One of the best parts about exploring Thailand is you get to experience its mesmerising culture up close and personal. Its Buddhist leanings are prominent right across the nation, giving you a fascinating insight into what makes Thailand tick as a Kingdom. If you are exploring the northeast of Thailand in and around the Laos border and want to visit a highly recommended Buddhist site, check out the serene Phanom Rung Historical Park.
Phanom Rung (aka Phanomrung) is one of the most famous and popular Khmer style temples in this part of Thailand and is impressive in every way. The temple was first constructed back in the time between the 10th and 13th centuries and originally built as a Hindu Temple that gives its dedication to the god Shiva.
Beautiful Thailand Temple
Phanom Rung (or Phanomrung) is also known locally as Prasat Hin Phanom Rung and located on top of a hill in the heart of Buriram Province. The complex located on the base of another Khmer style temple complex called Muang Tum, which coincidently built at approximately the same time.
The temple’s location on the hill was to symbolise Mount Kailash, which is one of the holiest mountains in Hindu culture and supposedly the place where Shiva lived. The temple is situated directly on an ancient route from Angkor in Cambodia, which was once a mainstay for the Khmer empire.
Visiting Phanom Rung Temple
To visit the temple, you enter the site and walk along a 160-meter long walkway that leads directly to the central tower. The aerial views on your way to the temple are beautiful. Make sure you get some photos. Crossing a Nagas inspired bridge will lead you to a stairway to the central tower of the temple. Just for your information, the Nagas bridge symbolises the passage from the mortal world to a godlier dimension.
Once inside the inner sanctum of the temple, you will find lots of Hindu inspired carvings and decorations that are aimed to appease the Hindu gods, Vishnu and Shiva. On the walls, you can see inscriptions and pictures of the epic scenes of Ramayana.
The main tower is 23 meters in height and is 9-meters wide and crafted from pink sandstone. The tower is supposed to signify the Hindu centre of the universe that is named Mount Meru.
Flanking the main tower, you will find two smaller towers that date back to the 10th and 11th century such is the ancient history of this complex. Here you will also encounter two Hindu libraries with lots of old Hindu scriptures.
UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Future?
Quite surprisingly, Phanom Rung is not yet a UNESCO World Heritage site, but it might be in the future. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Thai Fine Arts Department did a fantastic job restoring this old and ancient temple. The site submitted to UNESCO for their consideration, but at the time of writing has still not won a place with UNESCO.
Visit the Phanom Run Festival
If you want to experience the temple in full swing, we would recommend that you visit during the Thai New Year festivities on 13th April. On this exact date, light from the sun shines through 15 portals around the temple that does conjure up a magical atmosphere that has to seen to believed.
On the 13th April, you can also enjoy lots of ceremonies and traditional dances that pay homage to the gods on this auspicious date. The festival ends with fireworks and light shows and is a fascinating experience.
Directions to Phanom Rung
If you are looking to visit Phanom Rung, this ancient site located in Buriram in the northeastern regions of Thailand. The temple is situated 50km from Buriram to the south and can easily access via a bus or taxi from the city. If you are staying in a Buriram hotel, they will be able to organise a taxi for you.
The park is open every day from 6 am to 6 pm and is 100 THB per person if you are Thai. If you are visiting on holiday, we would recommend you visit on weekdays because it can get hectic at the weekend.
Map & More
Phanom Rung Historical Park
Address: Ta Pek, Chaloem Phra Kiat District, Buri Ram 31110, Thailand
GPS: 14.532375, 102.942765