Thailand's North-East

PHIMAI

Global Mark : 12.33

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 2 3 5 2 5 3 2 2 12.00

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
6 100% (6) 33% (2) 83% (5) 10 to 15 12.67


Description :
A little town with a restored Khmer Temple, a sweeping banyan tree and a tasty night market. 

Comments : Coming especially for it would be questionable but, if you are in the area, you won't regret spending a few days here. 

What to do ? Walk the temple before the tourist have the same idea / If impressed, continue with the nearby museum / If really impressed, go back to the complex at a different time to get a different light / If that impressed, then arrange to visit Phanom Rung Historical Park (it is actually better, see Khorat Section) / Take the shade at the Banyan tree / Test all kind of food at the night market / In early morning, jog with some local around the water pond / In October or November (Loi Kratung Festival), bet on boat races. 

What you may not like ? Having just visited Angkhor Wat before / Some bad restoration work at the temple / The tourist crowd in late evening / Having to pay B30 to see the best pieces moved to the museum / 

How long ? One to two days


Where to stay ? 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

bulletOld Phimai GH (044 471918), 14 Chomsudaset Rd, 214 Moo 14, going toward the Historical Park, turn left into a small alley after a photo shop / Dorm (5) 90, room 150(1), 200(2) or 210(3), big Dbl 250, room with AC 330 / Free map / Bikes 50 or 80 per day / Go there for the nice house full of travel info & services and the clean rooms / What you may not l ike : the small dorm
bulletNew Phimai GH (287275), opposite the above / Sgl 120, Dbl 150, Trpl 230 / Bigger rooms but more basic, small outside balcony.
bulletJ&B GH, on the east of the Historical Park, on the way to the museum and the Banyan tree / Sgl 100, huge Dbl 150, AC 250 / Go there for the cheapest prices for OK rooms but it is noisy as next to the road and an active rooster... 
bulletPhimai Hotel (471306), Haruethairome Rd, near the bus station / Rooms w. cold shower start at B250


Where to eat ? At the night market, of course ! It is small but there is lengthy choice of starters, main courses and desserts. Yummy !

Internet ? Forget about the place near the Phimai GH charging 60B per hour. Going toward J&B GH, on the east of the Historical Park's wall, Friend Net charge B20 per hour (open 9 to 24)


A few attractions ?

- Prasat Hin Phimai : It is quoted by the tourism's leaflet as one of the most splendid examples of classical Khmer religious architecture found outside Cambodia. It is indeed quite nice & striking but definitively not as impressive as Prasat Hin Khao Phanum Rung, 50km south of Buriram. And it certainly does not sustain the comparison with Angkor to which it was once connected. The restoration work also show signs of negligence. This being said, the setting is pleasant and some stones well decorated. It is open from 7:30am to 6pm daily and cost B40. At around 5pm, there is usually a French tourist tour visiting. 

- National Museum : the nicest pieces have been moved there and it cost an additional B30 to see them. Open from 9 to 16.

- Sai Ngam "Beautiful Banyan Tree" : A nice 30mn walk from the town center (about 1.5km North-East, road east before and after J&B GH) to this impressive natural sight which covers an area of 15000 square meters (the largest in Asia as the leaflet wonders ?). If you go early in the morning, you should have the place for yourself but at other time, considering the number of restaurant tables just opposite, it looks real busy. Handicraft products are also on sale. In the middle of the pond, a small island has been turned into a relaxing sitting area. 

 

Backpacker's Tips : Andrew Curtis, New Zealand (Oct 08)
« Exactly as the write up says, if you have the time while heading north or south stop in here!!! Such a nice quaint town, wicked to relax in and the locals are interested in foreigners and not resentful like some touristy places. Just walk out to the Banyan tree as its not very far and is a great place to relax. Definitely check out the ruins (take a picnic in there??) they are not busy, maybe not as impressive as others in the area but with no one around they are pretty special. The nights markets are wicked… full of locals, full of food and full on different things to try… true thai night markets… definitely a great place for a day or two!!! » 

Backpacker's Tips : Andrew Curtis, New Zealand (Oct 08)
« Nang Rong: A tiny town with not a lot going for it, but a great base to visit Phnom Rung ruins and many more
What to do : The city itself is a scum hole… with a main road and that’s about it. Only a few GH  to speak of. Great night markets full of Thai people down near the hospital and worth a look especially for dinner. The best advice is to use this place as a base to hire a bike and go visit places, specifically Phnom Rung…but there are many more it was an amazing ride (not quite as good as the north though) and the location for a temple is wicked, some dubious ‘monks’ etc but worth it all none the less. Stopping at small towns along the way you get many looks and smiles from locals as there aren’t many farang out that way. So explore around the area if you don’t have time to make it to Angkor Wat or to the north of Thailand.
What you may not like : The scum hole nature of the town….there is not a lot there but a noisy main road!!!
Where to stay (guesthouses) : Honey Inn shower, double beds, fans, bike hire, nice family run place…. Rooms range 200B to 300B. Moped hire 200B. Its down a side street between the PTT Petrol and hospital on the main road there is a sign pointing you in the right direction.
Where to eat (local food) : Go to the night markets.
What to see/visit : Phnom Rung ruins, Muang Tam, Phi mai…. And much more good info at Honey Inn GH.
Communication (internet, tel, etc) :We did not find internet there…. But am sure there is some somewhere
Transportation information : To Khorat: 50B, Local Bus, 2 hours, 1 per hour / To Phi Mai: 35B, Local Bus, 1.5 hours, 1 every 2-3 hours
» 

 

 << Discover the two sights of Phimai



Leaving Phimai ?
Going east to Ubon, do not take the train at Khorat but at Hin Dat, 45mn away by songthaew (B16). Only ordinary or DRC trains stop there. No343 leaves Khorat at 7:50, stop in Hin Dat at around 8:40 and reach Ubon at 13:20. Also No419 (around 11:45 arr. 16:50), No135 (around 13:20 arr. 18:10), No427 (around 15:30 arr. 20:50) or No227 (around 23:05 arr. 0445).
For Khorat, buses leave every 30mn from 5:30 to 19, then at 20 & 22. Trip takes 1 to 1.5 hours and cost B21 fan and B28 AC. You will arrive at the Bus Station No2 in the north of the city.


The trip to Khorat : S / Nowhere / B21 / 1.5 hrs / Fan bus
A nothing-to-write-home about trip. Most people get off before the terminus (bus station No2) on Thanon Mitthaphap, in front of public park and King's portrait. If you wishes to visit Khorat, follow them ! The chaotic bus station is a another 5mn to the north and it would cost B6 to get back to the town center. 

See also the trip from Ubon Ratchathani

 

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