Sa Kaeo (สระแก้ว), also spelt Sa Kaew, is the capital city of the Province by this name in Inner Eastern Thailand.
Sa Kaeo, pronounced "Sa Gaeo" is an eastern border city of Thailand, located approximately 245km from Bangkok. In the past, it was once an important and prosperous community with a long history since the Suvarnabhumi and the Dvaravati Kingdoms, which can be noticed from the group of various remains of ancient monuments and architecture, scattered in the province, as well as artefacts telling the history and glory of the past to the descendants.
Apart from the historical ancient remains worthy for study, Sa Kaeo also possesses abundant natural resources such as the Pang Sida National Park and the Ta Phraya National Park, as well as, the natural canyonlike soil sculpture caused by ground subsidence called "Lalu" with unique characteristics.
At the Thai border in Amphoe Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo is a grand gate opening to Cambodia, connecting international transportation and tourism within one route. Moreover, Rong Kluea Market offers both cheap and second-hand products from various neighbouring countries.
Sa Kaeo is the 74th province of Thailand and was originally a satellite town of Prachin Buri (called Prachim in the past). In 1933, the system of Thesaphiban or administrative circle was abolished and Prachin Buri was uplifted to a province. Therefore, Sa Kaeo became a district in Prachin Buri. It was later separated from the province and officially acclaimed a province on 1st December, 1993.
The history of Sa Kaeo can be traced back for over 4,000 years, starting from the Neolithic – Metal Age with a discovery of artefacts at Ban Khok Makok, Khao Sip Sub-district, Khao Chakan District. In a later period, other antiques were found such as in Aranyaprathet and Ta Phraya Districts, presenting evidence that Sa Kaeo was once an important and prosperous community during the Chenla – Dvaravati Periods with their own civilisation and culture under the kings or rulers who believed in Hinduism, both the Shivaite and Vishnuite sects. It can be observed from the ancient remains and inscriptions in the Pallava script at Prasat Khao Noi, Khao Rang, and Chong Sa Chaeng, etc, especially the Pallava inscription at Prasat Khao Noi, Aranyaprathet District, which has been considered as the oldest piece of evidence discovered in Thailand that states the year of its construction, in approximately the year 637.
Moreover, there were discoveries of evidence reflecting the civilisation during the 10th - 11th century within this area such as various Prasats or sanctuaries made of bricks or stone, ceramic kilns, ancient moats which have left traces until the present time, including 2 inscriptions in Prasat Sdok Kok Thom, estimated to date from the 10th century. This Prasat was constructed to be a religious shrine of the God Shiva as stated in the 1st inscription that in 937, King Jayavarman IV had this inscription placed in this Prasat as an announcement prohibiting servants dedicated to this shrine to serve in other businesses, but only take care and conduct a worshipping ceremony to the Shiva Lingam – a Hindu phallic symbol of creative power – or other sacred images enshrined in this Prasat. On the other hand, the other inscription praised the good deeds of King Udayadityavarman II, who had this ancient sanctuary renovated, as well as, finished an inscription on the civilisation and religion. From the aforementioned inscriptions and remains, the system of administration utilised by the Ancient Khmer Empire over the area can be noticed. Therefore, this province can be considered as intellectual heritage which has been passed on and is valuable for further study.
Sa Kaeo covers a total area of approximately 7,195 square kilometres or 4,496,961 rai.
There are 4 routes to Sa Kaeo as follows:
The Transport Company Limited provides services of both ordinary and air-conditioned buses, leaving the Northeastern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit), on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, and the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) many times a day. It takes 4 hours to Sa Kaeo (3½ hours by taking the Ongkharak route). For further information, contact Tel. 0 2936 2852 – 66 ext: 311, or www.transport.co.th, or the Transport Company Limited (Sa Kaeo Office) on Thetsaban Soi 9/1 Road, Tel. 0 3724 1282, Air Aran Company Limited at Tel. 0 3742 1210.
From Sa Kaeo, there is a bus service to other provinces such as Chanthaburi, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Saraburi, Buri Ram, and Nakhon Ratchasima.
A bus from Chachoengsao, in the neighbouring province, will cost B100. Although it is not that far, the bus will take about 3.5 hours.
The State Railway of Thailand provides a Bangkok – Sa Kaeo – Aranyaphrathet train service 2 times a day. The first one leaves Bangkok at 5.55 a.m. and arrives at Sa Kaeo at 10.32 a.m. and to Aranyaprathet at 11.30 a.m. The second one departs Bangkok at 1.05 p.m. to Sa Kaeo at 5.25 p.m., and to Aranyaprathet at 6.20 p.m. Additionally, there are 2 trains to Bangkok. The first one departs Aranyaprathet at 6.35 a.m. to Sa Kaeo at 7.26 a.m., and to Bangkok at 11.30 a.m., while the second one departs Aranyaprathet at 1.35 p.m. to Sa Kaeo at 2.37 p.m., and to Bangkok at 7.30 p.m. The fare is 48 Baht. For further information, please contact Tel. 0 2223 7010, 0 2220 4334, 1690, or www.railway.co.th, or Sa Kaeo Railway Station at Tel. 0 3726 1217.
This city is really not much more than a strip along the main highway towards the Cambodian border. Pretty well everything is along the roughly 4km strip, and there is not much out to the side within the city. The bus station is about 1Km towards BKK,and after a couple of traffic lights as you turn left from the bus station back onto the main road, you will arrive in the city centre. There are a few tuktuks, but they tend to sit in selected places (bus station and city centre), waiting for fares. There are also motorcycle taxis similarly.
There are a couple of decent restaurants on the right hand side facing Cambodia, close to the laneway to the Travel Hotel, and the street leading to the Tippura Hotel. Right in the city centre. Good food and not expensive. Beer is sold there.
River resort 405 Suwannasorn Rd. 037-421111
On the opposite side of the road,about 100 metres back towards BKK, is the Kavee Hotel (pronounced Ga wee). It looks to be the backpacker choice.