Phanom Rung Historical Park located in Buriram province in northeastern Thailand, is an ancient Khmer temple complex situated on the rim of an extinct volcano.
The northeast region takes up about a third of the overall surface area of the original kingdom of Thailand and is set on the predominantly dry barren Khorat Plateau, which is notable for its distinctive red sandstone and slate formations and extinct volcano's. Buriram, where this site is located sits at the southern end of this plateau.
The Prasat Hin Phanom Rung in Phimai is complex of buildings which were constructed from sandstone and laterite face east towards the original Angkor capital and were built during the Khmer period between the 10th and 12th centuries A.D when Cambodia was predominantly Hindu and was dedicated to the god Shiva.
Between 1971 and 1988 Thailand's Department of Fine Arts conducted a thorough restoration project on the site. At the completion of the restoration the complex was officially opened by the princess of Thailand, Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
This is the largest sandstone Khmer monument remaining in what is now Thailand, and forms the foundation of the Historical Park. The most notable building is a large oblong shaped pagoda which has a single but intricately sculptured prang on its roof.
Attached to the main temple by a impressive walkway which is paved with laterite blocks is the White Elephant House. This is the building where it is believed past kings and members of the royal families would get changed prior to participating in religious rituals. The main temple can be accessed by what would have once been quite a majestic staircase which is located at the front entrance.
Other buildings at this Historical Park are also designed in a similar fashion to the main pagoda and are arranged on the site according to the belief of heaven as relayed by the Hindu god Shiva.
These include at least three brick sanctuaries, one with a sandstone alter, and two other rectangular shaped buildings which are said to have been used as libraries for the kings holy scriptures.
Indeed, stone carvings depicting episodes or tales from the Indian Ramayama including the dancing Shiva can be seen along the lintels within the upper walls of the main pagoda.
However, other beautiful stone carvings and sculptures including thee
naga bridges can also be seen within the tranquil grounds of this site. Due to the historical importance of this site, in 2005 Phanom Rung was submitted to UNESCO as a future world heritage site.
Phanom Rung Historical Park is located in Buriram within northeastern Thailand. You can get there by either plane, bus or train. Thai Airways and Nok Air have daily flights between Bangkok and the airport at Amphoe Satuek (which is located approximately 40 kilometres from the town).
Buses to Buriram also depart daily from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (at Mo Chit on Kamphaengphet 2 Road).
The State Railway of Thailand offers a number of daily services to this province with trains departing Bangkok at the Hualamphong station.
Once are in Buriram you can take a taxi or tuk tuk to travel there. Admission to this site is free and it is open daily to the public between the hours of 9 AM to 4.30 PM.