Angkor Wat is not the only Khmer temple – and they’re not all in Cambodia either. The north east of Thailand has some spectacular ancient ruins left by the same Kings who built Angkor
The Bangkok Post carries a good article on one the most important Khmer temples to be found in Thailand. The original Angkor empire spread far across South East Asia and many Khmer ruins are to be found in modern day Thailand as well as the more famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. [See my guide to Angkor Wat for more info on the Angkor temples and also my review of Angkor: Heart Of An Asian Empire for a great overview of Angkor’s history].
Prasat Hin Phimai was supposedly renovated by the most ambitious of the Angkor kings, Jayavarman VII, whose enigmatic face appears on the famous Bayon temple. The temple itself was originally constructed by Suriyavarman, the same king who built Angkor Wat itself. Prasat Hin Phimai looks like a mini Angkor Wat itself, with the distinctive lotus bud shaped towers.
From the article:
”Prasat Hin Phimai is one of the biggest sanctuaries housing Khmer art and religious artifacts in Thailand,” began [13 year old tourist guide] Yuwathida whose nickname is Yo.
”Located in the centre of Phimai District, it is believed to have been built by king Suriyavarman I during 1002-1050 AD, even before Angkor Wat in Cambodia or the Phnom Rung mountain sanctuary in Buri Ram.
It was renovated by the last Khmer god-king Javayarman VII around the 13th century (between 1181-1218 AD), the builder of Angkor Wat.
Phimai Historical Park has a trail linking it to the World Heritage site of Angkor in Cambodia. Unlike the latter which was built as the final resting place for King Javayarman VII, most of the sandstone structures found in Thailand were built for religion rites that have their roots in Hinduism.