Sdok Kok Thom is a Khmer temple which was constructed in 11th century during the reign of King Udayadityavarman II in the northeast of Thailand, the border area of Thailand and Cambodia, around 220km from Bangkok.
The temple was built dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva and it has many characteristics of Khmer monuments. It is oriented towards the east with the erection of a stone linga, the symbol of the Hindu God Shiva, in the central sanctuary and the temple is surrounded by moats and an outer wall. The event was memorialized on a tall rectangular pillar as the Sdok Kok Thom inscription was still survives. The French archaeologist Aymonier found a stele in the temple and he translate all the words on it. It records the historical legends in details about the early Khmer empire was found by Jayavarman II in 802 through the rule of King Udayadityavarman.
A processional walkway with pillars on the both sides from the entrance leads to the central prang (a Khmer style tower) in the inner sanctuary which is surrounded by galleries. Inside the galleries, there are two libraries very close to the central prang and the ancient scriptures were kept inside. The various sculptures around the temple describe the Naga snakes and some of them are wearing crowns. Another sculpture is a reclining Vishnu.
One thousand years old stele
The French archaeologist found stele records the most valuable information about the ancient Khmer empire which were traced to the year 1052 have provided plenty of knowledge about Khmer history from the 8th to 11th century. Visitors can easily see the records are carved in Khmer language and some in Sanskrit.
The records also provide detailed information about the construction family and the services they offer to the king of Khmer kingdom and the constructions of the Sdok Kok Thom over many generations. It also depicts the events in common life that happened every day in Khmer era as well as the religious rituals to the Hindu God Shiva.
Sdok Kok Thom converted into a Buddhist temple later.
The restorations of Sdok Kok Thom
Over so many centuries, the structures of the temple have collapsed and it has been extensively restored in the past decades and it is believed that it was brought back to its original appearance. During the restorations, the original materials were used as much as possible, however some new materials still be used whenever the old materials could not been found, like the stones. As the new materials have not been made to look old, the color of them is slightly different from the old ones and it can be distinguished easily.
How to get to Sdok Kok Thom
The temple is located in the middle of Ta Phraya town and Aranyaprathet town, close to the border of Cambodia in Sa Kaeo province in northeast Thailand. It is really in the remote area so there is not easy to use public transportation to get there. UME Travel offers private tour to there. Or if you like to experience the public transportation of Thailand, you can go to Morchit bus station in Bangkok and catch an air conditioned bus for 4 or 5 hours to Aranyaprathet, then take a taxi to the Sdok Kok Thom. You have to negotiate the price before leaving and it is better to book a return trip, as it is very hard to get a taxi back to the town from the temple.
Alternatively, visitors can take daily train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet. There are two regular trains from Bangkok every day. One leaves at 5:55 am and arrives at 11:35 am, the other departs at 1:05pm and arrives at 5:35pm.
Sdok Kok Thom opens from 08:00am to 05:00pm every day.
Explore Thailand with UME Travel
These itineraries with some visits to the sacred the elegant Thai temples are designed to give you some suggestions for what is possible when you travel to Thailand. They showcase the routes that we've found work very well. Take them as your travel inspiration, because your trip will be designed uniquely for you on your particular interests.