Ta Pek, Chaloem Phra Kiat District, Buri Ram 31110

Lat/Long = 14°31'56”N, 102°56'41"E

GPS = 14.5325066, 102.9404222

This is one of the largest and most significant Khmer temples in Thailand, located on top of an enormous basaltic extrusion (a dormant volcano) that stands 400 meters above the surrounding farm land.  It's one of 9 prasats in Thailand along the ancient road from Angkor to Phimai.  The park is open every day from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.  There's a large parking lot with dozens of small souvenir shops and restaurants clustered around the entrance to the park.  Foreigners must pay an entrance fee of 100B (40B for Thai citizens).  This is a very popular destination for Thai tourists so the site is often crowded, especially on holidays.  After purchasing a ticket visitors continue along a broad laterite walkway though a beautiful park with a lush grassy field and some large trees.  There's a large secondary structure to the right which was used by Khmer royalty when they visited the site.  The walkway leads to a series of laterite stairs adorned with carved nagas (5-headed snakes) on both sides.  The nagas and most of the carved sandstone surfaces, including several excellent lintels, appear to be originals.  One lintel in particular which depicts Vishnu reclining has attracted a lot of academic attention.  This artifact was stolen from the temple in the 1960s and taken to the Art Institute in Chicago.  It was later returned to its original location after a lot of diplomatic arm wrestling.  Another notable artifact at this site is a distinctive 4-armed statue of Vishnu, now represented by a replica.  Anyone interested in Khmer archeology will have a rich field day here and should plan their visit accordingly.

Phanom Rung Historical Park