issan31.jpg (43702 bytes)

 

September/October I finally got to do the Issan road trip that I have had on the back burner for years. I made it to Surin in April 07 and had checked out a few temples north east of Surin and on the way from Cambodia. This trip had taken me from Pattaya to Korat. I did day trips around Korat then hit some sites in Buriram Province before settling in Surin for another six nights. I was then able to do day trips from Surin. There is still plenty to cover and future trips will include Sisaket Province. The road from Siem Reap to Anlong Veng is being constructed and will open a major artery for getting to Issan from Cambodia and vice Versa. The Border crossing at Chong Sa Ngam is still pretty sleepy and ironically the roads on the Thai side are starting to deteriorate. Cambodia is changing, but the 250cc motorbike is still tops for getting to out of the way places. In Thailand I was happy to have the extra power that my 650cc motorbike provided. The PN series maps for Thailand are outstanding. When you can get one, pick up the one on the province you will be visiting. Though most places are marked with an eye symbol, there are a few gems not marked and speaking to the locals will help. Some business and hotels also provide local tourist maps indicating attractions in their immediate vicinity. As I have found, not one map or guide will cover all there is so cross reference as much as you can. I did not take my GPS on this trip as most things were marked on the map and there was fairly good signage to the sites, though at times signage wasn't in its proper place and reading a little Thai helped.

 

issan01.jpg (30700 bytes) The road from Pattay to Nakhon Rachasima (Korat) took five hours on a Suzuki DR 650. This is a view through the Khao Yai National Park. Nice twisting road and very green during September. Bring your rain gear!
issan02.jpg (24784 bytes) On of the gates to the old city in Korat. The old city is surrounded by a moat but one of the moat sections has been filled in to create a nice walking plaza surrounding long fountains.
issan03.jpg (27064 bytes) On of the old city walls and a sculpture depicting the battle for Korat.
issan04.jpg (23777 bytes) The northwest gate.
issan05.jpg (39401 bytes) Phi Mai. The last large temple on the Dharmasala route from Angkor Wat. Being a temple buff I met  the author of this website and we have been exchanging cross border information. He has Issan pegged. http://www.sundial.thai-isan-lao.com/dharmasalaroute.html
issan06.jpg (35902 bytes) Nang Ram a Jayavaraman 7 hospital about 90 Kilometers NE of Korat.
issan07.jpg (47313 bytes) Prasat Sida in the town of Sida just off the 2 90K NE of Korat
issan08.jpg (22959 bytes) Ban Prasat where Archaeologist have uncovered a prehistoric settlement. 3 grave digs and a museum there.
issan09.jpg (38733 bytes) Prasat Hin Phnom Wan about seven kilometers east of Korat.
issan10.jpg (37016 bytes) Muang Sema 30 Kilometers to the South West of Korat on the 2. Was an ancient settlement dating back to the seventh century.
issan11.jpg (35716 bytes) Large reclining Buddha about 1300 years old not far from Muang Sema near the town of Sung Noen.
issan12.jpg (42646 bytes) Prasat Pha Kho about 30 Kilometers off the main road south of Korat.
issan13.jpg (44731 bytes) Another Jayavaraman 7 hospital in the town of Khon Buri another 30 K south of Pha Kho
issan14.jpg (31428 bytes) Prasat Khao Phnom Rung in Buriram Province.
issan15.jpg (41220 bytes) Muang Tam about 8K away from Phnom Rung.
issan16.jpg (30426 bytes) Prasat KhaoWat Angkhan. Took back roads to find this site west of Phnom Rung. You are better off following the signs off of the 24, west of the Phnom Rung turn off. It was a more direct route out.
issan17.jpg (47723 bytes) Chom Phra about 30K north of Surin. The picture is deceiving. Though overgrown, the sanctuary sits in the middle of a town.
issan18.jpg (43484 bytes) Ban Pluang, just south of the town of Prasat 30 K south of Surin.
issan19.jpg (47340 bytes) Muang Chai. The Thai Map labels it Sin Chai but the local Khmer Thais and the signage on the temple refer to it as Muang Chai. Two prasats at this site. The turn off is 28K from Prasat on the 24 then a left about a kilometer south. Follow the dirt road till you hit the site.
issan21.jpg (42238 bytes) Another pic of Muang Chai. The local Thais that speak Khmer refer to the area that the site is located in as Srok T'nol and all seemed to be familiar with that.
issan22.jpg (38216 bytes) Ban Plai. About 11 K north of Prasat on the road to Surin on the west side about 3K in.
 issan27.jpg (32018 bytes) Sikhoraphum located 30 K NE of Surin
 issan28.jpg (50025 bytes) Muang Thi about 10 K NE of Surin
 issan24.jpg (44005 bytes) Prasat Phumipon SE of Sangkha on the way to Bua Chet. This prasat was labeled as the oldest in Thailand.
 issan25.jpg (41128 bytes) Ta Priang Tia SE of Surin on the way to Sangkha
issan30.jpg (32422 bytes) View from the Thong Tharin Hotel in Surin. Surin is a great little town that comes alive at 10PM. There is a Big C, Tesco, Makro, Center Home and local day and night markets. Great live music at the following venues: Tawandang, Speed 3, Barcode, and the beer garden in front of the Thong Tharin.
   

I hope this small cross section of some of the places off the mainstream I was able to share with you has sparked a little interest and a little more pre-planning for your next visit to Thailand. There is plenty more! What originated as a small guesthouse on Phnom Penh's riverside, is still the main portal for some great infomation not only in Cambodia but now Thailand!  

 

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