The town had been an important town already at the times of the Khmer. The temple Prasat Hin Phimai, located in the center of the town, was one of major Khmer temples in modern Thailand, connected with Angkor by the Ancient Khmer Highway. The temple is now protected as the Phimai historical park.
Phimai has also recently been the base of operations for the excavation of Ban Non Wat.
The town today is of a size that makes it easy to get about on foot and is worth a visit. The Khmer ruins are worth a look. There is almost always a lively market in the middle of town, where you can buy Mangrove Crabs (live - usually caught earlier in the morning, when the crabs were attempting to cross the main road) and Lemon Grass "juice" (well worth queuing for), amongst other things.