปราสาทสระกำแพงใหญ่) Khmer ruins – This is the largest and most complete Khmer complex in the province. The site includes three stupas on the same north-south axis and facing east. It was originally a shrine dedicated to Shiva, but was converted to a Mahayana Buddhist temple in the 13th century.
- Huay Tap Tan (ปราสาทห้วยทับทัน) or Ban Prasart (ปราสาทบ้านปราสาท) Khmer ruins – This consists of three brick stupas on a laterite base aligned on a north-south axis. They stand inside laterite walls with arch gates.
- Plang Ku (ปราสาทปรางค์กู่) Khmer ruins – The stupa of this Khmer ruin complex was built in gigantic size. In front of Plang Ku is a big pond which is home to ducks and geese, which gather from February.
- Ban Samor (ปราสาทบ้านสมอ) Khmer ruins – This small Khmer ruin is in Moo 2 Ban Tamchan, Tambon Samor. Built in the 13th century, its stupa houses a carved statue.
- Taleng (ปราสาทตาเล็ง) Khmer ruins – This features a single stupa standing on a rectangular base. The stupa's base faces east. Only the front wall and some side walls remain.
- Wat Maha Buddharam (วัดมหาพุทธาราม) – This Buddhist temple's vihara houses Luang Por To, the sacred icon of Sisaket. Dating back to the Khmer era over a thousand years ago, the statue was carved from stone.
- Somdet Sri Nagarin Park (สวนสมเด็จศรีนครินทร์) – With a landscape of rolling hills, the park is nourished by two streams, Huay Poon Yai and Huay Poon Noi that meet north of the park. The area is rich in "Lamduan" or Lamdman trees, making it a botanical excursion.
- Khun Ampai Panich Building (ตึกขุนอำไพพาณิชย์) – The building belongs to Sisaket nobleman Khun Ampai Panich (in Naga-siharat). It is renovated and preserved, and won gold medal for conserving urban architecture in 1987.
- Namtok Samrong Kiat (Namtok Pisad) (น้ำตกสำโรงเกียรติ [น้ำตกปีศาจ]) – Originating in Kantung Mountain in the Bantad Range, this medium-sized waterfall turns vibrant from September to February.
- Namtok Huay Chan (Namtok Kantrom) (น้ำตกห้วยจันทร์ [น้ำตกกันทรอม]) – Originating on Phu Salao Mountain in the Bantad Range, the waterfall cascades beautifully before meeting the Mun River.
- Sisa Asoka (ศีรษะอโศก) – is a model of communal self-sufficiency, showcasing people who live a Buddhism-centric lifestyle. Its success attracts numerous organisations to study its story.
Phra Viharn National Park
- Khao Phra Wihan National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาพระวิหาร) – The park features dry evergreen forest, mixed dipterocarp forest, and deciduous dipterocarp forest with tree species like Pterocarpus macrocarpus, Shorea siamensis, and Xylia xylocarpa. It is home to wildlife such as boars, deer, barking deer, rabbits, squirrels, gibbons, and civets. Phra Viharn National Park features interesting sights including:
- Mo E-Dang – One of the best viewpoints in the northeast, the red rock cliff face is on Thai-Cambodian border.
- Don Tuan – Built during the 10–11th centuries, the Khmer ruins in Ban Phume Sarol are 300 metres from the Thai-Cambodian border. Legend has it that a lady known as Nang Nom Yai or Nieng Non dor (Khmer), stopped to rest here on her way to visit a king.
- Double Stupas – Two sandstone stupas, or phra that, cube-shaped with round tops, are west of Mo E-Dang cliff. The stupas house items that indicate the prosperity of the Khmer period.
- Namtok and Tham Khun Sri – The three-tiered waterfall, above the cave, is west of Sra Trao close to the trail to Phreah Vihear. Khun Sri Cave is of gigantic proportions and was believed to have been the accommodation of Khun Sri, a nobleman who controlled rock cutting at Sra Trao at the time of the construction of Preah Vihear sanctuary.
- Namtok Phu La-Ō (น้ำตกภูละออ) – In Phanom Dongrak Wildlife Sanctuary, Tambon Sao Thongchai, the small waterfall turns vibrant from September to February.
- Preah Vihear (ปราสาทเขาพระวิหาร) sanctuary – The famous cliff-top Khmer sanctuary is in a disputed area between Thailand and Cambodia. It was listed as an antique architectural site by the Royal Thai Fine Arts Department, with an announcement in the Royal Gazette on 11 October 1940. The ruins were claimed by Thailand to be on the Thai side of the natural watershed which, according to the agreed determination between France and Siam in 1907, would place them inside the borders of Thailand. However, on 15 July 1962, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Hindu sanctuary belongs to Cambodia, citing Thailand's acceptance of the map of the 1907 determination which clearly showed the temple to be on Cambodian soil. Access must still be made through Thailand, since it is difficult to reach from the Cambodian plains 100 meters below. An area of 4.6 square kilometres adjoining the temple is claimed by both countries and has been the scene of sporadic clashes between Thai and Cambodian border patrols.
- Dok Lamduan Festivals (งานเทศกาลดอกลำดวน): Held annually between 15–17 March at Somdet Sri Nagarin Park when lamduan trees in the park are in full bloom, The fair consists of cultural performances by four local ethnic groups: Khmer, Suay, Lao, and Yer. Visitors can view handicrafts, local products, and watch reenactments of Sisaket's history.
- Sisaket's Rambutan and Durian Fair (งานเทศกาลเงาะทุเรียนศรีสะเกษ): The fair is held every June on the field before Kantaralak or Khun Harn. Fairgoers can marvel at the fruits of Sisaket: rambutan, durian, lanson, mangosteen, stink beans and enjoy flower floats, documentary exhibitions, and a fruit tasting caravan.
- Half- and Quarter-Marathon to Mor E-Dang (การแข่งขันวิ่งฮาล์ฟและควอเตอร์มาราธอนสู่ผามออีแดง): Held annually on the third Sunday of December, the half- and quarter-marathon proceeds from Ban Phume Sarol to Mor E-Dang Cliff, on the way to Preah Vihear.
- Sisaket is known for silk and cotton cloth woven in khit pattern, which is produced mainly in Bung Boon and Uthumporn Pisai.
- Salted eggs from Prai Bung, red onions, garlic, and preserved garlic in honey are generally available. Sisaket is also known for its tropical fruits. Fruit orchards in Kantaralak District bear fruit such as durian, rambutan, and mangosteen from May to July.
Sisaket is in the heart of Isaan. You will find excellent Isaan food everywhere. There are quite a few good restaurants in Sisaket. But maybe the best offer in town is the lively evening market adjacent to the railway on the south side of the train station. There you will find a wide variety of cooked, baked and barbequed food for reasonable prices. The evening market opens at 17:00 and closes at 21:00.
Grilled chicken on madan (mangosteen) skewer or kai yang mai madan is one of the most popular dishes in Sisaket Province. Chicken is skewered on a stick of madan wood. Madan, being mostly found in Huai Thap Than District, is used by local people because of its aroma, is hard to burn and gives a slightly sour taste. Kai yang mai madan is promoted as the local OTOP (One Tambon (meaning sub-district) One Product) of Thailand.
Ma kuear soup is not a soup. It is a combination of Thai eggplant, fish meat, red onion, chili, and Thai herbs. It looks gluey like nam prik. This dish consists of vegetables and herbs, so it is simple for local people to find the ingredients. The dish is served with fresh vegetables like cucumber, coriander, and cow-pea beans.
- Leo's, 1579, 11 Si Sumung, Mueang Tai, ☏ +6645960208, email@example.com. 11:00-23:00 daily, closed Tuesdays. Leo's Bar and Restaurant has an astonishing variety of beer/ciders from many countries, priced reasonably. The farang and Thai food is well presented and some of the Western dishes are sourced from the well-established Staffords of Prasat. Most evenings the place has a mix of Thais and farangs sitting in air conditioned comfort. Beef burger, bacon and cheese, 145 baht.
There are a few places you can go in the evening or night life. One of the most famous being Sugars on Lak Muang Rd. Then you could go off to the Nona Disco on Kuang Heng Rd, and last but not least, to the I-Bar in the Prompiman Hotel on Lak Muang Rd, not far from the train station. In the I-Bar you can meet the trendy young locals and listen to live music. Dress properly, no beachwear, or you will be refused at the door.
- Kessiri Hotel, 1102-05 Khukan Rd, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- North-East Hotel, 1619 Srisumank Rd.
- Hotel Prompiman, 849/1 Lukmuang Rd, ☏ +6645612677, email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Dated hotel in convenient location near Railway Station. Breakfast basic. 600 baht.
- SP-Boutique Hotel.
- Anlong Veng — to the south in Cambodia
- Preah Vihear — ancient Khmer temple, about two hours to the south
- Surin — about two hours to the west, known for the annual Elephant Roundup
- Ubon Ratchathani — provincial capital of Ubon Ratchathani Province, about an hour to the east
|Routes through Sisaket|
|Bangkok ← Surin ←||W E||→ Ubon Ratchathani|