Phanom Rung Historical Park had always been on our list of places to see in Thailand but it’s off the beaten track and we just never had the right opportunity to go, until now. We met up with our friends (Voom and Greg) in Bangkok and traveled by bus to Nang Rong which is the closest town to the historical park. There are very few tourists in Nang Rong so it was a nice couple of days experiencing the ‘real’ Thailand.
We stayed in a small family run guesthouse and organized our day trip to Phanom Rung Historical Park directly with them – the park is around 30 kilometers from town. This was the easiest and most convenient way to see the temples and we had plenty of time at each site. Our first stop was at Prasat Muang Tam. It was constructed in ancient Khmer style between the 10th and 13th centuries and it was dedicated to Shiva.
The beautiful courtyard and ponds.
There used to be 5 towers here that represented Mount Meru (the center of the universe), now only 4 remain.
This temple was so peaceful that a monk sat down to meditate and I took a rest in the shade.
As we were leaving we just had to take a couple more photos….
Our next stop was at Phanom Rung, a Khmer temple complex that sits on top of an extinct volcano and the small pond was where the crater used to be.
The processional walkway that eventually leads to the sacred pool (the volcano’s crater) was impressive. The first naga bridge represents the connection between heaven and earth – amazing how well preserved it is.
The entrance with the famous ‘reclining vishnu’. I loved the 5 yogis motif.
The inner courtyard was very beautiful and just as we sat down and peeled an orange, a group of Thai police officers started walking towards us. I immediately thought “oh oh we aren’t supposed to be eating in here”. When they reached us, they promptly informed us that we need to have a picture with the ‘Royal Thai Police’, we couldn’t refuse…right?
There’s always a bit of shopping at the temples!
Later in the afternoon and early evening we visited the walking street market in the center of Nang Rong. The market was great and mostly centered around food. It was fun hanging out in the market with Voom (she is from this area), she knows all the tasty local treats to have and we tried a few different things that we had never had before. Each area of Thailand has their local specialties so Voom picked up a favourite treat of hers, and when she opened the box and smelled…she looked up at us and said “it smells like home” – I loved hearing that!
It’s definitely worth visiting some of the best preserved Khmer temples in this area of Thailand and we are so happy we went!
Where we stayed: P California Inter Hostel
Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel