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  1. #1
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    Ancient Khmer Ruins Tour: Sisaket and Surin.

    Well perhaps not ancient, but ranging from their 9th Century Khmer period.

    I recently did a tour of Isaan which included one day touring the Khmer ruins of Sisaket and one day touring the Khmer ruins of Surin.

    Sisaket:



    Which interestingly enough also brought me 1/2 a Km or so into Cambodia on a few occasions.



    One thing I love about biking around the Border regions of Burma and Cambodia is crossing over into the countries while out on the back roads, there's some quite romantic about covertly crossing over into these exotic and far flung states while riding through ancient villages that really only exist in Vietnam war movies to most Westerners... Anyway.

    I began by heading into Phra Wihan National Park to see if I could sneak up to the temple. And also enjoy the twisting mountain roads, look over Pa Mo I-Daeng and head down to the oldest Buddist reliefs in Thailand (?) and explore a bit too.


    The view of Cambodia from on top of Pa Mo I-Daeng cliff.



    Down over the cliff face to the oldest bas reliefs in Thailand, I think.



    Off exploring on a road, Thailand: Green, Cambodia: White.



    Nowadays I wonder how I ever lived without a GPS. Funny how things change.

    On top of the cliff in the army camp.




    Still a no go to the actual temple.

    But the start of a great day's riding and exploring under clear blue skies and fresh clean air.

  2. #2
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    Prasat Don Tuan. Cambodia.

    A link of the tour on Google Maps if anyone wants to check a place.

    Sisaket Khmer Ruins Tour.

    So into Cambodia to Prasat Don Tuan. Circa 10th and 11th C.









    Inside:




    Last edited by Chairman Mao; 08-11-2012 at 11:35 PM.

  3. #3
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    Namtok Samrong Kiat Waterfall.

    Fancy a place to kip for a few days/months/years?



    Not bad riding scenery.





    Interesting tale. Sounds like there were some parties going on in time gone past.







    Time for some chicken claw breakfast.



    And a mighty fine chicken claw it was too.

  4. #4
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    nice thread, thought there would be at least one pic with the bike in it

  5. #5
    Member sranchito's Avatar
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    Cool pics. Can't wait to get back to Isaan and tour around like that. There is so much to see. As long as its not rice planting or harvest season, I'll have plenty of time on my hands. Will have to take a month off from chicken fightin. Quite sure it won't kill me. Been doing that since '89.

  6. #6
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    Prasat Hin Ban Samo.

    A nice ride away and through the lovely Khun Han, a lovely, quaint little town, it was on to Prasat Hin Ban Samo.

    Circa late 9th Century and built by Jayavarman VII.







    Just outside the temple, beer and fishing anyone?



    Turn around:



    Inside:






    Making friends with some locals:



    Adding pebbles, stones and large rocks to their rice.



    Will finish off the Sisaket Khmer Ruins tomorrow, and do Surin as well.

    Also did a waterfall tour of Ubon Ratchathani I'll post up sometime.

  7. #7
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    People might also be interested in this 3 day mini-tour I did of Southern Isaan, taking in Prasat Hin Phi Mai in Khorat and Phanom Rung in Buriram.

    http://teakdoor.com/north-east-thail...ern-isaan.html (3 Day Mini-Tour - Southern Isaan.)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chairman Mao
    Also did a waterfall tour of Ubon Ratchathani I'll post up sometime.
    Would be interested to see CM, did the Pa Mo I-Daeng trip myself last month.

  9. #9
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    for people with own transport doing a border run to aranyaprathet-poipet, there are two old sites nearby, both well signposted

    Prasat Chumpu or Prasat Noi Sri Chompoo is 12km south from Aranyaprathet, it is dated at 644AD, being slowly restored by a small team of cambodians even though a few km inside thai border
    pics here on a thaisite click this


    About 35km northish of aranyaprathet is saddok kokthom a mini angkor wat - it was on the road between angkor wat and phimai, same era 10th century wiki has it Sdok Kok Thom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



    easy to visit both if you've got a car, the second one signposted access various roads off the highway to the border
    no entry to either of these places. stay on paths at skt, was landmined by khmer rouge. cleared?

  10. #10
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    Nice thread green sent. I have to admit I got the wrong gist when I misread the title.

    My first thought was, that is SO typical of the Ancient Khmers. Always ruining tours.

  11. #11
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    Prasat Ta Leng.

    Right on the border of Surin I stopped off at Prasat Ta Leng.

    It really was in the middle (actually at the end of) of a village in the middle of nowhere. Would never have found it without my GPS.


    Located in Moo 6 Ban Prasat, Tambon Kanthararom, Ta Leng Khmer Ruins features a single stupa standing on the base. The stupa has rectangular base facing east. Presently, only the front wall and some side walls remain. The front door is the real door while the other three are fault doors. Pillars by the front door are delicately carved. The ruins was built in 11th-12th Century.

    Many lintels are found scattering. The lintel at the northern gate depicts God Indra on Erawan Heavenly Elephant in the frame over kirtimukha. God Indra encarved in that lintel just took garland out of his mouth and holding it with both hands. Other lintels feature the same depiction except one depicting 7 hermits sitting in line during practicing meditation. From such architecture and art style, Taseng Khmer Ruins was built in Bapuan style during the year 1017- 1087.
    http://www.hotsia.com/sisaket/ta%20l...%20ruins.shtml





    In all of these places you'll be the only person about, and it will usually be pin drop quiet. Nice to sit, have some water, and have a good nose around.

    I'd like to have taken some tracing paper and held it against some of the lintel carvings then rubbed over it with a crayon or something to keep at home.

    Could stick it up over my doorways and have 10th Century Khmer art above me when I walk around my house.

  12. #12
    Member BillyBobThai's Avatar
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    Like your pictures, but who gives a shit if you have a GPS.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by trabant View Post
    for people with own transport doing a border run to aranyaprathet-poipet, there are two old sites nearby, both well signposted

    Prasat Chumpu or Prasat Noi Sri Chompoo is 12km south from Aranyaprathet, it is dated at 644AD, being slowly restored by a small team of cambodians even though a few km inside thai border

    About 35km northish of aranyaprathet is saddok kokthom a mini angkor wat - it was on the road between angkor wat and phimai, same era 10th century wiki has it

    easy to visit both if you've got a car, the second one signposted access various roads off the highway to the border
    no entry to either of these places. stay on paths at skt, was landmined by khmer rouge. cleared?
    Thanks Trabant.

    Sounds like a nice 1 or 2 day ride from BKK. BKK to the ruins, then up through Khao Yai on the 304, then loop around and back through Khao Yai on the 3077 and back to BKK.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBobThai View Post
    Like your pictures, but who gives a shit if you have a GPS.
    Sorry, just pointing out that most of these aren't on maps or have any signposts.

    Without a GPS it's not likely you'll find them, or even know about them.

    Go anywhere in Isaan and hit the 'Historic Landmarks' button and it'll light up like an x-mas tree. Look at your paper map and... nothing.

  15. #15
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    Prasat Prang Ku.

    Just down the road and outside another little village are the three pagodas of Prasat Prang Ku. Circa 11th C.





    Bring a large sheet of tracing paper if you go there.




  16. #16
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    Lovely pics Mao

    What model is your GPS? I'm looking for a new one as the one I have at the moment is terrible, I can't see the screen at all in the sunlight.

  17. #17
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    Prasat Wat Sa Kampaeng Yai.

    On the road through lovely Isaan.



    And on to Prasat Wat sa Kampaeng Yai.

    Which as the name suggests, is a big ass temple complex.

    This large Khmer sanctuary has 3 pagodas on the same base. The main pagoda is the middle one built of sandstone and bricks. Its beautiful shape is still intact. Lintels, Buddha images, fired clay Buddha image prints, and bronze artwork have been found here. This sanctuary was built in the 16th Buddhist century as an offering to the god Shiva. It was later transformed into a Buddhist temple in the Mahayana sect in the 18th Buddhist century.


    I like the shadows on this one.











    Big Brother.





    I don't know either.










    And on that note it was time for a massage parlour and decent scrub down. Food. And back to base. Think the next day was a tour of Ubon Ratchathani's waterfalls, but will stick the Khmer Ruins Tour of Surin on to this.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satonic View Post
    Lovely pics Mao

    What model is your GPS? I'm looking for a new one as the one I have at the moment is terrible, I can't see the screen at all in the sunlight.
    Cheers.

    I only have an old dusty Garmin Nuvi 1350 (I think) that gets put on when I'm leaving BKK. Which isn't that often nowadays.

    I have a tinted windscreen on the bike that comes over the RAM mount that's through the steering stem when it's bent down flat, so it's usually alright in the sunshine.

  19. #19
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    Yep, I also don't get out of Bangkok anywhere near as often as I used to / should do.

    Can't green you at the mo but thanks for sharing the pics

  20. #20
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    Nice thread Mao, out of greens at the moment,


  21. #21
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    Some info about the Khmer Empire.

    hmer Empire (kəmĕrˈ) [key], ancient kingdom of SE Asia. In the 6th cent. the Cambodians, or Khmers, established an empire roughly corresponding to modern Cambodia and Laos. Divided during the 8th cent., it was reunited under the rule of Jayavarman II in the early 9th cent.; the capital was established in the area of Angkor by the king Yasovarman I (r. 889–900). The Angkor period (889–1434), the golden age of Khmer civilization, saw the empire at its greatest extent; it held sway over the valleys of the lower Menam (in present-day Thailand) and the lower Mekong (present-day Cambodia and Vietnam), as well as N into Laos.

    The Khmer civilization was largely formed by Indian cultural influences. Buddhism flourished side by side with the worship of Shiva and of other Hindu gods, while both religions coalesced with the cult of the deified king. In the Angkor period many Indian scholars, artists, and religious teachers were attracted to the Khmer court, and Sanskrit literature flourished with royal patronage.

    The great achievement of the Khmers was in architecture and sculpture. The earliest known Khmer monuments, isolated towers of brick, probably date from the 7th cent. Small temples set on stepped pyramids next appeared. The development of covered galleries led gradually to a great elaboration of plan. Brick was largely abandoned in favor of stone. Khmer architecture reached its height with the construction of Angkor Wat by Suryavarman II (r. 1113–50) and Angkor Thom by Jayavarman VII (r. 1181–c.1218). Sculpture, which also prospered at Angkor, showed a steady development from relative naturalism to a more conventionalized technique. Bas-reliefs, lacking in the earliest monuments, came to overshadow in importance statues in the round; in the later stages of Khmer art hardly a wall was left bare of bas-reliefs, which conveyed in the richness of their detail and vitality a vivid picture of Khmer life.

    The Khmers fought repeated wars against the Annamese (see Annam) and the Chams; in the early 12th cent. they invaded Champa, but, in 1177, Angkor was sacked by the Chams. After the founding of Ayuthia (c.1350), Cambodia was subjected to repeated invasions from Thailand, and the Khmer power declined. In 1434, after the Thai captured Angkor, the capital was transferred to Phnom Penh; this event marks the end of the brilliance of the Khmer civilization.

    Read more: Khmer Empire — Infoplease.com Khmer Empire — Infoplease.com

    Khmer Empire - New World Encyclopedia


  22. #22
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    This will be quite a long thread, before I continue with the Khmer Ruins of Surin, some of the sunsets in Isaan.




  23. #23
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    And some other pics from around the tour:

    Coming through Khao Yai and playing chicken with the monkeys.





    Soon to be a 'chicken claw breakfast' in some village.



    Invited to a pig face eating ceremony which including going back in time 1000 years or so.









    Exploring and adventuring.



    Anyway, back to the tour.



    Surin Sites.



    Khmer Ruins Surin Map.
    Last edited by Chairman Mao; 10-11-2012 at 01:34 PM.

  24. #24
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    Prasat Phu Fai.

    Actually still in Sisaket on the way to Surin, this is well off the main roads and is based on a big hill completely surrounded by the billard-table flat Isaan plateau. (Khorat Plateau to be name specific).

    It was still early so gave it a go and figured it couldn't be that high up.

    Met some lovely old village workers building a proper track up to it.



    Man it was tough going. Lost at least 10-15Kg's in the ascent alone.

    Finally got to the top.

    I'm not saying it wasn't good or anything, I just thought, you know, it might be a little bigger.




    Nice place to sit and relax.



    Even had a protruding sit for you to sit on.



    Gotta give a go eh.



    Another trek along the ridge and you get to a big, ancient square wall.



    Don't know much else about it.

    Time to get back to the bike, find a shop, and drink their entire stock of bottled water.

  25. #25
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    Wat Phrai Bung.

    Through a nice round about in a nice town



    and onto a big white Wat I could see from the top of Pr. Phu Fai.







    And a nice dancing troupe making 'Gathin' along the road.



    Hit them Gangnam style.







    It was either 1000b or 80b.

    She seemed pretty unemotive at the 4 green notes from the rich farang.





    A ride to Angkor Wat? How cool does that sound. Perhaps next time.

    Interesting to see the Thais call Angkor Wat 'Nakorn Wat'.
    Last edited by Chairman Mao; 10-11-2012 at 02:33 PM.

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