Categories > Guides and Tips

Wat Si Chum What You Need to Know Before Visiting

Wat Si Chum: What You Need to Know Before Visiting

The Temple of the Bodhi Tree, or Wat Si Chum, has a Buddha that isn’t just massive. Legend has it that the statue also speaks and was even credited as the reason for winning a war!

Intrigued? Well, this is why visiting this site is a must when exploring the wonders of Sukhothai

In this guide, we’ll shed light on the rich cultural history that Wat Si Chum holds. We’ll also show you all the adventures that await in this most photographed portion of Sukhothai Historical Park, so read on. 

Things to Know

Time Zone:  Indochina Time (UTC/GMT+7)

Currency: Thai Baht
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai (Central Thai)

Calling Code: (+66), (055)

Location: Mueang Kao, Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai 64210, Thailand

Nearest Airport: Sukhothai Airport (42.6 km)

Operating Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 55 697 367

Admission Fee: 100 baht (on top of the 100 baht Historical Park Admission)


When was Wat Si Chum built?

Wat Si Chum was built in the 13th century but underwent reconstruction in 1957, which was managed by the Thai Fine Arts Department.

The temple was built within a thicket of bodhi trees and features a mondop that enshrines a giant Buddha image and a wihan (assembly hall) with a smaller Buddha image.

What’s the historical significance of Wat Si Chum in Sukhothai’s history?

Wat Si Chum’s historical value came from its stone inscription with records of the royal family and the founding of the Sukhothai Kingdom. These were discovered in a recess inside the temple’s mandapa walls.

Also, Wat Si Chum was instrumental in boosting the morale of the soldiers during the war with the Burmese. 

Ancient kings were said to climb its hidden passageway to address their subjects and make them think their words came from the Great Buddha. The hidden chamber still exists today, though largely invisible from the front. 

Are there any legends or stories associated with Wat Si Chum?

There is a famous legend about Wat Si Chum that started during the 16th century which earned it the nickname “Phra Poot Dai” or “Speaking Buddha.” It is said that King Naresuan used a hidden passageway inside the temple to address his troops in secret.

This was done to make the soldiers think his words came from the Lord Buddha which helped boost their morale during the war against the Burmese. And yes, the army was so fired up after hearing the statue speak, they won the war. 

Best Time to Visit Wat Si Chum

The ideal time for visiting Wat Si Chum is in February because that’s when Thailand experiences the best dry weather with a cool breeze. So, you can explore the temple grounds comfortably.

You can best explore Wat Si Chum in the morning or afternoon to avoid the unpleasant heat during midday. 

How to Get to Wat Si Chum

Plane: Flying to Sukhothai Airport from key locations like Phuket, Bangkok, or Chiang Mai is the fastest method for getting to Wat Si Chum. 

In the airport, you’ll find buses, minivans, taxis, and private vehicles that can take you to Sukhothai Historical Park, where Wat Si Chum is.

Pro Tip: 

If you’re boarding an airport bus, ask first if it can drop you off at Sukhothai’s old city since that’s where Wat Si Chum is. If you board public transport that only goes to the New Sukhothai, you’ll need another taxi or tuk-tuk ride to the temple.

Day Tour Package: If you want to prioritize convenience, booking a day tour package for Sukhothai Historical Park that includes Wat Si Chum is the best way to go. Some notable travel agencies that offer day tours to the park are Viator and

Bus: Boarding a bus to Sukhothai is an affordable way to get to Wat Si Chum. However, traveling to Sukhothai by bus can take up to 10 hours, depending on your starting location.

Sukhothai Bus Terminal is in New Sukhothai, so you’ll still need to hire a taxi or tuk-tuk to Wat Si Chum. You’ll find buses going to Sukhothai in Bangkok (Mo Chit Bus Terminal), Chiang Mai (Arcade Station 2), and Phitsanulok (Phitsanulok Bus Terminal 2).

Train: A train ride to Sukhothai is cheaper than going by bus, but it’s also the slowest mode of transportation. 

You must buy a ticket to Phitsanulok Train Station since there’s no direct train from Bangkok’s Bang Sue Grand Station to Sukhothai. From there, you’ll need to board a bus to Sukhothai Bus Terminal and a taxi or tuk-tuk to Wat Si Chum.

Pro Tip: 

You can book cheaper train tickets at the train station. So, don’t book online unless you want the exclusive First-class A/C Sleeper seats. Also, the Third-class Fan seats have the cheapest tickets.

Rental Car: Renting a car gives you the freedom to travel to Wat Si Chum at your own pace. Just make sure you have the proper permit.

Private Minivan: If you’re traveling with a group, it’s a good idea to book a private minivan, which can sometimes accommodate up to nine passengers. 

This is also a convenient option since the driver can pick you up from any Bangkok hotel and take you straight to Sukhothai Historical Park.

What to See and Do in Wat Si Chum

Check the spots where its stone inscriptions and Jataka plaques used to be

Media credit: uz2002

Wat Si Chum used to enshrine valuable inscriptions and religious artifacts within its mandapa walls and ceiling, and we think it’s worth a look. 

Notice how the temple walls have spaces with gaps where the Wat Si Chum Inscription was initially discovered.

On the roofs of its hidden passageway, you’ll see linings that used to hold 86 plaques depicting Jataka tales or the previous lives of the Buddha. It’s also a unique thing to only have 100 illustrated Jatakas, instead of the usual 500-plus that most temples have.

The temple’s stone inscriptions and Jataka plaques have been removed and placed in the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum where you can view them if you’d like to.

Pay homage to the temple’s giant Buddha image

Media credit: topibajo

The temple’s giant 49-foot-tall Buddha image is known as Phra Achana/Atjana which means “he who is unshaken.” This name was derived from the first stone inscription discovered inside the temple’s ruins which was aptly called Stone Inscription 1.

If you look closely, you’ll notice the Buddha has several unique features: an oval-shaped face, elongated gold leaf-covered fingers, and a notable flame-like finial. It’s also Sukhothai’s largest known seated Buddha, which is why it’s the most photographed.

Though the temple dates back to the 13th century, this Buddha image features the high-classical Sukhothai style from the 14th century.

Admire Wat Si Chum’s architecture

Media credit: golmorich2.0

A visit to Wat Si Chum isn’t complete without admiring its striking mondop architecture that doesn’t have the signature pointed roof. The crumbled roof exposes the temple’s giant Buddha image and gives you interesting picture compositions and viewing angles. 

Wat Si Chum is also one of Thailand’s more unique mondop temples due to its wihan (assembly hall) appearing as a separate structure instead of being connected. But that’s not all — the mondop also holds the principal Buddha image which is a unique case.

Visit Wat Si Chum’s wihan

Media credit: yupiestagram

Beside the mondop is the ruin of a distinct large wihan that enshrines a smaller seated Buddha image. This wihan isn’t aligned with the temple’s mondrop which makes it a unique sight that you can’t afford to miss during your visit.

Next to the wihan is a huge 200-year-old mango tree, and we think it’s worth checking out. It’s become a delightful sight that most tourists enjoy seeing since the wihan by itself is less impactful than the mondrop temple.

Take a coffee break in the small cafe within the temple grounds

Media credit: miwaco342315

There’s a small cafe near the ticket office at the entrance to Wat Si Chum, and it’s a great place to get affordable coffee before or after you explore the temple grounds. They use coconut milk with their coffee, so it’s vegan-friendly.

You’ll even see them open a coconut and extract its milk so you know it’s fresh. This cafe also sells fruit shakes which they make with the fruits displayed near the counter.

Related topics