Apart from Thai soldiers we are the only people in the area. A click east are Cambodian soldiers. We are on a non-civilian border between Thailand and Cambodia exploring Khmer Temples in Surin. Very remote, very wild and potentially dangerous. Not from conflict but venom. Apparent dangers highlighted by the snakeskin left at the door of the first Khmer Temple we visit. This is snake country. Venomous snakes. King Cobras with enough venom to take down an elephant. Of course slight apprehensions are at the back of my mind. Checking silent corners before setting foot over doorway steps. Even the neon green bugs and bright red beetles have me on edge.
Prasat Ta Muan Area
The first Khmer Temple we visit is small, not overly exciting but still unique and unlike the familiar temples found elsewhere in Thailand. Stepping out from the car the surrounding calls of wildlife and forests a reminder of how far off the beaten track we actually are.
Prasat Ta Muan Tod (Small)
My favourite of the three Khmer temples. Again not so large or magnificent but after walking cautiously through the heavy front doors we find an untouched courtyard. A surreal feel of a forgotten almost lost or secret garden. Butterflies of all colours flit from one flower to the next. The untouched beauty of this area really won me over.
Prasat Ta Muan Thom (Big)
The furthest point we can reach before crossing to Cambodia. Civilians cannot cross here. We abandon the car and approach the Thai soldiers for access to Prasat Ta Muan Thom on the border. We are escorted past tall fencing, razor wire, sand bags and no go areas to find this ancient Khmer Temple. “It’s ok to photograph Thai soldiers…. but not Cambodian soldiers. Do not photograph Cambodian soldiers!” Okay. By far the most impressive of the Khmer Temples in Surin but understandably harder to relax under constant watch of soldiers. Completely off track and unique experience.