Phimai’s little sister
Published/Last edited or updated: 8th September, 2016
Receiving far less attention than its big sister up in Phimai, Prasat Hin Phanom Wan is an ancient Khmer sanctuary located in a tranquil spot near Khorat city. Believed to hail from the 11th century, the minor site probably served as a stop off for travellers heading from Angkor to Phimai.
Rimmed by a square-shaped laterite wall with four gorupa entrances, the main sandstone structure includes a corridor with circular rivets in the window pillars that mimic the graceful style found in Phimai. While it was originally a Hindu sanctuary, several stone Buddha images that were added later look haunting when sunlight flows inside.
The centerpiece is a large prang with multiple tiers rising to a lotus-shaped finial. Nearly all of this structure appears to have been added during fairly recent restorations -- clean white stone, as opposed to the original brown or red, makes it easy to see which blocks are original. Only shadows of detail can be seen on a few lintels and ornaments placed around some of the doorways.
While it’s not nearly impressive as Phimai or Phanom Rung, Phanom Wan is free of charge and usually empty of visitors. The complex sprawls beside a forest and near some large lotus ponds in the tiny village of Ban Makha, making for a serene atmosphere.
Prasat Hin Phanom Wan is located 18 km northeast of downtown Khorat. Take Route 2 north out of town and look for white signs pointing right (southeast) a couple of km after passing the junction with Highway 204. From here it’s a straight five-km cruise to the complex, which is located across the road from Wat Nong Chok. It’s also possible to take a back way here from the south of Khorat via Highway 226, followed by a left turn.
Alternately you could head to Bus Terminal 1 in Khorat and catch a songthaew to Wat Long Tong and then take a motorbike taxi to the ruins. Expect to pay around 400 baht for a round trip by taxi or tuk tuk from Khorat.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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