In a nutshell
Buriram is a provincial capital of the namesake province in the Northeast of Thailand. Even if the town itself lacks significant tourist attractions, you might decide to use if as a base for exploring some of the archaeological sites that can be found in the province.
Why go to Buriram
For centuries Buriram has been part of the Khmer empire and one of most spectacular evidence of this is Phanom Rung, which can be visited as a day trip from Buriram and it’s considered to be the most stunning Khmer monument in Thailand.
But the main reason why Buriram is famous among the Thais has nothing to do with the ruins – and it is football! The local team, Buriram United FC, is considered one of the best teams in Asia and local supporters literally go crazy on game days. If you’re a football fan and you happen to be in town during the season, don’t miss the chance to watch a Thai football game at New I-Mobile Stadium.
If you’ve been travelling in Thailand for a bit and you feel confident about your communication skills, you’ll be disappointed once you get here; Buriram province is part of the Isan region and the language they speak is quite different from the official Thai; it’s a dialect derived from Lao and even if everyone can understand and speak Thai, in every day’s life nobody will do it.
When to go to Buriram
There are three seasons in Isan provinces; winter from October to February, which is usually dry and pretty cold at night and it’s the best time to visit; summer, from February till May which can be extremely hot and dry; and rainy season from May till September when the region will be hit by regular thunderstorms which are usually stronger in August. Buriram province usually experiences a lighter rainy season compared to its neighbours so even if you can travel only during those months it will not be a problem.
Where to stay in Buriram
Buriram is not a tourist-oriented town so you will not find any cheap backpackers guesthouse serving western food and the staff is unlikely to speak any English.
The best place to search for a hotel is the area around the train station. Just walk around and ask to take a look at the room before you take your decision; you’ll probably be shown the best room available to convince you to stay. You can easily find a decent air-con room with private bathroom and hot shower for THB500/THB600. Reservation is not necessary, but keep in mind that rates could be a bit higher on the day of football match.
Where to eat in Buriram
Since you’re in Isan region, you have no choice but try what is considered one of the finest cuisines in Southeast Asia. And even if nowadays Isan food can be found everywhere in Thailand, in Buriram you can’t go wrong with it and you can be sure you’re going to have the most authentic experience.
Expect to have sticky rice instead of the usual plain rice to accompany most of your dishes and be prepared to an absolutely new level of spiciness. Our recommendation? Try the grilled pork neck with sticky rice and papaya salad on the side. There is a popular night market on Romburi Road that opens every day at 4pm – the perfect place to eat your way through the Isan food.
How to get around Buriram
Buriram city centre is small enough and this very walkable. If you need to travel between the train station which is in downtown and the bus station which is few km away, you can use one of the pink songthaews (THB20).
There are plenty of places where you can rent a motorbike for THB250. You can also decide to rent a car if you want to visit the province by yourself; ask your hotel for the closest shop or rent it at the airport if you’re flying in; rates start from around THB1000 for one day.
How to get to and from Buriram
Buriram has a small airport located 35 km north of town. Nok Air has currently two flights per day from Bangkok’s Don Mueang (one in the early morning and one in the afternoon) and tickets start at THB1500 one way. They also offer a shuttle transfer to town at THB275 which might seem quite expensive, but since it’s not a busy airport options are quite limited.
The bus station is located a few km west of the city centre but to get there you have several convenient options. A motorbike taxi or a tuk-tuk will charge you THB40 or if you wait for the pink songthaew it will cost you THB20.
Several buses depart every day from Morchit bus station in Bangkok heading to Buriram. The trip takes 7 hours and ticket price varies from THB200 to THB500 depending on the class of the bus. The first bus is at 8am and the last one around midnight.
Even if it’s not a big bus station, it is well connected with many other places in Thailand, both within the Isan region and further afield. Direct buses travel every day to/from Pattaya, Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat), Khon Kaen, Surin, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ubon Ratchatani and Rayong. Schedules and prices vary depending on the season, so you better check directly at the bus station.
Minivans depart every hour to Nang Rong which is the closest town to Phanom Rung. Tickets are THB40 and it will take one hour to get there.
Travelling by train is really convenient since the train station is located right in the city centre. Buriram is a stop for almost all the trains traveling along three of the major lines connecting Bangkok to Isan provinces: Ubon Ratchatani, Surin and Nakhon Ratchasima. All the trains depart from Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station and the trip to Buriram takes roughly 7 hours. Tickets start from THB70 for a third class hard seat and go up to THB10000 for a second class sleeper. The first train from Bangkok is at 5.45am and the last one at 10.30pm.
Is Buriram a safe place to visit?
Even if there are not a lot of tourists visiting it, Buriram is a relatively safe place to travel. Just use your common sense in any situation and you’re not going to face any problem.
For any emergency there’s a hospital located within walking distance from the train station.