Constructed in Angkor style during the period of 10th to 13th century as a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, Phanom Rung may be the most significant and impressive Khmer temple that can be found in Thailand.
It is built on the top of a hill in Buriram province in the northeast of Thailand and officially it is named Prasat Hin Phanom Rung. Muang Tum another Khmer complex is also in the hill and was constructed around the same time. The main prang (tower) of the Phanom Rung was made of pink sandstone, so the it is also called Phanom Rung stone castle.
The overview of Phanom Rung
When you enter the site, firstly you will see a long processional pedestrian road about 160 meters towards the temple. From here you will see how solemn the main tower is. A pavilion on the right side of the road which was built for the king to prepare for the ceremonies in the temple. The first Naga (mythological serpent) bridge is at the end of the road which is followed by a wide stairway to the main tower. The second Naga bridge will lead you to the gallery in the inner sanctuary. Naga is sacred in Hinduism which primarily represents rebirth, death and mortality. The naga bridges symbolize the secular world into the world of the Gods.
Go inner the sanctuary
When you at the entrance gates, you can see the exquisite carving of Hindu Gods Shiva and Vishnu as well as the scenes from the epic Ramayana decorated on the pediment and lintels on the top of the gates. When you go inside to the inner sanctuary, you will arrive at the main tower. The tower is 23-meter-high and about 9-meters-wide and made of pink sandstone. It represents Mt. Meru, the Hindu center of the universe and the sacred linga symbolizing the strength of Shiva was enshrined here. The inner sanctuary also includes two libraries where the sacred Hindu scriptures are kept.
Around the main tower, there are a smaller tower and two brick towers which was estimated constructed in 10th or 11th century and considered the oldest structures of Phanom Rung.
In addition, there are a number of ponds in the Phanom Rung complex which symbolized the oceans surrounding Mt. Meru.
On the top of Phanom Rung hill visitors can enjoy a scenic views of panoramic rural area.
Phanom Rung festival
The festival is on April 13th every year and it is held when a very special phenomenon occurs. When the rays of the sun go through all of the 15 portals of the temple, the mystical environment is created, the festival begins.
On the day, a series of a traditional ceremonies will be held including a procession to honor the Gods, traditional folk dance performances and fireworks and light shows in the evening.
How to get to Phanom Rung
Phanom Rung is located about 50km south to Buriram town, Buriram province in the northeast Thailand. Visitors can take flight or train to get Buriram town first then take a songthaew bus or motorbike taxi to go to the temple. Most of hotels in Buriram town provide taxi hire service. You can hire a taxi for a whole day.
The best, easiest and most comfortable way is letting UME Travel arrange a private tour for you.
Phanom Rung opens every day from 6:00am to 6:00pm
The best time to visit would be a weekday as the temple would be especially bus on weekends and during Thai public holidays.
Explore Thailand with UME Travel
These itineraries with some visits to the sacred the elegant Thai temples are designed to give you some suggestions for what is possible when you travel to Thailand. They showcase the routes that we've found work very well. Take them as your travel inspiration, because your trip will be designed uniquely for you on your particular interests.