Buriram, Thailand

Buriram "the city of happiness" sure did live up to its name when I visited. I was up to visit my good friends Jayke and his far more intelligent better half the lovely Pookie. Above is the Rama I Roundabout a landmark I saw more than any other. Even though Buriram City is relatively small - every time out with Jayke driving he'd get lost - continue on without a care until we eventually came to this intersection. Then we'd start off for the desired destination once again. If it wasn't for this landmark - Jayke would still be driving around lost and trying to find his way home.

Buriram center city was originally a defensive position surrounded by a cannel - more visible as such from a satellite view. Around town most of the remaining cannel areas are fixed nicely as park areas. Spent a lot of time downtown with Jayke visiting the three temples he knows of - the three western style bars in town - regular hangouts for the expats in the area. Laid back atmosphere and although no darts were available I really enjoyed these Buriram watering holes especially with far cheaper prices than Bangkok.

I can't say that I'd like to live in Buriram but it sure was a really nice break from Bangkok. The people are so friendly and the smiles genuine not just a novelty like so many places with tourists. Walking around with a large camera - people invited me to photograph them - their families and businesses. Small children would muster up the courage to practice their English - saying hello to a rare foreigner. I can now understand why all the Thais I know from Buriram are always anxious to get back to this place of happiness for a visit.

Adjacent to Wat (temple) Klang is the City Pillar Shrine - photo left. Pookie & Jayke at the bus station - center photo. And Chao Phor Lak Mueng Shrine - photo right - although a small Chinese shrine it was a great place to go shopping for area graphics seen here.

Describing the order of photos in the accompanying Buriram Photo Gallery starts off with pics from around the downtown or center city area. Included are some landmarks like city hall and the university where Pookie continues to study. Also some photos from the true hub - the bus station. Considering that Buriram is one of the largest and most populated provinces in the northeastern Isan area  - the bus station is far more active than their local airport. Bus transportation is absolutely great in Thailand - frequent running busses that include first class busses and cheaper by far than infrequent flights.
Khao Kra Dong Volcano is a forest park probably best know for the Big Buddha statue (Phra Suphattharabophit) that sits atop it. Khao Kra Dong is an extinct volcano that is 265 meters high. Seen some big Buddha statues in Thailand but this one of the larger. An impressive view from the top with Buriram city in the distance - about 6 clicks. Easily visible from here is the nearby "i-mobile Stadium" and at the time I was there both Buriram football teams played there but PEA has since built their own stadium. To say that folks from Buriram are football crazy understates the fact.

NOTE - I call "soccer" football as does the rest of the world. I personally don't care for either game (soccer or American football) but really have to wonder why America calls their favorite sport football when it has little to do with the foot and the rest of the world had already been calling their game football decades before.
The Buriram Night Market is one happening place - actually one of the few places anything happens after it gets dark. I was most impressed by the warmth of the locals not only allowing me to photograph their market stalls but calling me back for more shots with family and friends. One large area was mainly fresh produce and the other area a place where all kinds of delicious foods await you.

Buriram Train Station faces the Clock Tower intersection and I was lucky enough to have one of those perfect blue sky days. The station area also attracts a number of food vendors. Although there's little night life to speak of - early evening after the heat diminishes it's a bustle of activity with people out and about. We drove around a track crossing for some shots from the back side of the train station.
From the back side of the train station Jayke spotted the top of a temple in the neighborhood where Pookie's Mom lives. This local well maintained temple had a variety of different statues and even an area where statues are constructed by the monks. After the main body of the statue is cast the monks then finish the details affixing mortar molded featured parts to the statues before they are then ready for painting.

About 120km south of the Buriram City are Phanomrung and Prasat Muang Tam - Khmer temples   in Buriram province near the border of Cambodia. Built over 1000 years ago these temples are the furthest extension of the huge Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia - remains of buildings of the once powerful Khmer Empire. Unfortunately the area of these two temples is often in the news now days not because of its rich historical value but of conflicts of control over these temple areas between Cambodia and Thailand. The only armies we saw on the day we visited were  busloads of school kids. I toured Angkor Wat a few years ago with my Dad and plan to eventually get those many photos posted. Angkor Wat is truly one of the most amazing archeological finds in the world and how it fails to even get mention in western history books is a real mystery to me.
Lost with Jayke - actually have to admit that with Jayke at the wheel driving around and getting lost wasn't all that bad. In fact - it got us to some way out of the way destinations never mentioned in any travel books. We'd just keep driving until we came on something to photograph or a Mom & Pop store selling cold beer. That's how we happened into the small village of Huai Rat. The fact that we sat there drinking beer with a purpose and unconcerned about where we were seem to confuse the locals - even more than Jayke's less than proficient Thai language ability. Finding our way back to Buriram City always meant a stop into a most pleasant open-air Thai style karaoke bar serving pitchers of Chang Draught Beer.

Jayke's attempt to expand my culinary appreciation of UK delicates met with some success. Having just read Luke Jennings's "Blood Knots" a great book of fathers, friendship & fishing from the UK with regular mention of Branson's Pickle Sandwiches had peaked my interest and Jayke's sandwich entry not only met but surpassed my expectations of one great sandwich. His attempt at preparing black pudding, chips and mushy peas was nothing to write home about but something I'll try again if it's on the menu with a sober cook. The trips down to the local chippie were first rate with fish & chips far better than anything available in Bangkok.

I'd like to thank my good friends Pookie & Jayke for their fine hospitably. Pookie is a first rate Buriram guide that can drive directly to any desired landmark. Jayke - well he gets lost a lot and you get to see a lot of the Rama I Roundabout but many interesting unplanned locations as well.

To go directly to a photo gallery corresponding to this page - click the above link.