prasat phnom rung, buriram, northeastern thailand

Prasat Phanom Rung – a little-known gem in Buriram, northeastern Thailand

Prasat Phanom Rung – a little-known gem in Buriram, northeastern Thailand

400+km north of Bangkok in Buriram Province lies the historical Kmer site of Prasat Phanom Rung.  Prasat Phanom Rung is a Khmer temple complex set on the rim of an extinct volcano at 402 metres (1,319 ft) above sea-level in Buriram (Issan) northeastern Thailand. The temple was built of sandstone and laterite in the 10th to 13th centuries by the Khmer who reached into Thailand a thousand years ago to expand their mighty empire. Prasat Phanom Rung is a Hindu shrine dedicated to Shiva, and symbolises Mount Kailash (in the Gangdisê Mountains in Tibet), Shiva’s heavenly dwelling.

The road to Prasat Phanom Rung is a narrow road that gradually winds up the mountain/volcano until you eventually arrive at a large carpark, just down from the temple complex itself. From the top of the mountain you can look across the vast rice paddies all the way to Donrek Mountains of Cambodia in the distance.

Dongrek Mountains, Cambodia

In 1971 Thailand’s Department of Fine Arts started a  17-year project to restore the complex to its original state after years of plunder and neglect. On 21 May 1988, the park was officially opened to the publc by Princess Maha Chakr Sirindhorn.

Inscriptions in the area indicate that Prasat Phanom Rung was created by ‘Narendraditya’, a descendant of the ‘Mahidharapura dynasty’ related to ‘King Suryavarman II’, the creator of ‘Angkor Wat.’ If you want to see intricate, authentic Khmer architecture but can’t or don’t want to go to Cambodia, then Buriram is the place to head for. Buriram is still somewhat off the tourist trail and offers a glimpse of the real Thailand. Easily accessible by car or bus, the Town of Nang Rong is the closest town to the Complex of Prasat Phnom Rung and it offers decent hotels and guesthouses where you can rest up after a long days drive before you head off for a day of sightseeing the following morning.

Buriram City is only about an hour away from Prasat Phanom Rung and offers a better class of hotel to those who prefer a bit more luxury

Young Buddhist Monks
visiting Prasat Phnom Rung,
Buriram, northeastern Thailand

There are actually two Khmer sites in this area – Prasat Phanom Rung sits at the top of the mountain /volcano, and its sister site, Muang Tam, sits at the bottom. Both sites are a good way to spend a relaxing and interesting day  and are well worth the effort of getting there. The best time to visit to avoid the Thai crowds  are weekdays.

prasat phnom rung muang tam, buriram, northeastern Thailand
prasat phnom rung muang tam, buriram, northeastern Thailand
prasat phnom rung muang tam, buriram, northeastern Thailand
prasat phnom rung muang tam, buriram, northeastern Thailand

If you do happen it to make it Buriram to see Prasat Phanom Rung & Prasat Muang Tam, then you might be lucky enough to take in a Home ‘Buriram United’ game at the another revered Temple – the iMobile Stadium in Buriram City. Buriram United are one of Thailand’s top teams and the amazing fans make every game an occasion. A Buriram United game is a must see activity if you are lucky enough to be in the vicinity at the time any are getting played.
for Buriram hotels see here

Buriran United, Thunder Castle
Buriran United, Thunder Castle

Prasat Phanom and Prasat Muang Tam Gallery

‘Have you ever thought about starting up your own blog? see my blog post here


Prasat Phnom Rung, Buriram, Thailand
Prasat Phnom Rung, Buriram, Thailand


‘In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.’

Web Hosting

Copyright © 2017 Raymond Carroll

50 thoughts on “Prasat Phanom Rung – a little-known gem in Buriram, northeastern Thailand”

  1. Beautiful architecture and stone carving details on the temple buildings. It is an added bonus to see the signs also available in English. What a treat that you avoided any crowds.

  2. I am building a bank of ‘lesser visited’ destinations in Thailand and this looks like a great place to start! I love the old buildings. So interesting to see how they have lasted over the years.

  3. I had no idea the Khmer people had reached Thailand or that there were Khmer temples in the north-east. The details and carvings on the buildings are so intricate and very beautiful.

  4. It’s pretty amazing how far the influence reaches by area. Being Khmer temples, I’m sure it would be commonly attributed to only being in Cambodia. A lot of people would probably be very surprised to find Khmer ruins all the way in Thailand. The detail and scale is impressive like all the other temples. Definitely a great opportunity for those in Thailand if not heading to Cambodia.

  5. Beautiful architectural details and style i=the way these temples are temple. We are looking for places in Thailand which is not very crowded and has bit of history and this is a perfect spot to visit! 🙂

  6. I’m visiting Angkor War next month and this is kind of what I pictured Angkor Wat to look like. Great photos of the little buddhist monks. I have always wanted the opportunity to have a conversation with a buddhist monk – perhaps one who is “retired” and not committed to his vow of silence. Super cool.

    1. Prasat Phnom Rung is like mini version of Angkor Wat. I’ve only ever been in Cambodia doing visa runs from Thailand but would love to visit Angkor Wat one day. If you can’t get talking to a Buddhist monk then you might have more luck with a Buddhist nun, although not really sure how that works either. Anyway, thanks for commenting and hope you have a blast in Cambodia. Good Luck and safe travels!

  7. Thailand has always been one of the countries that’s on my list to visit. I’m planning to visit before th year ends, and your photos makes me more giddy to do so. Haha! Thanks for sharing a lot photos that made want to visit Thailand more. 🙂

  8. Such an interesting post! I feel like we hear so much about Angkor Wat that all these other beautiful temples go under the radar. Thanks for giving it some exposure! haha 😀

  9. Definitely a little out of the way gem and doesn’t look touristy. Would love to explore here and learn all the history. Thanks for taking great pictures too! Hope to visit one day.

    1. Hi Shona, Expats make visa runs from Buriram to the Chong Chom / Osmach Border in Surin Province into Cambodia. Buriram to Surin border is about 1.5 hours. 30 0r 40 minutes in and out of Cambodia for visa stamps etc., and then back onto the bus – you should do a round trip in around 4 to 5 hrs. Most people that make this trip, however, live in Buriram. What you could do is a wee Issan tour – taking in Prasat Phanom Rung and a few other notable northeastern attractions before heading for Nong Khai on the Mekong River and crossing into Laos for a visa. Nong Kai is a lovely wee town if you haven’t already been there. Hope this info helps.

      PS You should always check that the border crossing that you are headed for are issuing the visa that you require, as oftentimes border crossings issue some visas and not others at a moments notice. Good Luck!

  10. We are visiting Thailand/Cambodia within the next couple of months so this is a perfectly timed post. I have never heard of Phanom Rung but it’s definitely on my radar now and a place that we will visit so thank you for bringing this to our attention and sharing all of this fabulous information. #feetdotravel

  11. What an interesting place to visit. I’ve visited a few old temples and would love to check this one out. There’s still so much of Thailand that I’ve got to see.

  12. Prasat Phanom Rung is indeed fascinating. It is like getting a slice of Angkor Wat in Thailand. It is an unknown gem, we missed it on our trip to Thailand. Hope to make it next time around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *