Amphoe Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima
Lat/Long = 15°13'28”N, 102°29'40”E
GPS = 15.2244496,102.4922504
This is one of the largest Khmer site in Thailand. The city of Phimai has over a dozen smaller Khmer archeological sites spread across the city but this is the crown jewel. This photogenic site truly is a beautiful park with large trees and well-maintained lawns. The overall layout of the site is complex with numerous structures surrounded by a tall laterite wall. Even a quick tour of all the structures here could take hours. The main entrance is impressive with several large rooms and hallways leading off perpendicular to the main entry axis. After passing through the entrance structure the path leading to the central tower emerges onto a grassy lawn with a stone path leading to the structures in the middle of the complex. The path continues across a causeway with 7-headed snakes (nagas) on both sides. These striking balustrades are only found at the larger Khmer sites such as Phanom Rung and Phra Vihear. There is a beautiful statue of King Jayavarmin 7 inside the main tower (prang). Next to the main tower which is made entirely from sandstone blocks there is a smaller tower made entirely from laterite. The crumbling laterite tower is apparently unstable and entrance is prohibited. There are dozens of windows with what appear to be original colonnettes on several of the structures. There is no obvious brickwork on any of the structures. Considering the size of the site there is a relative paucity of carved sandstone ornaments: apparently they've been relocated to the Phimai National Museum which is less than one km away. The site includes a small bookstore and bathroom. Admission for foreigners is 100B.
Phimai Historical Park