If you’re spending an evening in Buriram city, one tourist attraction you’ll definitely want to visit is the King Rama I Monument (พระบรมราชานุสาวรีย์รัชกาลที่ 1 ). Located in a roundabout at the entrance to the city, the King Rama I Monument features a huge bronze statue of King Rama I riding an elephant into war. King Rama I is the founder of Thailand’s Chakri Dynasty, as well as the founder of Buriram (which translated means “city of happiness”).
The bronze statue of the King Rama I Monument (Buriram) stands on a large, tall cement pedestal, towering over circular grounds filled with multi-tiered lights/lanterns which are decorated with beautiful patterns. These lanterns signify the Royal Nine-Tiered Umbrella (or Chatra), the most sacred and ancient of the royal regalia of Thailand. Royal umbrellas/chatras can have different numbers of tiers. For example, 9 tiers are associated with the king, and 7 the crown prince. Thai monarchs can also bestow a tiered umbrella to honor the life of a royal family member, such as when the late Bhumibol The Great honored his cousin HRH Princess Bejaratana, the only daughter of King Rama VI, with a 7-tiered white umbrella on her death in 2011.
The King Rama I Monument (Buriram) also features a beautiful bas-relief cement mural which depicts the traditional life of the Buriram people; a multi-headed Naga serpent fountain, and statues of Singha lion guardians. You can park on the side of the road near the monument, but be very careful as you cross the road to the statue and lights. There are also many small restaurants nearby, so you could easily walk to the monument after having dinner.
While in Buriram province, we would highly recommend also visiting the Khmer temple complex at Phanom Rung Historical Park, which is located about 45 minutes from downtown Buriram and the King Rama I Monument. If traveling from Sakon Nakhon, you can reach Buriram by VIP bus for less than 500 baht. Tickets can be bought online or at the Sakon Nakhon Bus Station.