Site logo

Phanom Rung Historical Park

The Phanom Rung Historical Park, otherwise known as Prasat Hin Phanom Rung (ปราสาทหินพนมรุ้ง), is an ancient Khmer era temple complex in Buriram province. Built between the 10th and 14th centuries on the rim of an extinct volcano, it is larger and more impressive than the Khmer temple structures in Sakon Nakhon, such as Phra That Phuk Phek and Phra That Narai Cheng Weng. Therefore, if you have a keen interest in Khmer era ruins, it would be worth taking a weekend trip to visit Prasat Hin Phanom Rung. From Sakon Nakhon, the trip takes approximately 5 hours by either car or bus. You can catch a bus to Buriram from Sakon Nakhon Bus Terminal 2. Price for a VIP ticket will be less than 500 baht.

The Phanom Rung Historical Park is a very popular tourist site, as it is arguably the finest ancient Khmer era ruin in all of Thailand. The Khmer temple complex at Phimai Historical Park (located 2 hours north in Nakhon Ratchasima/Korat province) is a more famous tourist attraction, but Prasat Hin Phanom Rung is in many ways better preserved and the favorite choice among many aficionados of Khmer era ruins. However, if you are taking a weekend trip from Sakon Nakhon, you could easily place both Khmer ruins on your itinerary.

To avoid other tourists (as much as possible), we would suggest visiting Phanom Rung Historical Park on a weekday around noon or 4:30pm (the park closes at 6pm). If you must visit on a weekend, we would recommend arriving at 7am, when the park opens. Going in the early morning is also one of the best times for taking photographs, as the lighting is better.

If when you arrive at Phanom Rung Historical Park, you see too many tourists walking up the laterite stone pathway to the temple (which could interfere with your photography), we would suggest first checking out the “Changing Pavilion” or White Elephant House, which is where Khmer royal family members would change their attire before important rituals. This temple building is located on the right, just after you ascend the 3 level lower stairway. It is often overlooked by visitors, and provides a great opportunity for solitary enjoyment and photographs.

If big crowds don’t bother you, one of the best times to visit Phanom Rung Historical Park is in early April, when the Buriram community throws its Phanom Rung Festival, which celebrates that special time of the year when the sunrise shines through all 15 doors of the temple. Witnessing this solar phenomenon is said to bring good luck and blessings during the coming year, approximately coinciding with the Thai New Year’s celebration of Songkran, which occurs shortly after the festival.

Phanom Rung Historical Park charges 100 baht for admission, while Thais are charged 20 baht. The dual pricing is customary in Thailand (and in fact many countries), as locals pay taxes which contribute to the maintenance of the temple. Lastly, there are no refreshments or toilets after you pay your admission fee and enter the temple grounds, so be sure to use the toilet before entering and purchase some water if it is a hot day.

Phanom Rung Historical Park – Photo Gallery