Back into the History of Khmer Splendor
During the zenith of the Khmer Empire, Surin was on its pilgrimage
route, as evidenced from the existing tens of archeological sites.
From Surin, travelers can easily go further to Prasat Wat Phu in
Laos, Prasat Khao Phra Wihan in Si Sa Ket, and Prasat Phanom Rung in
1) Prasat Muang Thi
This Khmer temple was modified. The brick-and-concrete complex is
dominated by one principal tower, or prang, at the center,
representing Mount Meru, the abode of God. Four smaller prangs, only
three of which remain now, are located at each corner of the
principal one, representing the subordinate mountains in which lower
Gods dwell. The remains show that these prangs are on 12-cornered
indented square platform.
2) Prasat Chom Phra
This ancient “hospital” is in almost perfect condition. The laterite
and sandstone buildings face east. The principal square prang has an
adjunct rectangular porch in the front, surrounded with walls with a
portal of cruciform design, A pond is located outside the wall.
Significant edifices unearthed from the site include the head of
Mahayana Bodhisattva, Enlightened being, and the figure of
Vajarasattva, a guardian spirit. The characteristics of these
edifices correspond to the Khmer’s Bayon art
in the reign of King Chaiyaworaman VII.
3) Prasat Sikhoraphum
Locally called Prasat
Ra Ngaeng this Khmer ruin consists of 1 principal tower, or prang,
and 4 smaller towers at each corner, on the same laterite platform,
surrounded by a moat. The edifice faces east, with a balustrade
leading to a single portal, suggesting the influence of Khmer’s
and Angkor Wat
styles. This edifice was probably constructed in mid-11th
century to worship Hindu God Shiva, and modified in the 16th
century into a Buddhist temple. Prasat Sikhoraphum opens daily, from
07.30 am. – 06.00 pm.. Entrance fee is 10 baht for Thais and 30 baht
4) Prasat Yai Ngao
This Khmer ruin consists of 3 towers, only 2 of which remain now,
lying on laterite platforms in North-South direction. The Fine Arts
Department has laid down recovered pieces in the compound’s front
yard, including the tower vertex, balusters and portal frame, etc.
Bas-relief found in this ruin depicts legendary animal called makon,
an amalgam of lion, elephant and fish, with five-headed serpent in
its mouth. The bas-relief depicting serpents resemble that of the
Angkor Wat, contrived in the 12th century.
5) Prasat Phum Pon
The complex occupies 4 ancient structures – 3 brick and 1 laterite,
lying in North-South direction. The big brick structure and the
northern one remain in rather good condition. These two structures
are among the oldest Khmer ruins in Thailand, presumably erected in
the 6th – 7th centuries. The brick one in the
middle and the laterite in the South were seemingly built later.
This complex was meant to be a Hindu religious site like other
contemporary ones. No lingum is discovered, but in the big edifice
there remains Somasutra, a pipe to convey sacred water from the
platform of the statue in the central room.
6) Prasat Ban Phlai
This rather complete complex displays three brick towers, or prang,
surrounded by a moat with an entrance on the East. It was seemingly
constructed in the 10th century.
7) Prasat Ban Phluang
This edifice, in Khmer’s Bapuan artistic style, was constructed in
the 10th – 11th centuries. The renovation in
1972 pulled down the edifice into pieces, strengthened its base and
recomposed the whole edifice to the same shape.
This elaborately carved edifice is located on indented square
platform, surrounded by a U-shaped moat, and a big pond further
The most impressive components are the gable-end and the lintel. The
eastern gable-end depicts Phra Krisana raising Kho Wanthana
Mountain. Bas-relief depicting small animals adorn the front wall,
and that depicting a guardian with a club in its hand adorn each
side of the entrance.
The eastern and southern lintels depict God Indra on Erawan
Elephant, located above the demon, which sticks out its tongue and
holds the mouthed garlands with its two hands. The northern lintel
depicts Phra Krisana killing serpent. This ruin was seemingly
dedicated to God Indra. The basrelief on the southern gable-end and
lintel depict rows of animals, probably suggesting fertility in the
Prasat Ban Phluang opens daily during 07.30 am. – 06.00 pm..
Admission fee is 10 baht for Thais and 30 baht for foreigners.
Group of Prasat Ta Muean
Despite the easy access to the group of Prasat Ta Muean, its
adjacency to the Thai-Cambodian border makes it advisable for all
visitors to inform their presence to the military or border patrol
police posted along the way.
It is suggested that visitors should visit the innermost Prasat Ta
Muean Thom first, before coming back to the nearer Prasat Ta Muean
Tot and Prasat Ta Muean.
8) Prasat Ta Muean Thom
As Thom means big, Prasat Ta Muean Thom is the biggest one in this
group of edifices. Located on the Phanom Dong Rak Range, this ruin
lies on the route linking the Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom to Prasat
Hin Phimai. It is now hidden amidst lush forest, the southern part
of which is right on the Cambodian border.
The compound has 3 towers, the principal one in the central and the
smaller one on its left and right, made from pink sandstones.
Two laterite wihan exist on the East and West. The compound
is surrounded by sandstone cloister. Of the four gopuras,
entrance pavilions, the southern one is the biggest and links to the
balustrade that drops off to the slope in Cambodia.
A pond lies on the north outside the cloister. A Khmer inscription
on the southeastern cloister refers to a person named Phra Kalapa
No man-made lingum is found here. A big rock, representing lingum,
is found in the principal tower, similar to the one found at Yot Phu
Kao in Champasak in southern Laos.
9) Prasat Ta Muean Tot
Tot is Cambodian means small. This small “hospital” is in almost
perfect condition. The square principal tower, constructed with
laterite and sandstones, has an adjunct porch in the front,
surrounded with laterite wall. The only one gopura faces
East, and a pond exists in front of the wall. This Prasat was
constructed in the reign of King Chaiyaworaman VII, in the 12th
10) Prasat Ta Muean
Locally called Prasat Bai Khrim, this edifice is supposed to be 1 of
the 17 rest stops for the pilgrims, constructed by the command of
King Chaiyavarman VII along the route linking Yasothon Pura, the
capital of the Khmer Empire, to Phimai.
This laterite solitary tower faces East. An elongated room adjoins
the front of the tower. Fake windows were sculpted on the northern
wall, while real windows exist only on the southern one. The
remaining southern lintel depicts the Buddha in the posture of
11) Border market at Chong Chom
In the former time, Chong Chom was the biggest and most convenient
channel to Cambodia. The Kui passed through this channel to raid
wild elephants in Cambodia, while villagers walked back and forth to
buy necessities in the other country. Chong Chom has been developed
into a border market to export necessities into Cambodia, together
with its counterpart on the Cambodian side. Most goods sold here
barely differ from those in other border markets, but Chong Chom is
nevertheless noted for rattan basketry and mats, smoked seat, and
wooden furniture. Tourists have to pay customs tax for some goods.
Horns, skins and wild animals are prohibited from importing into
The market opens on Saturday – Sunday during 08.30 am. – 04.00 pm..
Tourists can cross the border into Cambodia simply by informing
names, addresses, and number of persons in the group to the