I found myself taking a tour of the wide open spaces of Esan recently, the agricultural heartland of Thailand. I hadn’t been there for many years and so much has changed in this area – the roads are all either four lane carriageways or in the process of being widened. The out of town shopping malls seem to have blossomed in all of the major towns.
I made the mistake originally of visiting the major towns like Ubon Ratchathani and Surin and although new hotels have sprung up, there really is not a need to travel city to city.
Later in the week I arrived in Buriram which has been put on the map by Mr. Nevin Chidchob and his family who have invested heavily in sports and the infrastructure. I then found the serenity of X2 Vibe Buriram and decided to base myself there and travel outwards from the city each day.
Football is the mainstay of the city and it seems that everyone in Buriram province is proud to wear the blue shirt with the club logo on it. Thunder Castle is their home and it is an impressive stadium on the outskirts of the city.
The family then built an international racetrack behind the stadium and now host MOTO GP and frequent domestic and international events and again it is an impressive racetrack and spectator facilities. I wonder how long it will be before Mr. Chidchob captures Formula 1 motor racing.
There are a host of historic sites within easy reach of the city: Phanom Rung which is an ancient Khmer temple on an old volcano and is a smaller scale Ankor Wat. Prasat Muang Tam, a smaller more serene destination at the bottom of the hill.
Khao Kradong Forest which is a national park again on an old volcano. Wat Khao Angkhan a Khmer Buddhist temple just over an hour from Buriram city. Phimai Historical Park and temple an ancient complex with impressive decor just 90 minutes from Buriram.
So if the sporting events and or the myriad of shopping facilities do not capture your interest you can as you can see make various visits to the surrounding towns and cities all from your base in Buriram in the heart of Esan.
X2 Vibe Buriram seems to be the best hotel in the area. Although built 5 years ago the facilities are in excellent order. There is the largest swimming pool in Buriram in a central courtyard, a fitness suite for the young at heart and the rooms are modern, impeccably clean and the staff know how to take care of their guests. An all day cafe even served complementary afternoon tea and it is off the beaten track but just 3 minutes from the highway and the major shopping facilities.
X2 Vibe Buriram 044 634 678 x2vibe.com Cross Hotels and Resorts