Nakhon Ratchasima, home of the The Korat cats
Korat, one of the four major cities of Isan
Nakhon Ratchasima, generally known as “Khorat”, is Thailand’s largest province situated on sprawling northeast plateau. Located approximately 260 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, the city itself serves as the gateway to the lower northeastern region.
Covering an area of 25,494 square kilometers that is mainly plateaus and mountainous terrain, Khorat has fascinating traditions, charming hospitality, splendid natural scenery and awesome historical sites.
Some of the main attractions in Khorat are Khmer ruins. Scattered around the province, these products of ancient wisdom shines through time. One of the Thailand’s finest Khmer ruins can be seen here next to Mon and Lao sites. In addition, Korat has an abundance of natural attractions in its forests, hills, wildlife and waterfalls that are easily accessible in locations such as Khao Yai National Park.
Apart from the famous statue of Khun Ying Mo or Thao Suranaree , Khorat is most well known for silk weaving (in Pak Thong Chai) and a variety of top-notch quality handicrafts such as clay pottery products of Dan Kwian village, near Chok Chai.
Geographically, Nakhon Ratchasima borders on Chiyaphum and Khon Kaen Provinces in the north, Buri Ram Province in the east, Chiyaphum and Saraburi Provinces in the west and Nakhon Nayok and Prachin Buri Provinces in the south. Very close to Buriram there’s Nongbunmak, the last town of Nakhon Ratchasima province, a small village with large Cassava and rice fields.
If you visit Korat city, don’t forget to visit Thao Suranaree Monument.
Nakhon Ratchasima is the largest northeastern province
Korat is also the largest northeastern province. Inhabitants of the province are mainly engaged in agricultural activities that include farming of rice and other crops such as sugar cane, tapioca, corn, jute, peanuts, sesame and fruits. There are more than 100 savings and agricultural cooperatives in the province, 35 irrigation projects and 7,122 industrial factories. Most of the factories are rice mills, tapioca product manufacturers, and industrial factories.
Khorat’s most popular annual event is the Thao Suranaree Festival, a celebration of Thao Suranaree’s victory over the invader. It’s held from late March to early April and features parades.
Khorat used to be the site of several ancient prehistoric communities. Little is known about the early history of Khorat, except that it used to be part of a kingdom called Sri Janasa an empire that extended its power to the entire Khorat Plateau.
Initially the predominant cultural influence in the city was that of the Dvaravati culture, however, it was later replaced by the Khmer culture. The prehistoric site of Ban Prasat is an evidence of this occurrence while traces of both the Dvaravati and Khmer cultures are scattered throughout the province, particularly at Amphoe Sung Noen and Amphoe Phimai .
Once an administrative and cultural center, Khorat’s role today remains unchanged as it is currently the main transportation, industrial and economic hub of the Northeast.
Getting Nakhon Ratchasima
There are three routes to take from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.
- First Route: Taking Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin) passing Don Muang Airport, Wang Noi, till arriving Saraburi. At Saraburi, turn right along Highway No. 2 (Mittraphap Highway) which finally leads to Nakhon Ratchasima. The total distance of this route is 259 kilometers.
- Second Route: This alternative route is a little longer in distance but interesting town and city passing is a worth compensation. The direction is along Highway No. 304 via Min Buri, Chachoengsao, Phanom Sarakham, Kabin Buri, Pak Thong Chai and finally Nakhon Ratchasima. The total distance is 273 kilometers.
- Third Route: Taking Highway No. 305 passing Thanyaburi, Ongkharak to Nakhon Nayok. From Nakhon Nayok, take Highway No. 33 to Kabin Buri an turn left along Highway No. 304 passing Pak Thong Chai to Nakhon Ratchasima.
There are both air and non-air-condition leaving from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.
- Non air-conditioned runs every 15 minutes.
- Air-conditioned runs every 20 minutes, cost 206 baht, and takes about 3.30 hours.
Trains leave from Bangkok Railway Station daily and takes about 4 hours.
As of June 2007, there are no longer any direct flights into Nakhon Ratchasima. The nearest airport with flights to/from Bangkok is at Buriram.