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Trip to Buriram


Monks at Phimai.

Phanom Rung. Shaking off the dreadful memories of the week, we set out for Northeastern province called Korat.  On the map it reads "Nakon Rachasima."  
Saturday morning!  
Its much nearer than Petchabun.  Thanks to the "Outer Ring Road" we could reach Saraburi within one and half hour.  Passing Saraburi you can see mountains and there are not much palm trees around.
The scenery recalls mountains in Korea.
We prepared sandwiches - our favorite ration for trip - and we could make a easy drive to Korat where we arrived only at 1:00 p.m.
We checked our travel books and referred at the TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) office at Korat.
At 2:00 we depart Korat to Phimai - around 60Km way to Khon Kaen. Phimai is a small town but its full of Khmer temple and ruins.  I have been here a couple of years ago then they were under restoration.

The official name is Prasat Hin Phimai.  Angkor period Khmer shrine monument, originally started by Khmer King Jayavarman V in the late 10th century and finished by King Suriyavarman I (1002-49) in the early 11th century.  Therefore, originally it was built as Hindu but later it worked like Mahayana Buddhist temple. Tall main shrine is made of white sandstone (as you see Naga - kind of snake) while other part of shrine is pink sandstone and laterlite - as you can see the picture on the  left below.

After Phimai, we drove back to Korat to find the hotel.  Its around 19km south of Korat on the way to Buriram.
The hotel (room rate for deluxe Baht1,000 including breakfast) was much better than we expected - sorry I cannot recall the name.  I took a few pictures like one on the left at the dusk (6:30 p.m.).
Unusually we woke up early at 7:00 a.m.!!
We drove route 24 (well paved and peaceful) to Phanom Rung.

Note : The pictures of the temples might look very similar.  Here is the key.  If BB is in blue shorts that's Phimai, while she is in red its Phanom Rung.

Phanom Rung (see right top) was built between the 10th and 13th centuries during the reign of King Suriyavarman II (the one who built Angkor Wat, 1113-50), they call it the apex of Angkor architecture, but if you saw Angkor Wat already, its looks like a promotion sample of it.  

The complex faces east, towards the original Ankor capital.  Of the three other great Khmer monuments of South-East Asia, Cambodia's Angkor Wat faces west, its Prasat Khao Wihaan faces north and Thailand's Prasat Hin Phimai (pic with monks on the left) faces southeast.  Nobody knows why.  They says most of smaller Khmer monuments in Thailand face east (towards the dawn - typical Hindu temple orientation).  

I read an article on the Bangkok Post about the Lintel  (see below) in this temple which was stolen and returned from US but now there are dispute whether that is real one or not.
Anyway, I like the color of rosy sandstones so much.  It reminds me Insubong with its skin colored rocks.

It was still early when we were on the way back.  Thus we stopped by Kao Yai National Park.  Someone told its one of the best preserved national park in the world.
We hurried back to route:A2 to have dinner at Chokchai Steakhouse.
I heard many times its hard to get a seat on Sunday evening, but the T-Bone steak was a bit smaller (still 2x bigger than any other restaurant) and less customers than I worried.
We finished early dinner and left the steakhouse for home.

The pictures I took during the trip made quite nice.  I used Kodak EliteChrome100 and Fuji Provia (both are slide films) and found Fuji is better.  The pictures I developed and made Kodak PhotoCD.
The quality of the picture cannot be compared ones I scanned from normal color print photos.

Orchid - CymbidiumArranging the pictures, I found how I am UNENLIGHTENED about plants.  You may already saw that I named pictures - white flower or yellow flower #2 etc.  I am really tired of my ignorance that I decided to learn more about botanic of Thailand.

Thanks for reading.

Story about the Lintel (Phra Narai Lintel) 
selected from Lonely Planet

An Interesting story goes with the Phra Narai (Lord Narayana) lintel.  

In the 1960s local residents noticed the lintel was missing from the sanctuary and an investigation determined that it must have disappeared between 1961 and 1965.  A mysterious helicopter was reportedly seen in the vicinity during this period. The Thais later discovered the lintel on display at the Art Institute of Chicago; the lintel had been donated by a James Alsdorf.

The Thai government as well as several private foundations tried unsuccessfully for many years to get the artwork returned to its rightful place.  As the complex was reaching the final stages of restoration in preparation for the official opening in may 1988, a public outcry in Thailand demanded the return of the missing lintel.  In the USA, Thai Lintel on its rightful place residents and US sympathizers demonstrated in front of the Chicago museum.  In December 1988 the Alsdorf Foundation returned the Phra Narai lintel to Thailand in exchange for US$250,000 (paid by private sources in the USA) and an arrangement whereby Thailand's Fine Art Department would make temporary loans of various Thai art objects to the Art Institute of Chicago on a continual basis.  Rumor in Thailand has it that of the seven Thais involved in the original theft and sale of the lintel, only one is still alive.  the other six supposed to have met unnatural deaths.


BB playing at the temple in Phimai

My family pic at Phanom Rung

My favorite pic of the trip.  I took it around 6:30 p.m.  
      It was quite dark and I didn't expect it comes correct.  I had to open shutter almost one second with camera on tripod.  Slide films worked nicely.

The entrance of Phanom Rung.  You can see the rosy color of the sandstone.  
      The stone had to move more than 100 Km from a mountain in Cambodia.  Among the sand stones, this rose colored stone is most precious.

Causeway to Phanom Rung


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