Buriram is one of Thailand's 76 provinces and is located in lower northeastern Thailand. Also known as Isan, the province is very rural with many farms. Many tourists who come to Thailand overlook this area, opting more for the white sand beaches and big cities. But once you dig a bit deeper, Buriram Province has a lot to offer for the solo traveler.
So Why Visit Buriram Province Thailand?
Buriram Province, specifically Prakon Chai, happens to be home to my American father, my Thai step-mom and half Thai sister. I hadn't seen my father in almost 2 years due to Covid so I decided to have a visit with him and his family last Christmas to see what life in Isan country was all about.
I took a taxi from Koh Lanta to the Krabi airport and flew to Bangkok with a connecting flight to Buriram. Each flight was about 1 hour and the price was about $40 a leg. Easy! My dad and step-mom picked me up from the airport and after a quick stop at the Buriram Mall, we were off to their home in Prakon Chai.
Prakon Chai is a pretty small town. Not a lot of the locals speak English but are very friendly and are more than happy to help find someone to translate. Also, my step-mom is fluent in English and was a tremendous help in knowing where to go, what to do and most importantly what food to order!
Buriram Province Thailand- What to Do
Buriram has one of Thailand's most competitive professional football clubs called Buriram United and it is a big deal! We took a visit to the stadium and I was surprised to find it very modern and large. There was also a Christmas light festival happening in the parking lot of the stadium and this is quite a sight to see.
Buriram Province Thailand- Buddhist Temples
This area of Thailand is primarily Buddhist and has a plethora of ancient and modern temples. I had the pleasure of visiting many of these with my Thai family, including my Thai grandmother. Both of my biological grandmas have been gone for decades and so meeting my Thai grandma was so special. She doesn't speak much English but has an infectious smile and is just a beautiful human with a kind heart. I love my Thai grandma!
On Christmas day we took a van trip to visit many of these ancient sites. First up was Muang Tum. Built over 1,000 years ago, Muang Tum is located at the base of a volcano near the border with Cambodia. The temple is one of the most well-preserved in Thailand, with four ponds filled with lily pads, and is definitely worth a visit.
Phanom Rung is another temple complex on the top of the hill from Muang Tum and offers scenic views of the surrounding area. The main tower is made out of pink sandstone and reminded me of an ancient castle. The car parking area features authentic Isan Thai food and fun souvenirs. There is also modern local wat where I was fortunate enough to spend some time with my step-mom and Toy lighting incense and getting a blessing from a monk.
A trip to Buriram Province would not be complete without a stop at the Big Buddha. The official name is Phra Suphattha Bophit and the golden statue sits atop a long winding road overlooking a valley in Khao Kradong Volcano Forest Park. You can participate in many of the Buddhist traditional ceremonies at the Big Buddha and have some fun sliding down the rocky slide to the lake-filled crater.
Buriram Province Thailand- What to Eat
Isan food is fresh, delicious and a bit on the spicy side! There are markets everywhere with almost any fruit and vegetable you can imagine and lots of animals for meat eaters. My family is blessed to have a wonderful live-in housekeeper named Toy who makes some of the best authentic Thai food I have eaten.
There are so many places to eat yummy food in Buriram Province and there is one that sticks out in my mind as one of the best and a fun day trip. Truthom is a part clothing market, part film and television museum, part garden and a Thai foodies paradise. Located in an old restored barn, there are tons of stalls to choose from including hot pot selections and so many desserts!
The grounds at Truthom are park-like with fields of flowers, boat rides for kids and a feeding koi pond. You can stay on the property in a rustic traditional-style rice storage barn. This place is not easy to find, but well worth the search!
Is a Visit To Buriram Province Thailand Worth It?
The short answer is yes! If you are interested in what life is like in traditional Thai Isan country, then a visit to Buriram Province is well worth it. I recommend renting a motorbike (if you are a proficient driver) to be able to cover the most territory.
I plan to visit another unconventional Christmas with my Thai family again this year so stay tuned for updates. And if you have any questions about Buriram Province or solo travel in Thailand, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org