The Thai and Khmer cultures have lived side by side and created some of the most spectacular old temples, such as the ancient temple at Phimai Historical Park. If you love old temples that hark back to a different time and a bygone age, Phimai is the ideal choice.
With an architectural style very similar to what you would find at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Phimai Historical Park has an ancient natural feel and is one of Thailand's most impressive temple complexes.
Come join us as we take you on a time-travel journey to the Phimai Historical Park.
Most buildings on the temple grounds were believed to be constructed as long as the 11th and 12th centuries and built in the iconic Bayon and Baphuon style, the same as Angkor Wat by Khmer King Jayavarman VI. The interesting fact is that during this period, Khmer culture was mainly Hindu.
What makes this temple unique is that it is a Mahayana Buddhist temple. There are reports that Buddhists lived in this part of the world as far back as the 7th century. Inscriptions found at the site reveal that the place was once called Vimayapura, which means Vimaya. The name evolved from that to the name Phimai that we see today.
Phimai Historical Park is a place that takes you back in time. This place offers its visitors a historical look into the ancient art technique used by the Khmer.
The Phimai Historical Park is the most impressive Khmer ruin in Thailand for its significant architectural detail and the scale of the site. Everywhere you look, you will find intricate carvings of Hindu deities. The design elements used throughout the site are distinctive, especially on the prang tower, which was later used at Angkor Wat.
Although, as we have established, the temple was built in the 11th and 12th centuries. It is believed to be constructed on a site with an older fortified place that dates back to the 8th century. The temple's orientation is also a bit unique as most Khmer temples are built facing west. However, Phimai is built facing south. Many believe the temple was built facing this direction to face the capital, but the temple doesn’t directly face Angkor; the theory has since been debunked.
Most of the buildings in this temple are 11th and 12th-century made.
You enter the temple over an interesting cruciform naga bridge that is supposed to symbolize the passage from Earth to heaven. Representations of serpent-like naga gods can be found across Asia and back to ancient India. You then walk along a raised passageway that was once covered with a tiled roof, leading to the inner sanctum of the temple and a jaw-dropping 28-meter-high shrine built from white sandstone and covered with majestic Hindu carvings.
Another part of the complex is the Prang Brahmathat, which is a stone sculpture that is a replica of the statue of the Angkor King Jayavarman VII that currently sits in the Phimai National Museum. If you are visiting Phimai Historical Park and want a guided tour, you might find it tricky because many locals do not speak English. However, some local students sometimes act as guides if you visit with a Thai friend or partner.
Alternatively, some excellent free brochures available will give you a basic overview of the temple and its complex layout. If you love ancient history and temples, the Phimai Historical Park site is not just one of the oldest and most impressive in Thailand but also gives a sneak glimpse into life almost 1,000 years ago.
Built in the 11th century by Khmer King Jayavarman VI, it was put under Thai Government protection in 1936, and restorations were done in 1964-69. It was opened to the public in 1989 by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Phimai Historical Park in Korat is one of Thailand's largest and most impressive Khmer ruins. It is one of the most important historical sites in the North East of Thailand, with a rectangular complex measuring over 1,000 meters long by almost 600 meters wide.
Thai Citizens: 20 Thai Baht for Adults | Free for Children
Foreigners: 100 Thai Baht for Adults | Free for Children
07.00 – 18.00 hrs | Monday – Sunday
341/3 Phimai District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30110
+66 (0) 44 471 535 | +66 (0) 44 471 568
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