Cycling Khorat to Surin
The complex was build in the 11th and 12th century. It is a Hindu complex dedicated to the Indian god Shiva that (imho) rivals some of the best Khmer temples in Angkor.
The craters of the volcano on which the complex is build were used by the Khmers to build water reservoirs.
The construction of the temple can be divided in 4 phases: Koh Ker, Angkor Wat, Bapoun and Bayon.
The eastern wall as I saw it in 2001
Although the temple originally was build as a Shiva Hindu complex, during the 4th (Bayon style) phase it was converted into a Buddhist complex. This was because Jayavarman VII (1181 - ca. 1220 AD) was a devote Buddhist. He added so called libraries to the complex (which show the Bayon style).
Entry to the park is as usual, B100. There are small stalls at the car park.
8 km from Phanom Rung is Muang Tam. You have to cycle down a few km to the main road. There's a junction to Muang Tam. A few km further you will pass an artificial lake with the complex build next to it.
The complex is slightly older than Phanom Rung (10th-11th century) but is also dedicated to Shiva. It has a main sanctuary and two libraries. The plan of the complex is quite large but the buildings themselves are not that extensive. Nevertheless, it would be a shame to be here, visit Phanom Rung and skip Muang Tam. It is certainly worth it.
The road to Surin
Have you stayed at Phanom Rung, it will be the next leg, otherwise it will be another tiring 60km to Surin. Alternat9ive it might be an easier job to make it a day trip from Buri Ram.
For going to Surin, I recommend to cycle back to Prakhon Chai and take the road to Buri Ram (219). Just after the main junction you will find a junction which leads directly to Surin (Charak Yai). It's an almost empty road. Once you're back on the 226, it's another 12 or so km to Surin.
The city is famous for the annual elephant roundup. This is also the time you really NEED to book your hotel in advance, otherwise there's no need. Although the city is hardly of any further interest, you will everywhere signs of the elephant roundup. And just north of the city, there is an elephant training center.
In the city there is a small new temple build in Khmer style. It gives you an idea what the temple ruins might have looked like in the days of the Khmer empire.
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One of the must visit sites in north east Thailand is Phimai Historical Park where you can see one of the best preserved and largest Khmer complexes in the country.
Cycling in Thailand
Of all Asian countries Thailand is probably one of the easiest, if not the easiest of all to start a bicycle adventure.
With plenty of people speaking English, good food, spectacular sights, beaches, diving, good weather, bicycle shops available and people used to "crazy" foreigner on bicycle, Thailand has "it"