Buriram is a city undergoing rapid development and in recent years has become a key player in the Thai tourist market. It boasts one of Thailand’s top football/soccer teams, Buriram United, and is home to some of the country’s best Muay Thai fighters. Aside from being a Thai sports hub, Buriram city and the surrounding Buriram province offer a variety of attractions for local and foreign tourists alike. To accommodate the growing tourist market, Buriram offers an array of well maintained, often newly built hotels, resorts and guesthouses.
Here’s a breakdown of things to do in Buriram city and in Buriram province. To help you in your travel plans, I’ve included a Buriram city map and a map of Buriram province. Also visit my post on how to book a hotel in Buriram.
Buriram Tourist Attractions
The city of Buriram, once under the Khmer Empire, is conveniently located near Khao Kradong, an extinct volcano, forest park, and reservoir; and the Hindu ruins of Phanom Rung. Additionally, like most places in Thailand, Buriram hosts a large number of festivals throughout the city and countryside.
Phrachao Yai Wat Hong Homage – Paying Fair
This festival is held in Amphoe Phutthaisong (Phutthaisong district) from the 14th day of the waxing moon to the 1st day of the waning moon, in the 3rd lunar month of every year. It is a festival to pay homage to the Phrachao Yai, a highly revered Buddha image of the people of Buriram. The event lasts 3 days with numerous merit-making ceremonies and fun-filled activities including applying gold leaf to Phrachao Yai.
Buddha’s Footprint Homage – Paying Fair
This festival is held on the day of the full moon during the 3rd lunar month. A large number of the local population visit Khao Kradong (info below) to pay homage to a replica of the Buddha’s footprint and the Phra Suphattharabophit image whilst enjoying the big celebration.
Phanom Rung Fair
Phanom Rung Historical Park was once a sacred Hindu shrine which was later changed into a religious site for Buddhists. During the time it was deserted, a replica of the Buddha’s footprint was taken to be enshrined at Prang Noi (the minor sanctuary onsite). It has become a tradition for local people to pay respect to the Buddha’s footprint and put gold leaf on it. Annually, on the day of the full moon of the 5th lunar month, there is a festival to pay respect to the site. Buriram province also organizes an annual festival on the first weekends of April when a colourful parade is held as well as a sound and light show at the site. The festivals at Phanom Rung are incredibly popular and it is recommended to book a hotel room near the site in advance.
More info on Phanom Rung Historical Park below. You can also read a piece I wrote on it here.
Buriram Long Boat Races
Held in in Amphoe Sateuk (Sateuk district), the long boat races are organized annually on the first weekend of November when the Mun River is high. Oarsmen from Buriram and other nearby provinces gather to compete. There are about 40 to 50 boats in the competition and there a parade during the event. Boat racing was once a traditional festival celebrated among friends and relatives to pay homage to Chaopho Wang Krut, a spirit named after a whirlpool in the Mun River. Since 1986, it has become a festival of the province.
Isaan Kite Festival
The Isaan kite festival is held yearly in Amphoe Huai Rat (Huai Rat district) on the first weekend of December, or during the harvest season when the cold northeastern wind blows. At this time of year, local people make “aek” kites, a traditional kite of the Northeastern people. There is a colourful kite parade, folk performances and plenty of opportunity to purchase local products. There is also a kite competition among locals. A kite is judged based on the beauty of its design, the sound of the “aek” (a sound making device attached to the kite), and the way it floats in the sky.
These are but a few of the festivals in Buriram city and Buriram province. When I lived there, it felt as though there was a festival of sorts almost every week and definitely every full moon!
Khao Kradong Forest Park and Reservoir
Khao Kradong is an extinct, 265 meters high volcano, located 6 kilometres from Buriram city on the Buriram-Prakhon Chai road (Highway No. 219). It is incredibly easy to get to from Buriram city by vehicle, including motorbike.
Khao Kradong’s peak offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area; it also showcases Phra Suphattharabophit, the golden Buddha. To reach it by walking, you can take the steps leading up the volcano. They are hard to miss and there is a car park/parking lot at the volcano’s base. You may also walk up the road which winds up Khao Kradong. The road is also suitable for vehicles and there is a car park near Khao Kradong’s peak. To reach the road, veer right upon entering the grounds.
The peaceful Kradong Reservoir is located below Khao Kradong. Upon entering the grounds, travel on the road to your left. It is easily accessed by foot and vehicle.
Phanom Rung Historical Park
Located in the Chalerm Prakiat district and the Tapek sub-district, Phanom Rung Historical Park is the most popular tourist attraction in Buriram province, mainly amongst Thai tourists. Dating back to the 10th and 13th centuries, Phanom Rung was originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and is rumoured to be the prototype for Angkor Wat in nearby Cambodia.If you have time to visit only one site in Buriram, I recommend visiting Phanom Rung.
For more information, here’s a post I wrote on Phanom Rung Historical Park. It includes hours of operation, annual festival dates, and information on hotels near the historic site.
Other Buriram Attractions with Distances from Buriram City
Often, attractions in Buriram aren’t marked with signage indicating location and should a sign exist, it may not be in English language. I recommend speaking to locals for specific directions to those locations listed below without directions and/or outbound links.
Ang Kep Nam Sanam Bin Reservoir – 36 km from Buriram City
Ang Kep Nam Sanam Bin Reservoir is located on the way to Amphoe Prakhon Chai. The reservoir is know for its bird watching, particularly between the months of November to April. The reservoir’s office is located on the left side of the road. Please note that hunting is not allowed.
Ancient Kiln Site – 75 km from Buriram City
Archaeologists found ancient kilns and ceramics during their surveys in this location. The kilns date from around the 9th and 10th centuries and served as a production centre for Khmer ceramic producers. Ceramics built on location supplied other communities in the region.
Ancient Stone Quarry – 71 km from Buriram City
This quarry was used by the ancient Khmer to source construction materials for their Hindu sanctuaries in the lower Northeastern region of Isaan. The quarry is located 7 km from Amphoe Ban Kruat (Ban Kruat district) on the Ban Kruat-Lahan Sai Road.
Big Buddha Image (Phra Phuttharup Patima Santayaphirom Sateuk Udom Ratsadon Nimitmanin) – 40 km from Buriram City
The large standing Big Buddha is located of the bank of the Mun River, in Satuek, opposite the Satuek District Office.
Huai Talat Reservoir and Buriram Bird Park – 12 km from Buriram City
More than 100 species of birds live in the area during the dry season, which lasts from November to April. To get there, take Road 219 (Buriram to Prakhon Chai Road) for 12 kilometres and take the road that you see on your left, for 2 kilometres.
Ku Suan Taeng – 74 km from Buriram City
Ku Suan Taeng is a Khmer architectural site made of three brick prangs, lying from north to south, on the same laterite base.
Lam Nang Rong Dam – 114 km from Buriram City
The Lam Nang Rong Dam is an earthen dam with an asphalt road along the crest. The view is expansive. It is located in Amphoe Non Din Daeng (Non Din Daeng district).
The Monument of King Rama – located in Buriram City
This beautifully crafted monument was built in 1996 to honour King Rama I who founded the city of Buriram while he was serving as Somdet Phraya Maha Kasatsuek. It is found on Road 219, leading to Prakhon Chai and acts as the centre of a roundabout.
Phra Chao Yai Wat Hong – 67 km from Buriram City
Phra Chao Yai Wat Hong is an old Lao-style Buddha image in the posture of subduing Mara. It was built during the late Ayutthaya period. It is located Amphoe Phutthaisong (Phutthaisong district).
Prasat Hin Mueang Tam – 62 km from Buriram City
Prasat Hin Mueang Tam is a Khmer-period sanctuary with outstanding architecture located in the Prakhon Chai district.
Prasat Nong Hong – 114 km from Buriram City
Prasat Nong Hong is a small Khmer archaeological site of three prangs made from brick on a single laterite base. It is located near the Laem Nang Rong dam. The site dates from the 16th Buddhist century.
Prasat Wat Khok Ngio – 76 km from Buriram City
Prasat Wat Khok Ngio is a Khmer stone sanctuary located behind Wat Khok Ngio. It once served as a local health office during the Khmer empire and was built in the 18th Buddhist century. Prasat Wat Khok Ngio is located on Highways 218 and 348. Opening hours: Daily 9am-5pm.
Rao Su Monument – 100 km from Buriram City
Rao Su Monument was built in 1979 to commemorate the bravery of the civilians, police officers and soldiers who lost their lives during battles with communists in the area. It is located in Non Din Daeng.
Silk Weaving Village of Amphoe Na Pho – 78 km from Buriram City
Amphoe Na Pho is a silk weaving village, specializing is Mudmi silk which is also available for purchase. The village has received support for the development of skills, the standard of production, and their patterns and colours from the Royal Folk Arts and Craft Centre under the royal patronage of HM Queen Sirikit. It is well worth the visit.
Thung Laem Reservoir – Distance from Buriram City Unknown (at Time of Writing)
This small reservoir houses shelters for rest and relaxation. Many species of waterfowl can be found here during the dry season from November until April. Thung Laem Reservoir is located beside Highway No.24. It is 4 km. from Amphoe Nang Rong at the Ban Hak intersection.
Wat Khao Angkhan – 70 km from Buriram City
Wat Khao Angkhan is made of ruins of ancient buildings and sandstone boundary markers which date back to the pre-Khmer Dvaravati period. It is one of the most important temples in the province. Modern buildings are also on site including a Chinese style pagoda and modern Khmer style buildings.