Flowering Trees of Thailand – Burma Padauk

Burma padauk tree flowers and a bee

Thai Name – Bpra-duu (ประดู่)      Scientific Name – Pterocarpus macrocarpus      Family Name – Fabaceae (Leguminosae)      Flowering Season – March-April      Native to Thailand – Yes      Typical Height – 15-30 meters       The Burma padauk goes from completely green to full of small (about 1.5 centimeters wide) yellow flowers overnight; and reverts back to all green again after only a few days in bloom. The flowers turn into distinctive disc-shaped seeds, which give the tree its scientific name. The genus Pterocarpus… Read More

The Culla-Paduma Jataka

mural painting of Bodhisatta's wife pushing him off the cliff from the Culla-Paduma Jataka in ubosot of Wat Thung Si Muang

One of the Buddha’s disciples, while out on a morning alms round, saw a woman so beautiful he fell in love at first sight. After returning to the monastery, his obsession with her made him depressed and ill and he could no longer concentrate on his studies or meditation. The Buddha told him he should stop thinking about her and then to remind the disciples that all women are ungrateful… Read More

Prang Ku Chaiyaphum Khmer Ruin

Prang Ku Chaiyaphum Khmer ruin

The Bayon-style Prang Ku Chaiyaphum (ปรางค์กู่ ชัยภูมิ) is the most complete Khmer ruin in the province, and a major point of pride for the capital city. It decorates the street signs, the festival honoring it lasts three days, and it’s the city’s main (essentially only) tourist attraction. It was built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) as a Mahayana Buddhist temple for one of the 102 arogayasala (hospitals) that he opened across the… Read More

Ku Ban Nong Ranya Khmer Ruin

Buddha and goddess statues inside Ku Ban Nong Ranya Khmer ruin

No original structures from Ku Ban Nong Ranya (กู่บ้านหนองร้านหญ้า) remain, but in 2017 locals took the old blocks (mostly laterite, but a few sandstone) that had been scattered around the area and stacked them up into four short walls on a concrete base. It’s not a restoration, but it was done in spirit of a Khmer sanctuary. The interior of this shrine holds a Buddha image and a local goddess… Read More

Non Thaen Phra Khmer Ruin

Vishnu and dvarapala statues in shrine at Non Thaen Phra Khmer ruin

There are no ancient structures left at Non Thaen Phra (โนนแท่นพระ) anymore, just a few dozen scattered blocks, mostly laterite, laying around in the dirt plus a few sandstone carvings; and you probably can’t see the later. In or around 1914 a hunter chasing a deer found a Buddha image in the forest here. Later locals uncovered many more ancient artifacts, such as statues, pedestals, pottery, stone grinders, and a… Read More

Prang Ku Ban Nong Faek Khmer Ruin

woman praying in front of main sanctuary of Prang Ku Ban Nong Faek Khmer ruin

Prang Ku Ban Nong Faek (ปรางค์กู่บ้านหนองแฝก) was built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) as a Mahayana Buddhist temple for one of the 102 hospitals (arogayasala) he opened across the empire. All of the structures – the main sanctuary, gopura, bannalai, and enclosure – are built of laterite, with only door and window frames being of sandstone. While none of the structures are complete and the tower is gone, after a recent… Read More

Ku Daeng Khmer Ruin

south side of Ku Daeng Khmer ruin

Ku Daeng (กู่แดง) is a single brick prang with a rather unusual design: it’s cross-shaped with open doorways on all four sides and has a nearly three-meter tall base. The prang collapsed completely, but the laterite base, with stairs on all four sides and deeply redented corners, survived mostly intact. The base’s modern modification is that locals filled in the eastern steps to make a solid wall as a spot… Read More

Prasat Ban Tan Khmer Ruin

blocks of rubble at Prang Ban Tan Khmer ruin

Prasat Ban Tan (ปราสาทบ้านตาล) is a completely collapsed single tower built of sandstone, probably on a laterite base. Its history is unknown, but it could be from the 11th-century, the same time as Phimai. Although it had fallen down on its own, locals say that its current state of total ruin is due to looters pulling down what still stood when they were looking for valuables. One of the things… Read More

Sop Namman Khmer Ruin

yoni at Sop Namman Khmer ruin

Sop Namman (สบน้ำมัน) sits under a giant mango tree far from any village or paved road and it’s the small adventure required to get there, rather than what you find that makes a visit fun. Judging by the large (1.3 x 1.3 meters square) yoni still there, it could have been a fairly large sanctuary. But, other than this, all that remains are 33 scattered sandstone blocks. Nothing is known… Read More

Ku Ban Hua Sa Khmer Ruin

blocks of Ku Ban Hua Sa Khmer ruin

In Thailand there are many Khmer ruins inside villages, but Ku Ban Hua Sa (กู่บ้านหัวสระ) is the first I have visited that is literally in someone’s backyard. Although rather than an actual ruin, it’s just a gathering of various sandstone and laterite blocks, some for building walls and others carved for decorative trim. A few carvings in better condition were removed by the Fine Arts Department for safe keeping. A… Read More

Wat Boon Khmer Ruin

laterite blocks at Wat Boon

Wat Boon (วัดบูรณ์) is known locally for its old (possibly Lan Chang era) brick stupa, which is now covered by a modern one. But, before the Lao came there was a Khmer temple of unknown era and design on this site. There are no Khmer structures remaining, just a few blocks, almost all laterite, which you barely notice since they’re used to line walkways next to the ubosot and stupa.… Read More

Prang Ku Kaeng Sanam Nang Khmer Ruin

Prang Ku Kaeng Sanam Nang (ปรางค์กู่แก้งสนามนาง) was, and kind of still is, a single laterite tower of unknown age. The original temple toppled completely and there was no attempt at reconstruction. What stands now are laterite and sandstone blocks stacked to make three walls for a Buddha image shrine. It’s now open to the north, but the original almost certainly would have faced east, and there’s a doorway to the… Read More

Flowering Trees of Thailand – Silver Trumpet Tree

silver trumpet tree flowers and seed pods

Thai Name – Lueang Breedeeyatawn (เหลืองปรีดียาธร)Scientific Name – Tabebuia aurea (some organizations use Tabebuia caraiba or Tabebuia argentea)Family Name – BignoniaceaeOther English Names – Caribbean trumpet treeFlowering Season – February-AprilNative to Thailand – NoTypical Height – 3-8 meters When a silver trumpet tree is in full bloom the yellow flowers can entirely cover the tree’s crown. From a distance it can look like a golden shower tree, but those flowers… Read More

Flowering Trees of Thailand – Geiger Tree

Geiger tree flowers

Thai Name – Man daeng (หมันแดง) Scientific Name – Cordia sebestena Family Name – Boraginaceae Other English Names – Scarlet Cordia Flowering Season – Year-round, but most abundant March-May Native to Thailand – No Typical Height – 6-9 metersGeiger trees have vivid orange five-centimeter-wide flowers that grow in clusters at the ends of branches. From a distance these clusters look like giant orange balls and give the trees a polka… Read More

Flowering Trees of Thailand – Indian Cork Tree

Indian cork tree flowers

Thai Name – Pip (ปีบ), Gasalawng (กาสะลอง)      Scientific Name – Millingtonia hortensis       Family Name – Bignoniaceae      Other English Names – Tree jasmine      Flowering Season – September-May      Native to Thailand – Yes      Typical Height – 10-20 meters       The Indian cork tree is a tall, typically rather narrow tree with distinctive long (5-10cm) white fragrant flowers that bloom straight out and then later hang down. At a quick glance the flowers appear to have four petals, but it’s… Read More

Flowering Trees of Thailand – Pride of India

Pride of India tree flowers

Thai Name – Intanin Nam (อินทนิลน้ำ)Scientific Name – Lagerstroemia speciosaFamily Name – LythraceaeOther English Names – Crepe Myrtle, Rose of IndiaFlowering Season – March-MayNative to Thailand –YesTypical Height – 10-20 meters A very common street-side ornamental tree in Thailand, the Pride of India is unmistakable when it’s flowering. It has long (up to 40cm) pointy flower clusters ranging purple to pink; in Thailand they’re frequently a pale lavender. The distinctive cluster shape makes… Read More

Flowering Trees of Thailand – Rain Tree

rain tree flowers

Thai Name – Jamjuri (จามจุรี)      Scientific Name – Albizia saman (some organizations continue to use the former Samanea saman)      Family Name – Fabaceae (Leguminosae)      Other English Names – Monkey Pod      Flowering Season – February-May and September-November      Native to Thailand – No      Typical Height – 15-30 meters       Rain trees are very common in Thailand and are easily identified by their wide umbrella-shaped crowns supported by massive branches. Their unique flowers look like little pink and white brooms… Read More

Wat That Khon Kaen

cloister around the stupa at Wat That

While Wat Nong Wang is Khon Kaen’s largest and most interesting temple, and the city’s only must-see attraction, Wat That (วัดธาตุ) at the other end of Bueng Kaen Nakhon lake is also worth visiting. Its soaring stupa and ubosot, which make a beautiful backdrop to views from across the lake, are frequently described by travel writers as classic Isan/Lao design, but both are actually Central Thai style. Wat That was founded in… Read More

Flowering Trees of Thailand – Golden Shower Tree

golden shower tree flower

Thai Name – Ratchaphruek (ราชพฤกษ์), Khuen (คูน)      Scientific Name – Cassia fistula      Family Name – Fabaceae (Leguminosae)      Flowering Season – March-May      Native to Thailand – Yes      Typical Height – 8-12 meters       The golden shower tree is one of the most popular decorative trees in Thailand due to its massive hanging flower clusters that grow 30-50cm long and up to 7cm wide. At peak bloom you can barely see any green leaves. From a distances it… Read More

Wat Phra Phai Luang Khmer Ruin

pediment on north tower of Wat Phra Phai Luang Khmer ruin

The largest of the three Khmer-era temples still standing at Sukhothai, Wat Phra Phai Luang (วัดพระพายหลวง) lies north of the old city walls, about 700 meters east of Wat Si Chum’s iconic giant Buddha image. It was built in the early 13th century by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) and this area appears to have been at the core of the Khmer city; it would have remained so for the… Read More

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