Saphan Hin

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Saphan Hin
Native Nameสะพานหิน, សាផានហ៊ិន
Alternative nameSapan Khom, Saphan Khom
TypeAncient Bridge
Part ofMuang Boran Sakon Nakhon
CommuneThat Choeng Chum
DistrictMuang Sakon Nakhon
ProvinceSakon Nakhon
Coordinates17.17008, 104.14010
Founded12th Century
BuilderJayavarmn VII (?)
Year/s RestoredVarious

T47004 Saphan Hin 1.jpg
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Site Size & Condition: Ancient Bridge Saphan Hin (สะพานหิน - Pronounced: Sa-paan Hin)

Located just northwest of present-day Sakon Nakhon city centre, Saphan Hin, (or Saphan Khom) is famous for being the only known Khmer bridge in Thailand. It has been pointed out that since the bridge supports are single pillars rather than arches it doesn't fit the standard Angkorian bridge design and should be considered a causeway rather than a true bridge but we feel these minor details are unimportant.

The structure clearly spanned a stream or swampy area and is located on what was the start of the ancient route connecting the important regional centres of present-day Udon Thani and Sakon Nakhon. Indeed Nittayo Road, which leads into Highway 22 and today links these destinations, was actually diverted during extension work in order to avoid the bridge, so today it sits in a narrow strip of parkland squeezed between the 2 southern and 2 northern lanes of said highway.

The intact laterite structure has seen considerable renovation and the bottom course of laterite blocks, supported by the aforementioned columns, has since been replaced by a supporting layer of concrete. After centuries of siltation, this bottom layer is today barely visible although the bridge supports are estimated to be some 2m to 3m in height. The steps at each end of the bridge are also a recent addition.

Quite how remote Sakon Nakhon came to be the proud owner of Thailand's only Angkorian bridge is a mystery but it does add emphasis to the importance of the ancient city as a late Angkorian regional centre.

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Description and photos from the Tim's Thailand website



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