I am planning to travel from Nong Khai to Phimai. WHat is the best way to reach Phimai from there? I know it is close to Khorat. As well, does anyone have recommendations about a place to stay there?
My travel plan is to go to Sukhothai, then on to Chiang Mai , Nong Khai and after that I am pretty much open to suggestions about other locations. I do like the culture and history stuff. Do you think that doing Sukhothai and Phimai (perhaps attempting to go to Phanom Rung) is too much? I choose Phimai primarily because it is a small place and seems more accessible than Phanom Rung.
Any suggestions? Please advise.
#1 reenakukreja has been a member since 25/7/2007. Posts: 6
Just take the train from Nong Khai down to Korat, head to the bus station and catch a bus for Phimai. It's about an hour away by local bus.
Too much? I guess it depends on how much time you have and how much you like to be on the road. There is a lot of space between all of these places, but they are all worth seeing.
Now I'll make your decision even more difficult by recommending that you check out Si Satchanalai while you're in Sukhothai. It's fantastic!!! Look it up.
thanks for the info regarding Si Satchanalai: I will look it up for sure. I have two weeks and I dont like being on the road all the time. A couple of days or more at one place is what I want to target. And that is the reason for asking whether Phimai has more character (as its a small town) compared to Phanom Rung which is supposed to be a lovely Khmer monument that is hard to reach.
I look forward to your suggestions.
#3 reenakukreja has been a member since 25/7/2007. Posts: 6
Si Satchanalai has loads of temples of outstanding quality and condition. Many have original stucco. Plus, in the area along the river, you can see some of the old kilns where they fired the bricks that made the temples.
If you go, I highly recommend that you go by motorbike. You can rent a motorbike in Sukhothai for about B200/24 hrs, or less if you rent for more than one day. If you see the Sukhothai temples in one day, use the next to ride to Si Satchanalai. It is directly north of Sukhothai, is very well signed, and takes a leisurely 1 1/4 hours through beautiful, quiet, farmland where there is very little traffic. There are nice spots to stay in Si Satchanalai, and you will definitely not have to worry about making a reservation in advance. Trying to see the place in one day might be a bit optimistic. It's worth it to stay the night and enjoy the remoteness and silence of the countryside.
As for Phanom Rung, it is a spectacular temple in an equally spectacular location that is well-worth seeing. It is a bit of a trek, however, and can gobble up several days to get there, see it, and then head out. It's really not that difficult to get there, just time-consuming.
Phimai is not as magnificent, however it is the prototype for the main complex at Angkor and therefore architecturally and culturally significant. When I was in Phimai it was a very tiny little village built, for the most part, around the temple. It was very peaceful and enjoyable. Can't remember where I stayed, but it was a very nice old teak home just around the corner from the temple.
You may want to read a bit about the Royal Road from Phimai to Angkor. Just google it.
Thanks for all your advice. SiSatchanalai is now definitely on my route, more so after you mentioned that one can rent a motorcycle for travel there.
About Phanom Rung: "gobbling up days" that is what i was worried about. And now with my foray into Si Satchanalai, i think i might give it a pass and go to Phimai instead. For accomodation: was it the "Old Phimai Guest House" that you had stayed at. My guidebook mentions one that is wooden and just two minutes walk from the ruins.
Thanks for your help.
#5 reenakukreja has been a member since 25/7/2007. Posts: 6
It was, indeed, the Old Phimai Guest House where I stayed. Nice place. At least, it was back then. Single rooms weren't big, but they were inexpensive and the bathrooms and the rest of the place were clean and nice. Really close to the temple on a quiet little street. Hope it's the same.
Glad to hear that you'll hit Si Satchanalai. It's in the area you'll be in, and it is definitely not on the main tourist trail. If you go by motorbike, go from Old Sukhothai. There is a main road that goes there from Sukhothai. Basically, you head west out of town and turn right onto Highway 101, at the first main intersection (if you were going to Old Sukhothai you would go straight for another 12 km). That is a busier road, and not as nice, quiet or interesting as the way I'll explain next. It is a good road to come back on, though, because it brings you directly into Sukhothai and there are a couple of neat temples on the way, plus lots of places where you can stop to eat.
The other, and better way (in my opinion), is to go into Old Sukhothai and then follow Highway 1113 north from the northern gate of the main temple area. It is very well-signed the entire way (Si Satchanalai Historical Park). Don't go to the National Park. Go to the Historical Park. You'll have to cut across from Highway 1113 but, again, it is signed, and as long as you stay on the road you'll get to where you want to be.
The trip starts out quite flat, but soon on the NW horizon hills will start to come up. Then you'll see them to the north of you, as well. The area around Si Satchanalai is rolling to hilly, and there are some really nice places along the river where you can hang out and cool off.
If there is any other info I might be able to provide, please ask away.
Sorry for the late response.