This week’s 5 photos are from the overnight trip I took to the north eastern province of Buriram. I started my excursion by taking a six-hour bus ride from Bangkok to Buri Ram city. The city offers little except for being a starting point for anyone interested in exploring the surrounding Khmer Empire ruins. There are reportedly more than 140 sites to visit but for the sake of time I decided on limiting myself to Phanom Rung and Meuang Tam.
Built between the 10th and 13th century, Phanom Rung is the larger and more interesting of the two temples. Symbolically located on top an extinct volcano the temple offers a fantastic view of the surrounding farmland in both Thailand and neighboring Cambodia. Dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, the Khmers chose to build the temple on the volcano because the Hindu belief that Shiva’s lives on the peak of the remote Himalayan Mount Kailash. Even though there is roughly 20,000 ft in difference of elevation between Kailash and Phanom Rung you have to give it to the Khmers for working with what was available.
While smaller in size and lacking a panoramic view, Meuang Tam is a worthwhile 5 km side trip from Phanom Rung. A dry moat surrounding the outside complex and five central temples in different stages of collapse tell of better days. However the restoration is tasteful even if the explanations of the different buildings are missing.
The best way to visit the Phanom Rung and the surrounding ruins is to arrange a car and driver to take you from Buriram. There is a foreigner in Buriram who can help arrange transportation, but you can do the same through your hotel with a little bit of language, a lot of patients and a good Thai friend.