Historical with an added dash of modern-day style, the Buriram province is incomparable with its level of significance. It is a little strange place with some very distinctive features about it that I haven’t found anywhere else on my long travels to all sorts of other spots. Its name means ‘the city of happiness’ which is far from ironic as the place exudes an infectious energy that you can’t help but absorb. A little known fact by myself was that this province a thousand years ago was ruled by the Khmer Empire which is why you will find my ruins from that time still existing on the premises of this province. Imagine my shock and surprise when I found that out for the first time.
The province is a mix between so many things all at once and must be credited to the pure hard work of the citizens and everyone pitching in to make the place all the more diverse and exciting for everyone. I found a plethora of varying activities, places, and traditions that I have never heard of or seen before. Some of them included:
Khao Kradong Forest Park
If the province, on the whole, was not peculiar enough for me with its mere nature and history, the forest park of Khao Kradong was certainly the thing that did it. First, of to my utmost surprise, the forest park is not centered on a forest. It is centered on an extinct volcano and beside it is a plethora of trees, greenery, wildlife and much more. I found the wildlife particularly interesting as compared to greenery because of the diverse colors and species of animals there were. I got to see some of the most brilliantly colored parrots, fastest squirrels, and beetles in the deepest shade of holographic purple. It was almost like seeing a scene out of the Jungle Book come to life.
Apart from the forestry, many other things in the park caught my attention. The Phra Suphattharabophit, for instance, is said to be the core nature and symbolization of the province on the whole. There is a life-size version of Buddha built out of brick and cement measuring about 14 meters in length and it was first erected around this area to allow believers to worship in peace. Don’t be surprised if you see a bunch of locals bowing down in respect to it or calmly meditating by the foot of the place. Regardless of if I was a Buddhist or not, I found it respectful to the locals and their traditions to observe a moment of peace in honor of worshipping the Buddha. It was quite therapeutic, you should try it sometime!
If the volcano was the weirdest thing for me to see in this park, imagine how my curiosity and surprised peaked when I saw the Khao Kradong Crater. Extinct it is said to have an age of 300 to 900 thousand years. It looks like a half risen moon and is the youngest extinct crater in the entire of Thailand. What could be older than that?
According to the old traditions and beliefs of the Thais, I also got to enjoy the peace and blissful nature of the Faith Proved Bridge for Righteous People. More commonly known as the Naga Bridge because of the mystical water serpents that are carved into the railings. The water serpents make up a great part of the Thai culture and traditions since they believe it brings good luck. Hence, you will find sculptures of it positively everywhere where peace, happiness, and naturally good luck is needed. Can’t say it doesn’t work! The bridge is the entranceway to about 300 steps that lead right up to Khao Kradong where people like to worship the Phra Suphattharabophit.
Buriram Night Bazaar
I have been to my fair share of night bazaars during my life, and there was nothing positively striking or different about the one in Buriram. It was not aimed at tourists or foreigners as other bazaars usually do but instead, it was simple, humble and not too showy. There was a bunch of different fruit and vegetable vendors as well as meat sellers. On one side there was a variety of clothes and toys vendors as well. However, the most thing that struck my attention was the food stalls. I am a total diehard fan when it comes to traditional foods and getting the opportunity to taste the local food straight from the hands of locals. It was more visited for the food rather than everything else that is stocked there.
I loved the various types of food available from the stall owners like fried rice, fried dumplings, and grilled chicken and fish. I appreciated the relaxed and laidback atmosphere of this market as usually in other bazaars the desperate store owners are always shoving their merchandise in your face trying to entice you to buy it. However, that was not the case here and I got to taste some of the most delicious (spicy as well, beware) and cheapest food in all of Thailand. The vendors are always putting up sales for the food and you will get great quality grub for a price you can’t fathom. The variety of food available is also worth mentioning because it astounded me. Every stall had its fair amount of dishes and they all were different than one another.
There is a lake view seating for the people who just purchased their food as well as complimentary massagers who will give you the most relaxed experience after your meal. It was a fulfilling and humbling experience, to say the least.
Monsters Fishing Park of Buriram
This was a unique adventure! Surely one of the best ways to practice my fishing skills and still be able to save the environment and not feel too bad about killing anything. The park is very carefully crafted and its plan is one that I had seen for the first time. The lake was huge almost 8 km in length but not that deep; around 5 meters to say the most. All fishing equipment is provided by the park and way more than that as well.
For every fishing station, I found that the park’s owner had installed seating arrangements, TVs and even pool tables. It is a proper leisurely experience and one that can certainly never be passed up. On the park’s grounds is also a chalet with the bare requirements for anyone who would like to stay for a while. Kitchen, shower room, toilet as well as a bedding facility if you would like to lie down. I found it way more than just a fishing park as there were even cooking facilities like an oven and a BBQ grill. Perfect for families coming to for a weekend getaway, I, however, didn’t try out the appliances.
But I did try my hand in fishing and I got all the assistance that I could need from the ones responsible at the park. After I got my first grab of the day, they helped me unhook it very carefully and returned it to the water. That was how the procedure went with all the 8 catches I made. Since I was a beginner I needed some help in handling the fish, as they are quite expensive and no hurt should reach them! Or else, you will just have to pay the price of the fish if it dies or so. But the experts at hand make sure that the fish is unharmed and let free for another fishing day. Moreover, the fish are quite huge amounting up to 60 kg like the Arapaima.
Chang International Circuit (prev. Buriram United International Circuit)
I first got to know about the international circuit in Thailand 4 years ago when one of my Thai friends told me about it. I didn’t bother asking where exactly it was as I had no intention of ever visiting it. But fast forward to the present day, and after landing in Buriram I found time to phone up my Thai friend and we caught up. As I mentioned that I was currently in Buriram, he made a point of telling me to go up to visit the Chang International Circuit (as it is referred to now after the place made a sponsorship deal with some brewery in the area.
With my interest peaked to the maximum I found myself hastening to the establishment. It was spacious and huge to the point where its existence has brought Thailand international attention. This can all be credited to the Newin Chidchob; the local politician who invested around 2 billion baht in the construction of this arena. It was all because he wanted to bring global attention to Thailand’s sporting aspect thus garnering more attention to that. The objective was to portray Thailand as more than just a tourist spot for foreigners but that they can come in to watch some of the most engaging races and games.
And I can vouch for that to be entirely true, the motor sporting activities that take place in the arena are exciting and perfectly fascinating in their nature.