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Southeast Asia Travel News

The Southeast Asia Travel Specialists Since 1999

Photos and brief descriptions of some of the Khmer artefacts in the National Museum Bangkok originating from Angkorian and pre-Angkorian period temples in present-day Thailand. Bear in mind, of course, that the museum only displays a fraction of its myriad exhibits at any one time and there are certainly far, far more such artefacts in storage. Lintels Fragment of an…

Although inscribed on UNESCO’s Thailand world heritage list as far back as 1991 the ancient city of Si Satchanalai remains firmly in the shadow of its better-known and more frequently visited neighbour Sukhothai. Indeed, the extensive ruins don’t even get a namecheck, merely falling into UNESCO’s category of ‘associated historic towns‘. (1) Si Satchanalai Historical Park today – combined with…

Thailand’s UNESCO entry Sukhothai shares a triple bill with the ruins of Kamphaeng Phet, to the west, and the ancient city of Si Satchanalai to the north under the combined (and imaginative) name of Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns. The former lies some 80 kilometres southwest of Sukhothai and the latter over 50 kilometres north and while…

Came across this nameless Angkor period ruined temple whilst poking around in some villages outside of Siem Reap recently: even the locals didn’t have a name for it and though these days the few remaining stones scattered across the grounds of a contemporary Buddhist don’t really merit the term ‘temple’ it’s interesting to think that even these meagre remains once…

The stunning sandstone lintel below – from Sikhoraphum, Surin, Thailand – is an astonishingly well-preserved example of Angkor carving with sharp detail, deep relief and complex and intricate subject matter; – a masterpiece and certainly representing an incredible amount of work! Furthermore, its creation was undoubtedly even more complicated than you would imagine. It wasn’t just a case of a…

The term Tai describes the broad ethnic group (the Tai-Kadai linguistic family) which includes the Thai (Siamese), Lao, Shan, Northern Thai, Thai Lu, Red Tai, White Tai etc who occupy a wide band of Asia from the Assam region of India, through southern China, Burma’s Shan States, Laos, Northern Vietnam and of course Thailand itself. We touched on the migration…

Whilst Tai groups had probably been gradually infiltrating southwards into what is now northern Vietnam, Laos and Thailand for several centuries from their homeland in Southern China the migration of Tai groups into Southeast Asia was hastened during the late 12th- and 13th-centuries as the Mongol armies under Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan extended their empire southwards. Ethnic Tai clans…

A Kutisvara update in the light of a couple of precisions regarding our recent post on Angkor’s Kutisvara Temple from some interesting feedback we received. Firstly, whilst several prominent archaeologists, such as Coedes and Jacques have ascribed the central tower, pictured above, to the Jayavarman II/Preah Ko style, according to the E.F.E.O. (École Française d’Extrême-Orient) there is no conclusive evidence…

As with Ak Yum, Kutisvara temple is another of those minor Angkor temples whose historical importance is equalled by its lack of tourist cachet! The 3 unspectacular and ruined brick towers are never going to get 5* in any temple guide but it is considered by many historians to be the oldest temple in the entire central Angkor area, so…

The Angkor Royal Enclosure is a walled-off area slightly to the north and west of the centre of Angkor Tom and which housed the palace complex of the Angkor kings. The palace itself was constructed of wood so nothing remains except for said surrounding walls which were constructed out of laterite, the sandstone-clad entrance gopuras and some stone-lined bathing pools. …

Prasart Sikhoraphum is a small yet remarkably well-preserved brick, laterite and sandstone Hindu temple complex dating from the 11th century and lying just east of SurinTown in northeastern Thailand. (The exact reign is unknown but the early 11th-century kings Suryavarman I or Udayadityavarman II look like good suspects. Some descriptions we’ve come across assign the temple to the Suryavarman II…

Little do most people realise when they’re whizzing along in their bright blue bus that many important routes in Thailand’s impressive 21st-century road network follow the traces of, and are built over the top of, ancient roads dating from the Angkor period. (As for example with England’s road infrastructure and the Romans.) The extensive Angkor road network covered not only…

The tiny, but well preserved Prasart Phnom Ngok or Chnork in Kampot Province is probably the best candidate for Cambodia’s oldest temple (or at least reasonably intact oldest temple. It clocks in at some 1,600 – 1,700 years (estimates do vary). That’s nearly twice as old as Angkor Wat! A brief history With the expansion of the Chenla kingdom, from…

“Though the identity of Bakheng Temple (or Phnom Bakheng) is today firmly established, the place hardly gets the respect it deserves…..Late every afternoon, just before sunset, crowds troop up the hill, on foot or by elephant at 20 dollars a ride. Then they climb the temple’s steps to the standing room only, plaza-like upper tier. …….Then they throng back down…

Although he seems to have been on the throne for a fair while, very little is actually known about Jayavarman III – so certainly one of Angkor’s most obscure rulers but not necessarily the lightweight he’s often portrayed to be. Son of J II, born in Hariharalaya as Jayavardhana – that much is known. Dates for his father’s death vary…

Chau Srei Vibol. Oddly enough my 5-year-old’s favourite Angkor temple!? We were ready to go back to Siem Reap for a cold one whilst she was still taking ‘just one more photo’. Not quite sure why she liked the rarely-visited Chau Srei Vibol so much – maybe all the trees and the hilly terrain  – though even at her age…