Phra Lan Chai Archaeological Site

wide view of shrine

Never excavated, little is known about Phra Lan Chai Archaeological Site (แหล่งโบราณคดีพระลานชัย), though the mix of laterite and sandstone along with the apparent size suggest the possibility it was a Khmer temple. When I asked about it in the village I was sent to an old man who told me that the local legend, which he heard when he was young, is that it was used for worship during late… Read More

Maha Sarakham’s Many Museums

display cases with mushrooms

Maha Sarakham city is never going to become a top tourist destination, but if you do find yourself here, there’s an abundance of museums that can keep you occupied. None are worth a special trip – in fact, several are so small they hardly qualify as museums – but each has its own appeal. Boon Tam Tan Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์บุญตามทัน) This small private museum on the southern outskirts of the city… Read More

Khmer Artifacts in the Wat Mahachai Northeastern Local Culture Museum

five broken Khmer statues

In 1964 Dr. Phra Ariyanuwat Khemacharee, the former abbot of Wat Mahachai, saw foreigners coming to Isan to buy ancient artifacts – Buddhas, Khmer stone carvings palm-leaf manuscripts, etc. – so he requested people bring these things to the temple to protect them. Later the two-story Northeastern Local Culture Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์วัฒนธรรมท้องถิ่นภาคตะวันออกเฉียงเหนือ วัดมหาชัย) was built to house the diverse collection that had resulted, including a lot of Khmer-era sandstone statues and… Read More

Ku Khu Khat Khmer Ruin

bricks under a tree

At first glance, all you’ll see of Ku Khu Khat (กู่คูขาด) is a large Buddha on a small, tree covered hill. But get closer and you’ll find that the hill is a pile of laterite blocks and brick covered almost completely by dirt and leaf debris. Some laterite is still visible and a few bricks can be seen sticking out of two places under the big tree. Just enough rubble… Read More

Ku Buamat Khmer Ruin

central tower and library of Ku Buamat Khmer ruin

Ku Buamat (กู่บัวมาศ) is in pretty bad condition overall, with no complete structures remaining, but there’s enough left to give an overall idea of how it used to be. And, surrounded by rice fields, it’s a peaceful place. Possibly built in the 11th century and later modified, it now has the bottom two meters of a single brick tower, although maybe there either were, or were going to be two… Read More

Ku Mithila Khmer Ruin

shrine made form laterite of Ku Mithila Khmer ruin

The few laterite blocks from Ku Mithila (กู่มิถิลา) that remain, with the addition of some new laterite, have been used to construct a small modern shrine. At its core is an old (though after the Khmer era) Buddha statue in subduing Mara posture carved from laterite. Around it are laterite statues of Rahu, Brahma, Mae Thoranee, and one that can’t be identified, but could be Phra Malai. Although they’re not… Read More

Ku Sampan Ka Khmer Ruin

Ku Sampan Ka Khmer ruin

The monks of Wat Khok Ku have transformed what little remains of the original Ku Sampan Ka (กู่สัมพันธ์ค่า) Khmer temple into a small sacred area. They dug a square-shaped pit into the ground, lined it with the few dozen remaining laterite blocks that had been lying around the grounds, and hung a blue PVC pipe for pouring water over Buddha images during Songkran, the Thai New Year. It sits right… Read More

Ku Ban Daeng Khmer Ruin

back of Ku Ban Daeng Khmer ruin

Ku Ban Daeng (กู่บ้านแดง) is a small Mahayana Buddhist temple that appears to be from the reign of Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) in the early 13th century. The only structure remaining is the central sanctuary, which has three laterite towers on a single base. None of them have their tops any more, though the middle tower is still used as a shrine; the yoni and Buddha statue are both modern creations. Several… Read More

Ku Sunthararam Khmer Ruin

Back of large Buddha surrounded by laterite enclosure at Ku Sunthararam Khmer Ruin

The laterite enclosure around Ku Sunthararam (กู่สุนทราราม) is nearly complete, which isn’t often the case in Thailand, but that’s the only Khmer era structure visible here. Concrete fills in some gaps in the wall, but it has aged so much that it’s not immediately noticeable. In 1956 a 29m-tall Buddha statue was built over what remained of the toppled laterite tower(s) and there’s a big modern arched gate in typical… Read More

The Buddha Nearing Death at Wat Yang Tuang Wararam

close up of buddha vomiting on mural painting at wat yang tuang wararam

The Buddha died of dysentery after eating his final meal. Specifically what that meal was is unknown, but the traditional account says it was spoiled pork. Some people (including many Westerners who are uncomfortable with the idea of the Buddha eating meat, even though his meat eating and his explicit rejection of requiring monks to be vegetarian is discussed in the Pali Canon many times) have decided that the dish,… Read More

Khmer Ruins in Thailand

detail of kala face on lintel at Muang Tam Khmer ruin

This page has links to all my posts about Khmer-era historical sites in Thailand, from the grand, inspiring monuments of Phimai and Phnom Rung to various small piles of rubble. Besides temple ruins, there are also some sandstone quarries, piers, and rock carvings. Many of these ruins have multiple names; I’ve chosen the one that seems to be most common. Background Information Arogayasala and Dharmasala Buriram Kuti Ruesi Ban Khok… Read More

Thai Street Signs

Naga street sign from Phetchaburi city

This is a continually updated photo gallery of street signs from around Thailand. Not only are street signs in many Thai towns beautiful, their creative designs are based on local landmarks, history, culture, legends, industries, etc. Click on each photo to see it large. Central Thailand Eastern Thailand Northeastern Thailand Northern Thailand Southern Thailand