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Nakhon Ratchasima Rundown

The best compliment you can pay the northeastern chunk of Thailand is that it is completely divergent, in both form and spirit, from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui and the untold beach resorts that dot the Andaman and the Teluk Siam (Gulf of Thailand) coasts. Geography, from the Khorat Plateau to the Phetchabun Mountains, and Lao culture define the Isan region and mark it as a pre-eminent target and breath of fresh air for intrepid tourists in the Kingdom.

The gateway to much of Isan’s inherent splendour is the capital of Nakhon Ratchasima province and district. Known alternatively as Nakhon Ratchasima or Khorat, the small city is the pulse point of a compact urban area that totals close to half a million inhabitants.

While many of Khorat’s bellwether gems of yore lie dormant under a layer of feverish, helter-skelter development, the news is not all bad for visitors eager to dig up some substance in the former Khmer Empire fiefdom. Several standout temples and museums emerge from the fray and, most happily, sublime points of interest like Phimai Historical Park, Khao Yai National Park and Dan Kwian Pottery Village all reside within the lush confines of Nakhon Ratchasima province.

Nakhon Ratchasima's Top 10

10. Maha Wirawong National Museum A terrific little depot of Khmer artefacts on the grounds of Wat Sutthachinda.

5. Wat Pa-yap is a cavern-like shrine and impressive architectural landmark.

9. Sai Ngam is just a tree but what a tree it is. The 350 year old banyan tree is a behemoth.

4. Wat Salaloi was founded by Thao Suranari in 1827 and contains her funeral urn.

8. Kwian Museum is a quaint, derelict repository of old Isan agricultural utensils, tools and carts.

3. Dan Kwian Pottery Village preserves the significant artisanal heritage of the region.

7. Thao Suranari Museum pays homage to Lady Mo, icon and heroine of Nakhon Ratchasima.

2. Phimai National Museum borders a 12th century Khmer reservoir and exhibits a gorgeous collection of objects.

6. Wat Phra Narai Mararat is notable for a brilliant sandstone sculpture of Vishnu.

1. Khao Yai National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Dong Phaya Yen Mountains. Without question, the best reason to visit Isan and Nakhon Ratchasima.

Nakhon Ratchasima History

  • Phra Whan Sung – Historical site that lies outside the ancient wall in the area of Sanam Na Muang.
  • Ho Phra Isuan – Displaying the symbol of Shiva Linga, the Brahman god.
  • Phimai Historical Park – Ancient Khmer city of the Thailand’s Khmer Empire, this historical park protects one of the most important temples of Thailand.
  • Chedi Yak – Nakhon’s second tallest pagoda, built by a wealthy Mon and his people when they took refuge in the province during the year 1003.
  • City Wall – The wall that runs parallel to the city of Chai Sak and gate to the east for 100 metres.

Nakhon Ratchasima Art & Culture

  • Nakhon Ratchasima Si Thammarat Rajabhat Institute – Center of information for archeological sites displaying the most important stone inscription found at Khao Chong Koi.
  • So Ram Luk Festival – Held annually on March 4 in commemoration of the ethnic groups.
  • Rocket Festival – Rocket contest held in first week of May.
  • Maha Wirawong National Museum – Displays artefacts of Nakhon Ratchasima.
  • Northeastern Museum of Petrified Wood and Mineral Resources – First museum of its kind and only the seventh in the world.

Nakhon Ratchasima Shopping

  • Tesco Lotus – A supermarket equivalent to the Walmart and Costco in the US.
  • Tia Ngi Hiang – Thailand’s top shopping venue.
  • Narai Phand – Thai Government Handicraft Centre in Nakhon Ratchasima offering arts and crafts to locals and foreign for more than six decades.
  • The Mall Nahkon Ratchasima- The biggest shopping mall in the country where you can find everything you need.
  • Ban Mon Pottery Shop – Shop antiques and collectible items that you can bring back home after your vacation.

Nakhon Ratchasima Gay & Lesbian

  • The Danish Bar – Located next to Sima Thani Hotel in Korat and offering alcoholic drinks for fun.
  • Suchart Subsin – Nerve-wrecking puppet show in a form of shadow performed by this national artist.
  • Curries & More by Baan Khanita – Serving sumptuous Thai and European cuisine.
  • Garden Court at Chaophya Park Hotel – Dimsum in Nakhon Ratchasima.
  • Gays and lesbians are spotted in these places, but are rarely seen. No known official sites for this group of people in Nakhon.

Nakhon Ratchasima Outdoor

  • Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo – Home to more than 500 animal species.
  • Chok Chai Farm – A famous visitor’s stop before reaching the Korat, it provides dairy cows for export.
  • Khon Khaeo Waterfall – Perfect swimming spot with a short nature trail for a nice stroll.
  • Nakhon Ratchasima Nayok-Khao yai Jungle Treks – For nature lovers who would like to enjoy outdoor activity, December to June is the most popular time to trek.
  • Apple Camp Khaoyai – Offering the best campsite facilities, and some arrange small houses for camping enthusiasts.

Nakhon Ratchasima Sport

  • Play golf in Nakhon Ratchasima Makkhaeng Sports Club.
  • Enjoy the thrill of watching the traditional long boat races.
  • Learn to sail in the local place of Nakhon Ratchasima Si Tammarat.
  • Go horseback riding at the Equestrianism Club in Nakhon Ratchasima.
  • Try to get fit in some of the Nakhon Ratchasima’s sports and fitness centres.

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

Nakhon Ratchasima is large city of around 200,000 people and is close to Bangkok, which makes it a good stopping point for travellers headed elsewhere in Thailand. It is full of varied tourist attractions and shopping centres.

Nakhon Ratchasima Attractions

  • Phimai Historical Park
  • Statue of Thao Suranaree of Nakhon Ratchasima
  • His Majesty the King’s Sports Complex

Nakhon Ratchasima Activities

  • Watch the annual Phimai boat races on the Moon River
  • Play a round of golf at the beautiful Friendship Meadows Country Club
  • See varied animals in their tropical environments at the Korat Zoo, outside of Nakhon Ratchasima

Nakhon Ratchasima Climate

The climate of Nakhon Ratchasima is divided into three time periods. February-May is the hot season, with temperatures near 40ºC and moderate rainfall. The rainy season lasts from May-October and dumps nearly 900 mm of rain during this period. The so-called cold season lasts from October-February, when the temperatures only average 30ºC.

Getting There & Around

Fly into Bangkok International Airport aboard a plane from any one of dozens of major airlines that service this stop. Get on Highway 1and stay on it until you reach the Saraburi Interchange. Turn right onto Highway 2 until it leads you to Nakhon Ratchasima.

As in many other Thai cities, there are various ways to get around in this town. Tuk-tuks are three-wheeled vehicles that function as taxis, as do motorbikes and rickshaws.

Nakhon Ratchsima Events

Isan’s strong Lao identity ensures the presence of several colourful folk festivals throughout the year. Temples are often the venue of choice for such celebrations and especially for traditional mor lam and kantrum musical performances.

Important festivals in Isan include the Rocket Festival of Yasothon province.

The Candle Festival is a major Theravada rite in July.

The Khon Kaen Silk Festival is a ten day affair in November and December.

Nakhon Ratchasima hosts a festival in tribute to Thao Suranari, the woman who led a successful revolt against Lao soldiers from Vientiane in 1826, every year from March 23 to April 3.

When To Go

You can tell a lot about a city’s climate by how locals define the cold season. In Nakhon Ratchasima, it corresponds to temperatures in the 64°F (18°C) to 88°F (31°C) range and occurs from October to January. Not exactly frigid.

Yet in comparison to torrid February, March, April and May, when temperatures hover from 73°F (23°C) to 95°F (35°C), it makes a little more sense. Still, it is nigh on impossible to escape the heat in this part of tropical Thailand.

The rainy season from late May to early October features peak precipitation in the month of September.

More Info On Getting Around

Nakhon Ratchasima Airport is not the most reliable hub, with intermittent, albeit affordable, service to and from Chiang Mai, Phuket and Bangkok. The airport is 16 mi (26 km) east of the city.

Rail service from Bangkok to Khorat take anywhere from four to six hours. The best advice is to book a first class ticket on the express train.

A coach bus is the most convenient and efficient form of transport to the Nakhon Ratchasima capital from Bangkok. Make sure Terminal 1, located in the city centre, is your ultimate destination.

In Khorat proper the usual hodgepodge of songthaews, tuk-tuks, motorbike taxis and cycle rickshaws offer cheap transport for locals and tourists alike.

Hotels in Nakhon Ratchasima

Recommended hotels

1 Dusit Princess Korat

4 stars
4.0 / 5

1137 Suranarai Road, Nai Muang, Muang Map

Providing quality accommodation and friendly services for travellers in Nakhon Ratchasima, Dusit Princess Korat Hotel Nakhon Ratchasima is close to city attractions such as Thao Suranaree Statue... More

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