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Two days and one night in the spectacular Khmer ruins town of Buri Ram

5 June 2021
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Two days and one night in the spectacular Khmer ruins town of Buri Ram

Day 1
– City Pillar Shrine
– PhukaoFai Kradong Non-Hunting Area
– Buri Ram Castle
– Wat Pha Khao Noi
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Day 2
– Huai Chorakhae Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
– Phanom Rung Historical Park
– Mueang Tam Stone Sanctuary

 

For auspiciousness, our trip starts at the City Pillar shrine, an impressive edifice, which visitors can tell even at just first glance that they are already in Buri Ram. The present Shrine was built to replace the dilapidated previous one.
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It was designed by the Fine Arts Department using Phanom Rung Stone Temple as its archetype to highlight the province’s unique cultural heritage.

The Shrine houses two city pillars. It is believed that the leaning one is the original pillar erected during the Thon Buri period, while the other pillar was built during the reign of King Rama V the Great when Buri Ram’s administrative status was elevated to that of a province.
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Locals and passersby alike constantly pay a visit to worship the Shrine every day.
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Buri Ram City Pillar Shrine
Mueang District, Buri Ram
Open daily from 08:00-17:00 hrs.

Our next destination is PhukaoFai Kradong Non-Hunting Area, which also features 1 of at least 8 extinct volcanoes of the province.
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Khao Kradong is 265 metres above mean sea level with a visible crater.
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The mountain was formerly called Phanom Kradong, a turtle shell mountain. Phanom is Khmer language meaning mountain while Kradong refers to a turtle shell.

A suspension bridge aptly named “lava bridge” spanning across the crater presents an Instagramable photo opportunity, while also offering a bird’s-eye view of the area below.

Other points of interest on the mountaintop include the Buddha image “Phra Suphattharabophit”, Khao Kradong ruins, and a replica of the Buddha’s footprint.
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Reaching the mountain could be made by either ascending the 297 steps of the “Nagaraja Ladder” or driving to park at the viewpoint and the Buddha image site.
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The Khao Kradong Festival, is an annual event held on the full moon day of the 5th lunar month (April).
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PhukaoFai Kradong Non-Hunting Area
Tambon Samet, Mueang District, Buri Ram
Open daily from 06:00-18:00 hrs., free admission

Nestled between the Chang Arena Stadium and Chang International Circuit, Bui Ram Castle is a contemporary landmark of the province. The layout of this large scale community mall has been inspired by the villages surrounding the Khmer sanctuaries in the past.

There is also a replica of the famed Phanom Rung Stone Sanctuary. 

This version of Phanom Rung is meant to serve as a showpiece of the mall. And at night, it is also well-lit creating a spectacular scene for visitors.
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The entire space of the mall is divided into various zones; such as, public parks, restaurants and souvenir shops.
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On Saturdays and Sundays between 15:00-21:00 Hrs., an “Indy Market” featuring a variety of food and merchandise stalls among others is organised within the mall’s grounds.
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Buri Ram Castle
Tambon Isan, Mueang District, Buri Ram
Open daily from 10:00-21:00 hrs., free admission

We conclude the first day at the peaceful Wat Pa Khao Noi, a Buddhist forest temple in the tradition of the venerable late monk Luangpu Mun Bhuridatta.
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Once inside the temple ground stands an impressive pagoda in the Khmer style reflecting the cultural heritage of the Lower Northeast. It is enshrined with the Buddha’s relics and those of the former abbot.
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The temple is very popular among devotees who are keen to perform Vipassana meditation during Buddhist holidays.
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Wat Pa Khao Noi
Tambon Samet, Mueang District, Buri, Ram
Open daily from 06:00-18:00 Hrs.

Our second day begins at Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area, where Thai cranes (Eastern Sarus), can be spotted.
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This non-hunting area was originally a natural water source before being developed into a proper reservoir with an embankment in 1975.

It is vast low-lying lands and open pastures surrounded by rice fields, which have attracted a myriad of bird species; such as, storks, herons and teals.

This particular non-hunting area has been designated a preservation centre for Thai crane species, which were once believed to have become extinct from their natural habitats. However, the Zoological Park Organisation under the Royal Patronage and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation in cooperation with the concerned agencies were able to find a pair of Thai cranes for breeding in captivity. And the birds were eventually released into the wetlands of Buri Ram. 

Nowadays, some of the those released birds have been successfully adapting to and breeding in their natural habitats, which has helped return the endangered Thai cranes back to the wild once again.
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This conservation has made available a route of sighting spots for bird watching, as well as information for visitors. For the best sighting experience, the recommended times are 06:00-09:00 Hrs., and 15:00-18:00 Hrs.
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In addition, the Non-hunting Area is also a popular place of recreation for many local residents and those from surrounding provinces who usually come to exercise, ride bicycles, run and jog.
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Huai Chorakjae Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
Tambon Ban Bua, Mueang District, Buri Ram
Open daily from 06:00-18:00 Hrs.

Phanom Rung Historical Park is a must-visit when you’re in Buri Ram. It is strategically located on an extinct volcano of some 350-metres elevation above mean sea level. 

The word Phanom Rung or Wanarung means a massive mountain in Khmer language. It has been written down in a stone inscription found at the Khmer temple ruins, whose founder has also been declared as “Narendraditya”, a royal relative of Angkor Wat creator King Suryavarman II.
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Phanom Rung temple was originally dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, the supreme deity within Hinduism. The Phanom Rung Mountain with its temple complex represents Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva and also symbolises the centre of the universe. However, during the reign of King Jayarvarman VII, the Hindu temple was converted into a Buddhist place of worship in the Mahayana tradition. 

The principal part of the complex is believed to have been built in the 17th century BE (around 12th century CE), employing pink sandstone as the material. 

The central sanctum, having a square layout with 3 verandas, features a room deified with a Lingam, a representation of Lord Shiva. 

The gate on the eastside is embellished with the country’s most famous lintel known in Thai as “Thap Lang Narai Banthomsin”, depicting the God Narayana sleeping on the serpent Shesha in the middle of the milky ocean.
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Phanom Rung Historical Park
Tambon Ta Pek, Chalerm Phra Kiat District, Buri Ram
Open daily from 06:00-18:00 Hrs.

The aesthetically pleasing Mueang Tum Stone Sanctuary sees the conclusion of our grand tour of Buri Ram.

Although there are no records of its history, the architectural form could be attributed to the Baphuon style of the Khmer Empire in the 16th century BE. A lingam and statue of the Goddess Uma found within the Sanctuary’s grounds indicate the influence of Hinduism.

The complex consists of 5 brick towers built on the same laterite stone foundation with the principal tower still in a state of complete ruin.
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Of the remaining 4 minor towers, only 2 still maintain their exquisitely carved lintels above the entrance frame. The one depicting the God Shiva and Goddess Uma on a Nandi cow is at the tower of the north side, front row; and the one with the God Varuna on a swan is at the tower of the south side, back row. 

A sandstone ground between the inner and outer walls lie water ponds along the 4 corners. Each pond is adorned with a 5-headed Naga sans headdress, unlike the mythical serpent in other monuments of the country.
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Prasat Hin Mueang Tam
Tambon Chorakhe Mak, Prakhon Chai District, Buri Ram
Open daily from 06:00-18:00 Hrs.

 

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