SOME 250+ Khmer monuments lie in Thailand, some 1,000 years old. Many are specks of the archeological landscape- humble structures, names long forgotten, seldom visited.
Others are grand marvels of the greatest empire south of China, UNESCO listed sites, much studied and busing in tourists daily.
It is quite possible that some of you don't find Khmer temples as exciting as I do. Seen one, seen 'em all, right?
The Khmers began to expand westward from Siem Reap (lit' "Siam defeated") in the 9th century, controlling most of modern day Thai territory.
They reigned for several hundred years before Sukothai expelled them, and Ayutthaya conquered Angkor in 1431.
Over 250 Khmer monuments remain in Thailand, some grand hill-top temples, others modest "hospitals". The original Khmer names of many have been forgotten.
Most are concentrated around the Cambodian border in Surin, Buriram, Sisaket and Nakhon Ratchascima provinces, although a particularly fine temple, Prasat Muang Sing, sists 160km west of Bangkok in Kanchanaburi Province.
Much of the famous Thai culture, dancing and arts, architecture, comes from this Khmer period.
At least two temples have been subject of dispute. Khao Preah Vihaer sits on a cliff overlooking Cambodian, and has twice been ruled as Cambodian territory. The other is Ta Meun Thom.
Now a pleasant backwater, Phimai lay at the terminus of the 225km "Royal Road" from Angkor, and it's fine temple is a testament to the city's importance.
Built in the 11th and 12th centuries, it is a Mahayana Buddhist temple, whereas most of that era were Shiva Hindu monuments.
The tower of the gracefully tapering central sanctuary stands 32 meters high, and probably predates Angkor Wat by several years.
There are other similarities between Phimai and Angkor such as size and layout, although it is orientated 20 degrees east of south- for reasons scholars don't understand.
Both times I have visited (20 years apart) the site was remarkably free of crowds.
Kuti Reusi (AKA Nong Bua Rai) is one of 17 dharmasalas (rest houses) on the Royal Road. They also served as hospitals and temples.
Built on the site of an 8th century temple, 12th century Phanom Rung is arguably the pinnacle of Khmer architecture in Thailand.
On top of a 380m high extinct volcano, the temple is dedicated to Hindu god, Shiva.
The buildings contain many of the best examples of Khmer art in Thailand.
Under local King Narendraditya, a blood relative to King Suryavarman II, Phanom Rung was the major stop on the Royal Road to Phimai.
The temple, oriented east-west, spans about a kilometer. The core of the temple sits at the top of the hill, and a long staircase descends to the east. Views from the top on a good day are cool.
Locals claim that Prasat Muang Tam, literally the 'Temple of the Lower City', was built before Phanom Rung, six km away, although the building styles suggest this is unlikely.
With its larger, famous neighbour stealing all the glory, Muang Tam gets a fraction of the visitors a vast site like this should.
Muang Tam is built at the base of the volcano upon which Phanom Rung resides. It is also a Shiva Hindu temple.
Four L-shaped moats with stepped laterite walls surround the temple's inner enclosure.
The barays (dams, pools) have retained water for their entire 900 year life, a feat few if any other Khmer baray have done. This suggests a continued human presence and unusually high standard of construction.
As well as being a large and impressive site, there are many fine deatils to be found.
Garland spew from the mouth of Kala, a figure associated with time and death.
Krishna fights a kaliya, a five-headed naga (snake) spirit.
One of the entrances, behind which five sandstone towers (one has collapsed) represent Mount Meru, the creator of the universe.
Further down the Royal Road, a stone's throw from the modern border, Prasat Ta Muen Tot is a rest house built in the early 13th century.
Prasat Ta Muen Thom sits on the border, and controls a strategic pass through the Dangrek mountain range.
A large Shiva complex built in the 11the century, it faces south into Cambodia.
In the 1990s the Khmer Rouge stripped many valuable pieces from the temple.
The excellent views, the large site and the quality of the what remains make this a worthy stop on any temple adventure.
The views as the morning clouds clear over Cambodia from Khao Preah Vihear, which sits on the top of a 500m cliff, just inside Cambodia.
Dedicated to Shiva, it was construction began under Suryavarman I (1002-50) and continued by successor, Suryavarman II.
It is the second largest Khmer temple built, a vast site high on the hilltop, a strategic site.
While The International Court of Justice ruled in Cambdodia's favour in 1962, control has switched between Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Lon Nol (1970s) forces and the Khmer Rouge -a friend spent 3 days up there with them when his helicopter crashed.
There is some fine carving at the site, which is not in the best state of repair, understandably. Clashes between Thailand and Cambodia occured as recently as 2008.
Sitting on the cliff, with your legs dangling over Cambodia, a mammoth 1000 year old Hindu temple at your back, with barely a soul around bar the birds in the forest below, is one of the great pleasures of travel.