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Wat Khao Phanom Rung

Khorat Attractions | Khmer monuments near Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat)

Buddhist Monk at Wat Khao Phanom Rung
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Phanom Rung, about 120 kilometers from Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) is arguable the nicest and most impressive of all Khmer monuments in Thailand, possibly even more dramatic than Phimai because of the long steps leading up to it. It was constructed on the top of an extinct volcano and therefore offers a good view of the countryside as well.

Wat Phanom Rung

Prasat Phanom Rung is dedicated Shiva of the Hindu pantheon Brahma-Shiva-Vishnu. Most of the present structure was build by a local Khmer lord, Narendraditya, in the 12th century AD, when Suryavarman II ruled in Angkor Wat.

Unique for Phanom Rung are the 15 doorways spanning 75 meters through the temple complex allowing the rays of the rising sun to penetrate the temple casting its light on the lingam in the central sanctuary four times a year.

The central sanctuary, the surrounding galleries with gopuras (entrance pavilions), the staircases, the naga bridges, and the causeway were al built in early 12th century preceding Prasat Phimai and Angkor Wat a few decades.

The final construction phase was in the reign of Jayavarman VII (rule: 1181 - ca. 1220 AD), who was a fervent Mahayana Buddhist and as so many other Hindu temples he added 'libraries' to the existing structure and turned the sanctuary into a place of Buddhist worship. The 'libraries' are in typical Bayon style, built of laterite with only door and window frames made of sandstone.

Phanom Rung festivals and light shows

The Ascent of the Mountain Annual Festival or the Festival Of The Thousand Year Miracle of the Phanom Rung Grand Shrine is held at the beginning of April.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand produces an outstanding light and sound show to highlight the history of Wat Phanom Rung.

Muang Tam

Muang Tam or "Temple of the Lower City" is a smaller temple, 8 kilometers from Phanom Rung. There is no public transport between the two ruins.

How to get to Phanom Rung from Khorat or Surin

If visiting from Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) -- you could also spend the night in Buriram or Surin, start early by taking a bus or train to Buriram (2 hrs). From there, bus towards Surin.

Stop at Ban Tako, 14km after Nang Rong. Then negotiate a motorcycle taxi to and back or, cheaper, board a songthaew to Ban Don Nong Nae and then to the foot of the hill. A few songthaew also go straight to the foot of Khao Phanom Rung from Ban Tako. From the foot of the hill, there should be songthaews or motorcycle going up. The Park is open from 6 to 18.


Last Updated: 20 May 2008


Photos for Wat Khao Phanom Rung