Phimai: Impressions and Photos

A small Thai town with a business district serving the surrounding communities and an 11th century Khmer temple that attracts tourists, Thai and foreigner alike.

It’s quiet at 10pm. No unmuffled scooters, no dogs fighting, no passing trains, no construction clang and bang. Quiet, as in having to actively listen to identify noises. Just another night in downtown Phimai where stores close at sundown and some of the night market stalls are packed up before 8pm.

It’s small so I walk. Only reason to take a moto taxi is to reduce sun exposure. The combo of two story buildings and awnings means one side of the street shaded much of the day.

It’s off season. Saw less than 10 foreigners during a two night stay.

Virtually all the signs are in Thai. Exceptions include the hotel, guesthouses and brand advertising.

I’m was walking across the stone bridge that is part of the formal entry to the temple and remembered. Stopped and turned 180 degrees to contemplate that this temple entry, like the others in the region built during the era, all point to Angkor Wat. The temple was the reason to come to Phimai.

Despite having been an avid museum fan most of my life the stonework of SE Asia has never had much appeal. Wondered before this trip if seeing it in it’s original form would make a difference. It did. Not of the asetherics, but of the presence. It’s size, formal symmetric layout and copious religious imagry all contributed to a sense of … I’m not sure what to call it. Don’t have a name for a combination of a bit of awe, a dash of humble, some serenity with a base note of respect.

My photography skills couldn’t capture that. Anyway, my favorites are below, and the rest are here.




The hood-like structure over the Buddha statue is the remains of a Nāga

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