Introducing Prasat Puay Noi
The 12th-century Prasat Puay Noi is the largest and most interesting Khmer ruin in northern Isan, though it can't compete with even some of the not-so-famous ruins further south. About the size of Buriram's Prasat Muang Tam, but less grand, the east-facing monument comprises a large central sandstone sanctuary surmounted by three partially collapsed prang and surrounded by laterite walls. There are still some excellent carvings intact, including Shiva riding his bull Nandi), on the pediment on the back of the 'library' and some almost lifelike naga on the corner of the main gate.
By public transport from Khon Kaen, catch a bus (30B to 40B, every half-hour) or train (9B, 30 minutes, 7.55am or 8.39am) to Ban Phai, then a sŏrng·tăa·ou to Puay Noi (35B, one hour). The last sŏrng·tăa·ou back to Ban Phai leaves at 2pm. If you have your own wheels, head 40km south from Khon Kaen on Hwy 2 to Ban Phai, then east on Hwy 23 (signposted to Borabu) for 11km to Rte 2301. Follow it and Rte 2297 for 24km southeast through the rural countryside to Ban Puay Noi.