Today I begin publication of the photo albums from my recent short trip to Isaan, or North-East Thailand. This area used to be part of the Khmer Empire in the Middle Ages, and has some very fine monuments from that period, that have been well preserved and maintained by the Thai Archaeological Department.
The last place we visited happens to be the first I am publishing, which is photographs of a major Khmer Hindu complex at Phonam Rung, near Buriram, around 250km from the Angkor complex it is related to. It seems there was a road running from Angkor, past Banteay Chhmar to Buriram and on to Phimai (the last of which I will publish photographs of soon).
The historical park is very well maintained by the Department of Fine Arts, which undertook the restoration of the site between 1971 and 1988. There were tours being conducted for schoolchildren when we were there, and appear half a dozen large tour buses were in the car park. The site also contains a small museum, but it seemed to have nothing special in it.
The site is very impressive, and is built over an extinct volcano, and much of the stone is laterite, with the fine carvings being made out of pink sandstone. There is a long approach road to the hill on which the temple stands, much longer than I saw elsewhere.
Unfortunaely owing to restrictions on time we were there only shortly, but I think the phtos give a fair idea of the site, and I wouldn’t mind going back to the whole area once again, but on a different and more organised sort of trip.