Ku Ban Ton Khmer Ruin

abbot standing with bai sema

The meagre remains – mostly a broken pedestal and three laterite blocks – of Ku Ban Ton (กู่บ้านโต้น) are displayed in a small garden in front of the ubosot at Wat Si Pimon on the north side of the village that the Khmer ruin was named after. The actual site is out in the rice paddies a bit northwest of Wat Si Pimon, but the abbot told us there is… Read More

Si Satchanalai – The Other Sukhothai

elephant statues at base of ancient stupa

The Sukhothai Kingdom (1238-1438 BCE) laid much of the foundation for the art and culture of modern Thailand, and its gracefully ruined capital is one of the country’s most popular historical attractions. Fifty-five kilometers to the north was the Sukhothai Kingdom’s second city of Si Satchanalai, another splendid Buddhist holy center in those days. Though it’s smaller and a little less impressive than its famous twin to the south, Si… Read More

Ku Non Thaen Khmer Ruin

front view of Khmer ruin with Buddha in back

The little bit of Ku Non Thaen (กู่โนนแท่น) that remains sits under a big roof at the back of Batdibattam Don Thaen Temple (สำนักปฏิบัติธรรมดอนแท่น), also known as Samnak Song Ku Non Thaen (สำนักสงฆ์กู่โนนแท่น). All that’s left of this Khmer temple is a small (6x8m) laterite platform at least partially assembled in modern times. The Fine Arts Department has no solid clue about its age, only giving the broad range of… Read More

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

Ku Prapha Chai Khmer Ruin

view of prang seen through opening in outer wall

Sitting between Phrathat Kham Kaen (7.5km away) and the King Cobra Village (12km), two of Khon Kaen’s most popular tourist destinations, you’d expect Ku Prapha Chai (กู่ประภาชัย) to attract a fair number of visitors, but you will usually have this small Khmer ruin all to yourself. Made mostly of laterite, Ku Prapha Chai was built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) as a temple for one of the 102 arogayasala… Read More

Phimai Khmer City Gates, Moat, and Barays

wooden house and western gate

Many people visiting the amazing Prasat Phimai temple are unaware that in its day it stood at the heart of a large important city. Lying on the Mun River and along overland trade routes to the north and south, as well as having abundant salt deposits (there are none near Angkor), Phimai city prospered on trade during its time in the Khmer empire. And many remnants of the town infrastructure… Read More

Kuti Ruesi Noi Khmer Ruin

main sanctuary

Kuti Ruesi Noi (กุฏิฤาษีน้อย), just 450m south of the southern city gate, was the temple for one of the 102 arogayasala (hospitals) that King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) had built around the empire. It follows the standard arogayasala design in most regards. It faces roughly to the east, in line with Phimai temple and town. It’s quite incomplete – none of the walls are tall and some are gone entirely… Read More

Noen Wat Khok Khmer Ruin

laterite wall and line of laterite

Noen Wat Khok (เนินวัดโคก) was a small temple in its day, but it was likely quite an important one. Like West Mebon in the Angkor region, Noen Wat Khok sat prominently on an island in the middle of a massive baray. Now almost entirely silted in and used mostly for agriculture (though it’s still clearly recognizable when seen from above), the old Phimai Baray stretches 750m by 1800m, the biggest… Read More

Tha Nang Sra Phom Khmer Pier

view of the pier from across the river

Just over a kilometer south of Phimai city’s southern gate and directly centered along the axis of the temple and town, Tha Nang Sra Phom (ท่านางสระผม) is the only preserved Khmer-era boat landing known in Thailand. Likely built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219), it’s a simple cruciform platform made entirely of laterite with very steep stairs on three of the sides. When it was excavated the archaeologists found post… Read More

San Pu-Ta Ban Wang Hin Khmer Ruin

small forested hill

Less than 100m from the south shore of the old Phimai Baray, San Pu-Ta Ban Wang Hin (ศาลปู่ตา บ้านวังหิน) is lined up with the Prasat Phimai’s soaring prang, 3.6km away, instead of being lined up with the baray, suggesting it may have once been an important temple. It’s age and purpose are unknown and nothing ancient – no pottery shards, bricks, or building blocks – is visible now. The few… Read More

Meru Brahmathat

ruined brick stupa on a hill seen from below

Just two hundred meters away from the entrance to Prasat Phimai, but unrelated to it or the Khmer empire in any way, Meru Brahmathat (เมรุพรหมทัต) is a toppled brick stupa from the 18th century (late Ayutthaya era). It sits atop a man-made hill and including this it’s about thirty meters tall now; though it was clearly much bigger when built. While not in very good condition, it does present a… Read More

Sra Pleng Ancient Quarry

rock wall with cut marks

Sra Pleng Quarry (ลานหินตัดสระเพลง) is hidden away in a forest at the foot of the Sankamphaeng Mountains in the south-central part of Ta Phraya National Park. A geologist from the Ministry of Mineral Resources who visited identified this grey sandstone as from the Phu Kradung Formation, which dates to around 150 million years ago. Geological maps of Thailand I’ve seen show this area to be the younger Sao Khua or… Read More

Prang Phon Songkhram Khmer Ruin

bannalai and gopura

A temple for one of the 102 arogayasala (hospitals) built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219), Prang Phon Songkhram (ปรางค์พลสงคราม) follows the standard design of arogayasala, including being built primarily with laterite, using sandstone only for trim. The only original entrance is through an eastern gopura. It’s cross-shaped with small chambers to the east, south, and north (which still have their roofs) and an uncarved lintel over the outer front… Read More

Kuti Ruesi Ban Nong Bua Rai Khmer Ruin

platform in front of temple

At the foot of Phanom Rung mountain, Kuti Ruesi Ban Nong Bua Rai (กุฎิฤษีบ้านหนองบัวราย) was the temple for one of the 102 arogayasala (hospitals) built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) around the empire. Like a lot of his projects, it was not fully completed. Like other arogayasala, it’s built with laterite using sandstone for the trim and has a single east-facing tower for the main sanctuary with a single bannalai to its southeast, both… Read More

Kuti Ruesi Ban Khok Mueang Khmer Ruin

pond in front and temple in background

Just 750m away from Prasat Muang Tam, Kuti Ruesi Ban Khok Mueang (กุฏิฤาษีบ้านโคกเมือง) was built much later by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) for one of the 102 arogayasala (hospitals) he opened across the empire. It has the standard arogayasala design: a single east-facing tower, a single bannalai southeast of the tower, an enclosure with just one gopura, and a rectangular pond outside to the northeast; all built of laterite with sandstone only for trim. The main prang,… Read More

Prasat Ban Bu Khmer Ruin

south side of temple

Prasat Ban Bu (ปราสาทบ้านบุ) is one of the 17 dharmasala fire shrines King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219), a devout Buddhist, built along the road from Angkor to Phimai, and one of only two in Thailand that have been restored; Prasat Ta Muean being the other. The clear color difference shows that over half of the laterite blocks used to rebuild it are new. Prasat Ban Bu is a single east-facing… Read More

Arogayasala and Dharmasala

typical dharmasala

One of the great things about visiting Khmer temples is that most have their own unique style. But in Thailand there are two exceptions to this, the arogayasala (hospital) and dharmasala (resthouse) temples, all of which have the same general layout and design as the others. Both of these were specialized temples commissioned by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219). One of the greatest Angkor kings, he restored a beleaguered empire… 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

Khao Hin Tat Ancient Quarry

algae covered pond with cutting marks visible

Virtually unknown, Khao Hin Tat Ancient Quarry (แหล่งตัดหินเขาหินตัด) lies a kilometer away as the crow flies (by road it’s either two or three kilometers, depending which direction you’re driving due to needing to U-turn on the Mittraphap highway) from the well-known Si Khio Ancient Quarry, and naturally they share similar characteristics and histories. The grey sandstone is of the Phu Phan Formation, which is around 120 million years old. The stone… Read More

Don Ku Khmer Ruin

part of platform

Don Ku (ดอนกู่) consists of a jumble of laterite blocks mostly buried in a two-meter-tall hill. The only structure still visible is a bit of the platform under a tree on the west side. Although no proper excavation has been done here, the shape of the mound leads to the assumption that it was a single tower facing east (tilted off-center to the south by about 15 degrees) since not… Read More

Page 1 of 3
1 2 3