Thailand: Isan

Two Ancient Khmer Temples

Nang Rong



November 18, 2022


Prasat Muang Tam

Prasat Muang Tam (Thai: ปราสาทเมืองต่ำ, pronounced [prāː.sàːt mɯ̄a̯ŋ tàm]; lit. 'lowland castle') is a Khmer Hindu Temple in Prakhon Chai District, Buriram Province, Thailand. It is primarily in the Khleang and Baphuon styles, which dates its primary phases of construction to the late-10th and early-11th centuries. The primary deity was Shiva, although Vishnu was also worshipped there.

Like most Hindu temples, Muang Tam is oriented towards the east. It has a flat concentric plan, with a central sanctuary and two surrounded successively by an inner enclosure, ponds, and an outer enclosure. The ponds between the enclosures are an unusual feature of the temple, as is the central sanctuary, which is not elevated and has its towers arranged in rows of three and two. All the towers except the central one have been restored.

The Elephant Parade

Tha Tum District

Surin Province


November 19, 2021


In all my years traveling and living in Thailand, I have never attended the Elephant Round-up in Surin.  The huge celebration takes place in November and is one of the most popular events in Isan.

But today, just by accident, Jenrira and I found ourselves on an elephant parade route through this small community.  I suppose this Elephant Parade is associated with the Loy Kratong festival today.

After all the excitement, I will certainly add The Elephant Round-up to my “Thailand Must See” list.


Scenic Isan

Nang Rong District

Buriram Province


November 20, 2021


This recent trip with Jenjira to three Isan provinces - Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram and Surin in the northeast - reconfirms for me that Isan is the true “Heart of Thailand.”


Si Saket: Park and Temple

Si Saket


December 15, 2012

For my final trip of 2012, I rode up to the Isan area to the city of Si Saket to visit my friend Saengduen who is a teacher in a village outside of town.  We visited a lovely park and zoo and also a large Buddhist temple.

(Most travelers to this area visit the well-known Preah Vihear Temple complex across the border in Cambodia.)

The spacious grounds of Somdet Phra Si Nakarin Park display a variety of tropical plantings and trees.   The zoo houses colorful birds, crocodiles, bears and deer with huge sets of antlers.  The cages are a bit primitive but the animals seem content.

Nang Rong, Buriram: "The First Haircut"

10 February 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Along with the photographs he neatly pasted into my Baby Album (photos, I may note, of a very cute infant boy) my father Otto also affixed a small white envelope. The envelope is clearly marked, "Jan's First Haircut." Inside the envelope to this very day is a shock of fine, light-brown baby hair. Cute?

Ten years ago in Miami I noticed that the hair of my neighbor's young son grew longer and longer, almost to his shoulders. My neighbor, Levi explained that his son Baruch-David will have his first haircut at three years of age - a Jewish tradition.

Three years ago my friends in Mumbai, Sushma and Paawan invited me to Mundan Sanskar, the traditional Hindu hair cutting ceremony for their one and a half year old son Agastya. *

Last year, our Rabbi here in Bangkok announced that his three year old son Ephraim would soon undergo the traditional haircut ceremony or Upsherin. Rabbi Kantor explained: "In Judaism we recognize three cuts. The first is the umbilical cut. The second is the circumcision. The third, the cutting of the hair, takes place at the moment the young son is ready to begin study of Torah, the sacred books of Jewish learning.

Most recently, my friends Mai and Mark invited me to the Buddhist haircut ceremony, Kornphomfai, for their daughter Molly, now about eight months old. Also participating were Molly's infant cousin, Prairwar, and her parents and grandparents and great-grandfather.