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Buri Ram, which literally means “city of happiness” or “peaceful city,” is situated in the lower part of the Northeastern region, about 410 km from Bangkok. Buri Ram Province is the location a number of archaeological discoveries of pre-historic human habitation and ancient ruins from the Dvaravati period (6th-11th centuries C.E.) The most important historical evidence found includes more than 60 sandstone sanctuaries scattered around the area. There are also discoveries of important Khmer pottery kiln sites that date back to the 10th – 13th centuries and Buri Ram contains abundant sandstone sanctuaries built by the Khmer Kingdom at Angkor, including Phanom Rung, easily Thailand's most stunning Khmer monument.
After the fall of Angkor, habitation and development of Buri Ram resumed in the late Ayutthaya period as a protectorate of Nakhon Ratchasima. The city was also inhabited during the Thon Buri and early Ratanakosin periods. Finally, in 1933, there was restructuring of the regional administrative system, which turned Buri Ram into a province as it remains to this day. The town and province of Buri Ram are excellent places to experience authentic, rural Thai life and are ideal for immersing yourself in no-frills Thai country culture or an authentic Isan city atmosphere. However, while the town itself has limited attractions and activities for visitors, the provincial countryside is filled with ancient ruins, many of which are no more than rubble, but include the Khmer sanctuary of Phanom Rung, one of the best preserved Angkorian temples in Southeast Asia and a premier destination for witnessing sunrises and sunsets when the sun is aligned with the doorways of the temple.
Chang International Circuit
A world-class motorsport racing circuit that has been established on an area of more than 1,000 rai with more than 4 kilometres per lap with 12 bends. It is the only racing circuit in Thailand that has received the FIA Grade 1/FIM Grade A standard, and is the only racing circuit in the world that spectators in the grandstand can see the racing of every bend.
Phanomrung Historical Park
This historical attraction is found a fair distance from the city centre (65km and 1 hour), but it is no doubt the main draw to the province, and arguably the entire region of Isaan (in-depth guide to Phanom Rung here). The ruins of Phamonrung Historical Park make up part of a 225-kilometre roadway built by the Angkor Empire, known as the Khmer Highway, which leads from neighbouring Cambodia and includes the famous temples of Angkor Wat. The ancient site also hosts an annual festival to celebrate the morning sunrise when it aligns with the doorways of the old temple sanctuary. To mark the occasion there are parades, performances and shows of traditional dress and culture to celebrate Shivan and the rich cultures which once presided over these ancient Khmer ruins (here for the Phanom Rung Festival). Phanom Rung is found on top of a now extinct volcano next to the Thai-Cambodia border.
A lot of Buriram’s tourism is centred around their stadiums and venues, where Buriram United’s ‘Thunder Castle’ (iMobile Stadium) is the largest football stadium in all of Thailand. But similar unlikely investment then continued with a Formula One Racetrack (Chang International Circuit), which has the potential for Formula One schedules in the future, and has already hosted (and continues to host) the Moto GP, despite its rather far-flung location. So these venues have inevitably been hugely popular with domestic Thai tourists, with stadium tours, and an entertainment and recreational village built around them, and connecting between attractions. This includes restaurants, nightlife, as well as tropical gardens, a replica building of Phanomrung Temple, and just a rather bizarre and NSFW children’s playground. As expected the stadiums are outside of the centre (6km) and a taxi would again be your best bet for travel.
Khao Kradong Forest Park
Before the excitement of sports and stadiums, the main tourist attraction in Buriram City was Khao Kradong Forest Park, found on top of a now extinct volcano around 10km from centre. The location is also near enough to the stadiums, and it maybe best to share a taxi between both these attractions in Buriram, starting with Khao Kradong, before jumping out at the stadium area. Because Khao Kradong Forest Park could easily be covered in under an hour, as most people are only interested in the big Buddha Statue ‘Phra Suphatbophit’ which sits on top of the mountain. Not to forget the views from above. So these can be reached either by a 5-minute walk, give or take, following a set of 297 steps to reach the top at 265 meters. Or, for the lazy like us, it is an easy drive to the car parks at the top. Otherwise, if you plan to make the most of the visit, there is the surrounding national park with walks and a nature trail. Fun fact, the site is named ‘Kradong’ after the Khmer (Cambodian) word for turtle shell, due to the shape of the mountain.
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