Amphoe Phi Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima
After spending an hour or so exploring the temple, you're going to be thirsty. In fact, if you've started out from Korat in the morning, it is going to be nearing lunch time. Just at the edge of Phimai town, on the other side of the ancient reservoir built by the Khmer, a huge banyan tree named SaiNgam occupies an entire island in a small pond.
Commonly known by its Latin name Ficus, or Golden Fig, the banyan is very significant symbol in Buddhism as it is believed that the Buddha enlightened while sitting in the shade of a banyan tree. A banyan reproduces by sending tendrils down from its branches which can take root and form a new tree. Similar to SaiNgam, the new trunks stay connected to the parent trees so that it can extend more trunks, branches, and more lives. The Thais have an extra special affinity for banyans, as they also regard them as a favorite home for the spirits they think occupy just about everything.
At SaiNgam, you'll find a cool and green place to rest, including fine dining after exploring the ruins of Prasat Hin Phimai. SaiNgam is considered as a popular picnic spot among Thais that you'll find a large selection of food stalls adjacent to the tree's island home.