Thailand has a rich cultural heritage which is well preserved even today. Most parts of Thailand were under the reign of Khmer empire hence, many temples were built dedicated to the Hindu God of Lord Shiva. Stunning historical parks and temples reflect the powerful influence of this Hindu-Buddhist Empire that ruled across South East Asia in the Middle Age. Here are some of the most important Khmer Temples spread across Thailand.


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1. Muang Tam, Buriram

Muang Tam is a 1000-year old temple built in Angkor style that lies at the base of an extinct volcanic mountain. Situated in Buriram province in North East Thailand, this Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The corners of the pond inside the complex are adorned with large five-headed Naga snakes which make the place look magical. There are magnificent sandstone towers in the inner sanctuary. The main tower represents Mount Meru, the creator of the universe. It also contains a linga depicting the strength of Lord Shiva.

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When To Visit: Open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Entrance Fee: 100 baht per person.
How To Visit: Take a local bus from Buriram town to Nong Rong or Prakhon Chai. Hop on a local bike/taxi to reach the temple complex. 

2. Phanom Rung, Buriram

Officially known as Prasat Hin Phanom Rung, this temple is built on a hill with Muang Tam temple at the base within the same complex in Buriram province of Thailand. The hill symbolises Mount Kailash, a holy mountain which is also the abode of Lord Shiva. Shimmering under the bright sunlight, it is hard to miss the main tower made up of pink sandstone. Also, Phanom Rung festival is held each year on April 13th where the sunlight penetrates through all 15 pillars, creating a mystical aura around the temple. Dance and light shows are also held along with a magnificent display of fireworks.

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When To Visit: Open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Entrance Fee: 150 baht is valid for nearby Muang Tam as well.
How to Visit: Take a local bus from Buriram town to Nong Rong or Prakhon Chai. Hop on a local bike/taxi to reach the temple complex.

3. Prasat Hin Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima

Phimai displays some of the best architectural monuments in Thailand. Although Khmer dynasty followed Hinduism, this was constructed in Buddhist style of architecture. A man-made wonder where carved depictions from the Indian epic of Ramayana and stories of Lord Shiva can be seen along with the teachings of Buddha. While all Khmer temples face east, this temple is uniquely constructed in South East direction.

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When To Visit: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Entrance Fee: 100 baht per person for Phimai Historical Park.
How to Visit: On arriving at Nakhon Ratchasima, take a local bus to Phimai which is an hour journey of 60 km to the destination.

4. Prasat Sikhoraphum, Surin

Situated in the Surin province, this serene temple town derives its name from the Sanskrit word of Shikara – tower sanctuary. One of the largest and best-preserved complexes in Thailand, this temple has sandstone bas reliefs depicting Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Ganesh, and Uma. The most popular attraction is the bas relief at the entrance that depicts a dancing Shiva with 10 arms. Bas relief is a type of architectural design where individual figures, groups of figures, or entire scenes are cut into stone walls as sculpted images protruding from a background. Other works include the depiction of Naga snakes with three heads and the doors adorned with apsaras (angel) and devatas (God).

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When To Visit: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance Fee: 50 baht per person
How to Visit: A direct connecting train for 7 hours from Bangkok to the town of Sikhoraphum where this temple is located.

5. Sdok Kok Thom, Sa Kaeo

Paying homage to Shiva, this temple in the Sa Kaeo province also houses the sculpture of reclining Vishnu, another form of God from the Hindu mythology. The outer walls of the temple complex are surrounded by moats while the eastern side of the temple opens to the Gopura or the entrance gate. This temple preserves a 1000-year-old inscribed stele written in ancient Khmer language as well as in Sanskrit. It contains vital information about the families who constructed temples and provided services to the Khmer Kings.

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When To Visit: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance Fee: 50 baht per person
How To Visit: A train journey of 4-5 hours from Hualamphong station in Bangkok to the temple town of Aranyaprathet with tickets starting from 48 baht depending on the class.

6. Prasat Muang Sing, Kanchanaburi Province

This town was earlier used by the Khmer dynasty as a frontier wall to safeguard the empire from any attacks from the West. Muang Sing translating to ‘Lion City’ has river Khwae Noi running along its borders. The temple enshrines Mount Meru along with the linga depicting energy and strength.

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When to Visit: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Entrance Fee: 100 Thai Baht per person for entering the historical park.
How to Visit: A train journey of 4 hours from Thonburi station in Bangkok to Tha Kilen, which is 1 km from the historical park in Muang Sing.

7. Phra Prang Sam Yot, Lopburi

Lopburi town also called ‘Lavapura’ or ‘City of Lava’ not only attracts enthusiastic tourists but also a lot of crab-eating monkeys, which loiter all around the city. Originally constructed as a Hindu shrine consisting of three prangs — depicting the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva — it was later converted to a Buddhist temple. Built with intricate designs in Khmer style of architecture, this temple consists of towers adorned with stuccoed decorations. The doors have carvings from Indian and Thai mythology.

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When To Visit: Open from Wednesday till Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance Fee: 50 baht per person
How To Visit: A walkable distance from Lopburi station or hire a bicycle for 40 baht and enjoy the view of the old town.

8. Wat Kamphaeng Laeng, Phetchaburi

The complex of Wat Kamphaeng Laeng was initially built as a Hindu place of worship but got converted to a Buddhist temple. While most of the plastered walls have faded, some intricate flower motifs are still left behind. Tourists come to visit the modern ubosot – the ordination hall where the monks perform the rituals and kuti where the monks live. The main shrine houses an idol of Buddha in a seated position.

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When To Visit: Open daily for the entire day till sunset.
Entrance Fee: Admission is free
How To Visit: Hop on a songthaew, which is used as a local mode of transportation. Spot the temple on the Pho Karong road in Phetchaburi town.

Thailand is a pandora box of hidden treasures. It is a dream destination not just for the beach goers and the adventure seekers, but also for the tourists seeking spirituality from visiting the Khmer temples. Find peace and tranquility as you explore them while appreciating the historical importance of each of these architectural marvels.

The Free Trip Planning App for Thailand!

Highest Rated Travel Planning App on Android & iOS

If you want to avoid reading hundreds of articles like these to plan your trip, download Ithaka.

It is a fun way to discover Thailand and plan your entire trip by talking to someone who’s already been there and done that!

From helping you discover the coolest destinations to recommending activities, your travel buddy on Ithaka will help you plan your entire trip.

Download the App Now:

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