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Visit to Khmer (Cambodian) temples in north eastern Thailand
February 2003

There are many ruins or remains of ancient Khmer (Cambodian) temples (or wats) across Thailand especially in the north eastern part.

Korat is roughly 259 km from Bangkok and there are several buses as well as trains running between the two places. If you drive your own car it would take about 4 hours.

Prasat Phanom Wan
Korat to Prasat Phanom Wan is only 20 km. Follow the highway no. 2 to the north-east for 15 km and take a right turn into a marked road which takes you another 5 km to this ruins of ancient Khmer architectural work piece.

Although most of it is in ruins the square main pagoda, multi-tiered pagoda, and the path linking the two structures are still in good shape. It is believed that this temple was built in the 15th Buddhist century (10 - 11th century current calendar). According to the inscriptions found at the site the sanctuary was used in the Hindu religion and later became a Buddhist site.

The naga bridge and the outer wall with the main porch Prasat Hin Phimai
Prasat Hin Phimai is located on the same highway no. 2. Compared to the first it is a popular tourist site. To reach to Prasat Hin Phimai, track back to the highway no. 2 and drive further north-east for 20 km. You will see a sign and a right turn road that will take you 10 km to the temple.

At the entrance is a Naga bridge. There are two stone lion figures sitting on both sides at the front porch. There are 4 entering porches to the sanctuary which is around 565 meters x 1030 meters. Above each porch is a lintel of various designs. A little strange thing is that this sanctuary faces south while the others usually face east.

Photo of main tower taken from inside the inner wall at a porch After passing the outer area of the sanctuary enter the inner area through one of the four porchways on the inner wall. The main tower in the center is made of white sandstone while porches and walls are made of red sandstone. The main tower is 28 meters high with a square base, a portico, stairways, and doors in all 4 directions.

According to the curvings on the stone bricks, the tower was said to be built at the end of 17th Buddhist century (11 - 12th century current calendar). These curvings are of two styles: Baphoun (1007 - 1107) and Angkor Wat (1107 - 1157). They show the stories of Hindu and Buddha.

One of the best times to visit is in the late afternoon time during the low tourist season. You will have a quiet and cool atmosphere. At the end of the tour find a place to sit and ponder.

Prasat Hin Phimai is opened daily from 0730hrs to 1800hrs. The entry fee is 40 Thai Baht each for foreigners and 10 Thai Baht each for Thais. Phimai National Musuem is located across the road. There are ancient instruments on show. The museum is opened daily from 0900hrs to 1600hrs. The entry fee for foreigners is 30 Thai Baht each, and 10 Thai Baht each for Thais.

Prasat Phnom Wan and Prasat Hin Phimai | Prasat Phnom Rung and Prasat Muang Tam | Location map of Khmer temples | Prasat Phnom Rung plan view | Prasat Muang Tam plan view

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