Free Font Alternatives to Times New Roman for Commercial Use

four side-by-side font samples

While most graphic designers hate Times New Roman because they consider it dull and dated, a lot of readers and writers love its simplicity and readability. Whether you’re publishing a 300,000-page book or need to fit a lot of information into a tri-fold brochure, sometimes a project calls for a classy but compact font. But, despite its ubiquity, Times New Roman is copyrighted. In most instances, if you are using… Read More

Ku Ban Moei Khmer Ruin

side view of site

Ku Ban Moei (กู่บ้านเมย) is an 11th-century temple with a two-meter-tall, east-facing laterite platform. While this platform is completely intact following a 2011 restoration by the Fine Arts Department, nothing of the three brick towers assumed to have once been perched atop it remains in place, though there is a shallow depression on each end and a couple of postholes. A replica (except, apparently, for the steps, which seem to… Read More

Ku Ban Ya Kha Khmer Ruin

front view of shrine

Ku Ban Ya Kha (กู่บ้านหญ้าคา) consists of just a few dozen laterite blocks piled into a shrine. But it’s revered by many locals, who have built a roof over it and strung barbed wire to keep buffalo out. There isn’t enough to go on to estimate an age other than anywhere from the 10th to 13th centuries. While there is no indication of who the Khmer built it for, the… Read More

Thailand’s Deer

Male sambar deer

Five species of deer reside in Thailand, though only three are likely to be encountered since the other two are very rare. Thailand also has three species of “mouse-deer” (aka chevrotain), but despite this name, mouse deer are not actually deer, and they do not have antlers. Two common features of all five deer species are their facial scent glands and white fur on the undersides of their tales. The… Read More

Pat Mee Khorat

pat mee khoart

Common in its namesake province, and rare everywhere else, most Thais have heard of pat mee khorat (ผัดหมี่โคราช), but few have ever eaten it. It’s a spicy stir-fried rice noodle dish often compared to pat thai. Popularized during a period of nationalism and rice shortages in the 1930s and 40s, pat thai’s origin story is widely told, though not well documented. (Just who created pat thai and when is a… Read More

Phu Pha Phueng Ancient Quarry

blocks in quarry

On the edge of the Phu Phan Mountains 23km from Sakon Nakhon City, the Phu Pha Phueng Ancient Quarry (แหล่งหินตัดภูผาผึ้ง) is assumed to have provided most of the sandstone for the Khmer temples built in the city and around Nong Han lake. While the Doi Hin Ngam quarry west of the city is much closer, rock from Phu Pha Phueng could be easily rafted down the nearby Nam Phung River… Read More

Phra That Narai Jeng Weng Khmer Ruin

side view (southeast) of the temple

Sakon Nakhon was a key Khmer outpost in the far north of the empire from the late 10th to early 13th centuries. And while Phra That Choeng Chum (You can read a little more information about Sakon Nakhon’s Khmer history there.) was the city’s principle temple for much, if not all of that time, Phra That Narai Jeng Weng (พระธาตุนารายณ์เจงเวง), built in Baphuon style in the 11th century, likely by… Read More

Wat Pa Eo Kan Khmer Ruin

two laterite blocks at the base of a Phra Siwali statue

This stretch of shore on the southeast end of Nong Han lake was settled since at least the Dvaravati period and once featured a Khmer temple, though very little of it remains. The Wat Pa Eo Kan Ancient Site (แหล่งโบราณคดีวัดป่าเอวขันธ์), as it’s usually called, sits at the heart of its namesake modern temple, and a large, open-air wihan was built right on top of the toppled ruins, meaning the site… Read More

Phra That Choeng Chum Khmer Ruin

closeup of the inscription

The Khmer city that preceded present-day Sakon Nakhon appears to have been the empire’s most important outpost north of the Phu Phan Mountains (Though it was probably not under direct rule from Angkor, rather the leaders paid tribute as a satellite state while retaining a degree of independence.) from around the late 10th century into the 13th; no doubt in large part because the 125-square-kilometer Nong Han lake assured abundant… Read More

Khmer Artefacts in the Sakon Nakhon Museum

five Khmer bottles

The little Sakon Nakhon Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์เมืองสกลนคร) at Rajabhat University has a collection of local art and artefacts from the prehistoric to the present, including several items uncovered at Phra That Choeng Chum. The museum is on the second floor. It’s not normally open, so you need to first stop in the little library next to the museum (in the building’s northeast corner) to get someone to open it. As of… Read More

Phra That Dum Khmer Ruin

lotus-bud tops and pillars

The oldest of the three Khmer temples still standing in Sakon Nakhon city (Phra That Choeng Chum and Phra That Narai Jeng Weng being the others), Phra That Dum (พระธาตุดุม) is a triple-towered temple probably built in the late 10th or early 11th century. It faces east and has been incorporated into the modern Thai temple here by building the wihan directly in front of it. Only the main prang… Read More

Prang Ku Kaew Khmer Ruin

prang tower

Set in a small grove of tall trees, Prang Ku Kaew (ปรางค์กู่แก้ว) is one of the arogayasala hospital temples built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219). It faces east and follows the standard arogayasala design, although nothing remains of the bannalai, which would have been inside the enclosure, and the sacred pond, which would have sat outside it to the northeast. The laterite prang toppled, and in its place locals… Read More

Sapan Khom Khmer Bridge

view of Khmer bridge in park

Sapan Khom (สะพานขอม), literally meaning “Khmer bridge,” is the only Khmer bridge that has been found in Thailand. It’s a restored 16m-long, 3m-wide remnant of what back then sat just outside the city moat. It was part of a road heading northwest toward Udon Thani and surely passed right by Phra That Narai Jeng Weng and Ku Phanna, plus provided access via a side road to Phra That Phu Phek.… Read More

Proverb Murals at Wat Nong Wang

people doing different things

อ่านภาษาไทยที่นี่ (Click here to read a Thai version.) The fifth-floor murals inside Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon stupa at Wat Nong Wang temple tell forty Isan proverbs about living a happy, successful, and moral life that monks sometimes mention in their sermons. Many of these English sentences are clunky, but they read more poetically in the original Isan. Explanations are given when needed, though a few are self-explanatory. Many of them… Read More

Khon Kaen City Bike Routes

map showing a bike route

If you were to be plopped right down in the middle of Khon Kaen you would never guess what a great city it is for cycling. You don’t need to ride very far to leave the busy main roads behind and find quiet low-traffic realms with rice paddies and villages. All four routes (really, it’s eight since each has a long and short option – the purple line is the… Read More

How Sumana-Setthi Was Converted To Buddhism By A Toothbrush And A Prostitute

historic painting from India of man plowing field with two oxen

A little-known peripheral figure in the Buddha’s life story, Sumana-Setthi’s (สุมนะเศรษฐี) conversion is one of many great folktales in ancient Buddhist texts. This one is found in the non-canonical Dhammapadatthakatha, the commentary on the Dhammapada book of the Pali Canon. My version here is abridged and, I think, improved from the original. Once he became a Buddhist, Sumana was an ardent supporter of the Buddha. And because of the vast… Read More

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