Nakhon Ratchasima

Nakhon Ratchasima, generally known as Korat, is Thailand.

Land of brave women, fine silk material, tasty Khorat Rice noodles, the Phimai historical site, and Dan Kwian pottery.

Nakhon Ratchasima, otherwise known as Khorat, is the largest northeastern province, and the inhabitants of the province are mainly engaged in agricultural activities, growing such diverse crops as rice, sugar cane, sesame, and fruit. 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.

 

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ISAN is the northeastern region of Thailand. It is located on the Korat Plateau, bordered by the Mekong River (along the border with Laos) to the north and east, by Cambodia to the southeast and the Prachinburi mountains south of Nakhon Ratchasima. To the west it is separated from Northern and Central Thailand by the Phetchabun mountain range.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, northeastern Thailand has been officially known as Isan, a term adopted from Sanskrit Ishan, meaning in a “north east direction.” The term "Isan" was derived from Isanapura, the capital of the Chenla kingdom. The Lao-speaking population of the region, who comprise the majority, distinguish themselves not only from the Lao of Laos but also from the central Thai by calling themselves Khon Isan or Thai Isan. The Khmer-speaking minority and Kuy (Suai), who live in the south of Isan, speak dialects and follow customs more similar to those of Cambodia than either the Thai people or the Lao people. Agriculture is the main economic activity. Production lags behind the rest of the country due to the socio-economic conditions and the exceptionally hot, dry climate. Isan remains Thailand's poorest region.

The main language is Isan, which is a dialect of the Lao language. Currently written with the Thai alphabet (instead of the slightly different Lao alphabet), Isan belongs to the Chiang Seng and Lao–Phutai language groups, which along with Thai are members of the Tai languages of the Tai–Kadai language family. Thai is also spoken by almost everyone. Khmer, the language of Cambodia, is widely spoken in areas along the Cambodian border: Buriram, Surin, and Sisaket. The people are aware of their Lao ethnic origin, but Isan has been incorporated into the modern Thai state. Several Thai prime ministers have come from the region. Prominent aspects of Isan culture of include Mor Lam, an indigenous type of folk music, Muay Thai boxing, cock fighting, and celebratory processions. Isan food, in which Sticky Rice (Khao niew) and chiles are prominent, is distinct from Thai cuisine. Sticky rice is a staple of Thai Northeastern cuisine, and it accompanies most meals.

 
Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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ISAN MAP : Nakhon Ratchasima @ Thailand Loei Nong Khai Nakhon Phanom Udon Thani Sakon Nakhon Nong Bua Lam Phu Khon Kaen Chaiyaphum Kalasin Mukdahan Maha Sarakham Yasothon Amnat Charoen Nakhon Ratchasima Roi Et Buriram Surin Sri Sa Ket Ubon Ratchathani Bueng Kan

Nakhon Ratchasima

 

 

 

Land of brave women, fine silk material, tasty Khorat Rice noodles, the Phimai historical site, and Dan Kwian pottery.

Nakhon Ratchasima, otherwise known as Khorat, is the largest northeastern province, and the inhabitants of the province are mainly engaged in agricultural activities, growing such diverse crops as rice, sugar cane, sesame, and fruit. 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.

Historically, Khorat Province was an important area for thousands of years, first as the site of several ancient prehistoric communities and later as important outposts of the Dvaravati and Khmer Empires. Ruins of both Dvaravati and Khmer temples are located across Khorat, particularly at Amphoe Sung Noen and Amphoe Phimai, the latter one of the most important provincial capitals of the Angkorian Empire.

To this day, Khorat remains an important province and city, functioning as Northeastern Thailand’s main transportation hub and economic center. Finally, as Khorat’s Amphoe Pak Thong Chai is considered the spiritual home of the Thai silk weaving industry, those interested in sericulture will enjoy shopping for some of the country’s best cloth..

Nakhon Ratchasima, generally known as Khorat, is Thailand’s largest province. Situated on Thailand’s sprawling northeastern plateau, approximately 260 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, the city itself serves as the gateway to the lower northeastern region.

Covering an area that is mainly plateaus and mountainous terrain, Khorat has fascinating traditions, charming hospitality, splendid natural scenery and awesome historical sites, including Khao Yai, Thailand’s oldest national park and newest World Heritage site, and the Khmer temple at Phimai, an important provincial capital of the Angkor Empire.

Note:
• Nakhon Ratchasima and Khorat are interchangeable names for the same province and city.

• The train to Khorat passes through some great scenery, including a views of the enormous white Buddha figure at Wat Theppitak which rests on a thickly forested hillside.

 

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TRAVEL TO NAKHON RATCHASIMA

Options in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
As Northeastern Thailand’s main transportation hub and economic center, Nakhon Ratchasima can be reached by many means, including private car, public bus, and train. Once there, it may be easier to get around with your own car, but there are standard forms of local transport available for visitors: i.e. songtaew, motorbike taxi, and tuk tuk.

 

Getting to and from Nakhon Ratchasima

By Train:
An express train bound for Ubon Ratchathani departs Bangkok's Hua Lumphong Station at 9 p.m. and arrives in Khorat at 2.03 a.m.

Rapid trains on the Ubon railway depart at 6.50 a.m., 6.45 p.m. and 10.45 p.m., arriving in Khorat at 11.48 a.m. and 11.51 p.m. and 4.07 a.m. respectively.

There are also two ordinary trains (3rd class only) that depart Bangkok at 3.25 and 11.25 p.m., arriving in Khorat about 5 1/2 to 6 hours after departure.

By Car:
Route 1:
Take Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin Road) from Bangkok to Saraburi and then take Highway No. 2 (Mittraphap Highway) from Saraburi to Nakhon Ratchasima. The total distance is 259 kilometers.

Route 2:
Take Highway No. 304 from Bangkok and proceed past Min Buri, Chachoengsao, Phanom Sarakham, Kabin Buri, and Pak Thong Chai to Nakhon Ratchasima. The total distance is 273 kilometers.

Route 3:
Take the Bangkok-Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok route and then take Highway No. 33 to Kabin Buri and finally Highway No. 304 past Wang Nam Khiao and Pak Thong Chai to Nakhon Ratchasima.

By Bus:
The Transport Co., Ltd. (known as Bo Kho So) has both air-conditioned and regular buses departing from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) daily. Air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok every 10 minutes all day; traveling time is 3.20 hours and the fare is around 160 baht. Non air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok every hour from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.; traveling time is 4.30 hours, and the fare is around 90 baht. Busses arrive at Korat's bus terminal on Mittraphap Highway. For information, call 0 2936 2852-66.

Private companies that offer bus services to Khorat include Ratchasima Tour Co., (Khorat: 0 4424 5443, Bangkok: 0 2936 1615) and Air Khorat Co. (Khorat: 0 4425 2999, Bangkok: 0 2936 2252.

Buses running to other provinces leave from Bus Terminal 2 in Khorat. There are services to the northeastern provinces of Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon, Kalasin, Ubon Ratchathani, Buri Ram (the old route goes past Nang Rong and the new one past Huai Thalaeng), and Surin (past Nang Rong-Ban Tako). In addition, there are buses to Chon Buri, Pattaya, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Lop Buri, Sing Buri, Nakhon Sawan, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai (up to Mae Sai). All depart from Bus Terminal 2 in Khorat.

By Air:
There are no regular commercial air services to Khorat.

Getting Around Nakhon Ratchasima

Traveling within the province is easy, with many mini-busses and local busses operating in the city and in/around/to nearby areas. The fares are around 5 baht, including comfortable air-conditioned busses along Highway No. 2 (Mittraphap Road).

A more convenient way to get around is to take a tuk-tuk or samlor in the city. Samlors around the city costs 20 baht; while tuk-tuks cost 40 baht to most places around town (30 baht for a short hop) and 50 to 60 baht for longer trips. The rate for motorbike taxis is within the same range (towards the lower end). Please note that the price must be agreed upon before a trip.

If traveling to another district, it is possible to take either a bus or mini-bus at Bus Terminal 1 on Burin Road. Bus Terminal 2 only provides bus services to Amphoe Phimai and Dan Kwian-Chok Chai.

For information, call Bus Terminal 1 on Burin Road, tel. 0 4424 2899 and 0 4426 8899 and Bus Terminal 2 on the Mitraparp-Khon Kaen Road, tel. 0 4425 6006-9 ext. 175, 176 (air-conditioned), 178 (regular).

 

Activities
As the largest province in Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima has innumerable activities to participate in, ensuring that visitors with any interest will find something to keep them entertained on their Nakhon Ratchasima holiday. There are a wealth of activities in Khao Yai National Park alone, including jungle trekking, mountain biking, and wildlife spotting. The following are some of the most popular activities on Nakhon Ratchasima:

Attractions
As the largest province in Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima has innumerable attractions, including historical sites, national parks, and fascinating cultural villages, ensuring that visitors with any interest will find something to keep them entertained on their Nakhon Ratchasima holiday. The following are some of the most popular attractions in Nakhon Ratchasima:

Art, Culture & Heritage

Prasat Phanom Wan
Prasat Phanom Wan is in Ban Makha, Tambon Pho, around 15 kilometres from the city on the Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen road. A sign on the right shows the way on a road 5 kilometres more. This is an interesting Khmer sanctuary. It is believed that it was built in the 15th Buddhist century. Later during the 18th-19th centuries, a stone building was built over it. From inscriptions found at the site, it is known that the sanctuary was used in the Hindu religion and later became a Buddhist site. Although most of it is in ruins, there is a clear form present, like the square main pagoda facing east and a tiered pagoda in front, as well as a path linking the two structures.

To the southwest is a building of red sandstone called “Prang Noi.” Inside is a large stone Buddha image. A roofed sandstone walkway and a laterite wall go around the sanctuary. A Gopura (a sanctuary doorway or porch) in the form of a tall tower is situated in all 4 directions. Around 230 metres east of the sanctuary are traces of a moat and an earth hill that was the site of another Khmer building called “Noen Oraphim.”... Link 1

By OTHER
Around 15 kilometres from the city on the Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen road

 

Monument of Thao Suranari
Thao Suranari Monument is a memorial to the Thai heroine called ‘Ya Mo’ by locals. Built in 1934, it is located in the city centre. People from other provinces who visit Khorat and locals usually come to pay homage here and ask for blessings. The statue is made of black copper. It is 1.85 metres high and is dressed in regalia in a standing posture. The right hand holds a sword and the statue faces west towards the capital of Bangkok. The monument base holds her ashes.

Thao Suranari was originally Khunying Mo, the wife of the assistant governor of Nakhon Ratchasima. In 1826, Chao Anuwong of Vientiane had Khorat under siege but Khunying Mo rallied villagers to fight against Chao Anuwong. After the battle was over, King Rama III promoted her to Thao Suranari. Every year during 23 March to 3 April, the people would hold a festival to honour her bravery.

Interesting events: Khorat songs (phleng Khorat) is sung in the evenings on a stage near the shrine. They are traditional folk songs worth listening... Link 1

Prasat Nang Ram
This site, called Arokhayasan (a hospital) by the ancient Khmers, was built in the 13th century during the reign of King Chaiworaman VII and comprises of 2 groups of buildings situated close together. The more complete pagodas face the east and are surrounded by a laterite wall. To the northeast outside the wall is a pool and another group of historical buildings where many beautiful lintels are found.

The site can be reached by taking Highway No. 2 for about 62 kilometers to Ban Wat intersection. From there turn right onto Highway No. 207 and proceed for about 22 kilometers to Ban Ya Kha (or about 11 kilometers before reaching Prathai town) and turning left and proceeding 4 kilometers to the sanctuary.

Prang Sida
Prang Sida is similar to Prang Ku at Tambon Don Tanin, but this pagoda is closed on all 4 sides. It was a Brahman religious site, dated from around the 12th-13th Buddhist centuries, that was constructed entirely of laterite in the ancient Khmer style with sculpted plaster designs facing the east and an outer wall surrounding the site. From the Khorat city, take Highway No. 2 for about 84 kilometers to Sida intersection and turn right onto Highway No. 202 (to Amphoe Prathai) for about 1.5 kilometers, then take a left and proceed for about 2 kilometers to the temple.

Dan Kwian Pottery Villa
Situated on Highway No. 24, about 14 kilometers from the city of Nakhon Ratchasima is a village noted for unique pottery widely used for interior and outdoor decoration. The uniqueness of Dan Kwian clay is its durability, pliability and rusty color. When combined with attractive designs and the proper heating process the products are irresistible.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
15 kilometres from the city on Highway No. 224 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Chok Chai).

 

Maha Wirawong National Museum
Maha Wirawong National Museum is in Wat Sutthachinda opposite the provincial hall. It displays items that Somdet Phra Maha Wirawong, the ex-abbot of Wat Sutthachinda, collected, as well as artefacts that the Fine Arts Department found in Nakhon Ratchasima and nearby provinces and donations. Most items are Buddha images, including stone images of the Khmer period, images from the Ayutthaya period, bronze images, earthenware, ancient utensils, and woodcarving. The museum is open during 9 a.m.-4 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. It is closed on public holidays. The entry fee is 10 baht. For information, call tel. 0 4424 2958.

Northeastern Museum of Petrified Wood and mineral resources
Northeastern Museum of Petrified Wood and Mineral Resources is situated at 184 Mu 7, Ban Krok Duean Ha, Mittraphap – Nong Pling Road, Tambon Suranari. To get there: Take Highway No. 304 (Nakhon Ratchasima – Pak Thong Chai Road) for 16 kilometres, turn right at Km. 121 into the Suranari University of Technology (Gate 2) for 2 kilometres and turn left into the Mittraphap – Nong Pling city bypass for another 1 kilometre.

This is the first museum of its kind in Thailand and one out of seven in the world. It exhibits a collection of large pieces of petrified wood of approximately 800,000 – 320 million years old, video presentation on the Origin of the Earth and Evolution of Life, and petrified wood garden that imitates the topography of the Mun – Chi basins. There is also a museum of 8 out of 42 genera of primitive elephants found around the world, which include Gomphothere, Deinothere, and Shovel-tusked Gomphothere (aged approximately 16 – 5 million years ago), as well as fossils of various animals like giant turtle, gharial, and ape (new species of the world). Open daily during 9 am. – 5 pm. For further information, call 0 4421 6617. For a group visit, please contact in advance.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
Take Highway No. 304 (Nakhon Ratchasima – Pak Thong Chai Road) for 19 kilometres, turn right at Km. 121 into the Suranari University of Technology (second gate) for 2 kilometres and turn left into the Mittraphap – Nong Pling city bypass for 1 kilometre.

 

Mueang Sema Historical Site
Mueeang Sema Historical Site is in Tambon Sema, about 37 kilometres from the city. From Amphoe Sung Noen go across Lam Takhong River past Ban Hin Tang to Sema 4 kilometres away. The Sema city plan is egg-shaped and is 3 kilometres wide and 4 kilometres long. You can still see evidence of city moats and some earth walls. The city flourished during the Dvaravati period and was built around the 12th Buddhist century. It grew until the 16th-17th Buddhist centuries when it came under Khmer influence. In the area are ruins made of laterite and sandstone and many artefacts have been unearthed here. The most interesting one is the reclining sandstone Buddha image and an old religious relic that is now in Wat Thammachak Semaram.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
about 37 kilometres from the city. From Amphoe Sung Noen Market go across railway past Ban Hin Tang to Sema 5 kilometres away. The Sema city plan is egg-shaped and is 3 kilometres wide and 4 kilometres long.

 

Ban Prasat Archaeological Site
The site is Thailand's second archaeological site (the first was Ban Chiang) to be set up as an outdoor museum. Findings indicate that the area was once inhabited by a prehistory to early history community. In addition, there is evidence that a community of the Dvaravati and Khmer periods thrived here some 1,500 to 3,000 years ago. There are 3 pits that have been landscaped and are open to the public. Discoveries of human skeletons and many pottery pieces that were dug up from various levels are evidence of human evolution, community beliefs and culture.

To get there from the city, take Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen) for 44 kilometers and then turn right and proceed for 1 kilometer. If going by bus from Bangkok or Nakhon Ratchasima, take a bus bound for Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, or Kalasin. Get off at the 44-km marker and take a hired motorcycle into the village.

How to Get There:

By Bus
If going by bus from Bangkok or Nakhon Ratchasima, take a line going to Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, or Kalasin. Get off at Km. 44 and take a hired motorcycle into the vill

By OTHER
From the city, take Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen) for 44 kilometre and turn right for 1 kilometre.

 

Phimai Historical Park
Within the Park is the Phimai Sanctuary, one of the grandest and most important Khmer historical sites in Thailand.

The word Phimai appears in an inscription on a stone slab at the front doorway of the building as well as in many other structures. It is believed that the word Phimai referred to a religious figure or site.

The Phimai Sanctuary is rectangular in shape and is 565 meters wide and 1,030 meters long. It consists of ornately carved sandstone and laterite structures. The most special characteristic of the sanctuary is that it is the only one that faces south while the others usually face east. This is probably because it was built to face the route that the Khmers traveled from the capital of the empire, to the south of Phimai.

From stone inscriptions and the architectural style, the Phimai Sanctuary was most likely built at the end of the 11th century during the reign of King Suriyaworaman I. The architectural style is that of the Baphuon style that prospered at the time. However, some characteristics are similar to that of Angkor Wat, which became popular at a later period. Some additions were made to the site in the early 18th Buddhist century during the reign of King Chaiworaman VII when Phimai had close relations with the Khmer Empire. The sanctuary was always a religious site of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism because King Suriyaworaman I and King Chaiworaman VII were followers of the sect... Link 1

Important Structures in Phimai Sanctuary:

The Naga Bridge is the first part you pass when visiting the site. The bridge and lion figures stand in front of the Gopura (porch) south of the main pagoda. The intention may have been to build a link between earth and heaven according to both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs concerning the universe.

The Gopura was adapted as the wall around the sanctuary and the four entering porches. There is a large corridor connecting the outer and inner areas of the main sanctuary. Above each porch is a lintel of various designs.

The Main Prang or pagoda is on an open area in a curved walkway. It is the centre of the site and is made entirely of white sandstone and is different from the porches and walls that are made primarily of red sandstone. This is because white sandstone is more durable than red sandstone. The pagoda is 28 meters high, has a square base, a portico and stairways and doors in all 4 directions.

The pagoda consists of a base, outer walls, columns, and porches with beautiful designs. Of vital importance are the lintels that mostly recount the tale of Ramayana from Hinduism and tales of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism. The lintels above the 4 doorways of the main pagodas inner chamber, the most important room of the pagoda, are all about Buddhism reflecting the Buddhist influence that eventually surpassed that of Hinduism. The carvings are of the Baphoun style and the Angkor Wat style leading to the belief that the main pagoda was built at the end of the 12th century.

There are other pagodas, which are Prang Brahmadat in front of the main pagoda, Prang Hin Daeng and Ho Phram (Brahma Hall) to the right.

The park is open daily from 7.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The admission is 40 baht. There are youth guides available to provide visitors with information about the site for free.

Historical Sites Outside Phimai Sanctuary:

The Phimai City Gate and City Walls were built during the reign of King Chaiworaman VII. Of the 4 gates, the south gate is the most important because the road from the ancient Khmer capital to Phimai runs through it. The sanctuary can be seen when looking straight through the gate.

The Men Brahmadat is southeast of the walls and is made entirely of bricks. Its present form is a huge and round earth hill that is about 30 meters high. The site is believed to have been the place where a king was cremated. However, the style of construction suggests it was built in the late Ayutthaya period.

Other sites to the south are Tha Nang Sa Phom, Kuti Rusi and Arokhayasan.

Phimai National Museum

The museum houses collections of archaeological artifacts especially those found in the lower part of the region and has exhibits on the past cultural prosperity of the Northeast. There are several sections as follows:

Local Northeastern culture

Daily utensils like mortars, cotton chests, carts and monk items lintels from sanctuaries in Nakhon Ratchasima and the Northeast prehistoric artifacts such as ancient pottery, skeletons, tools, and bronze and stone ornaments.

The history of Phimai

Early history that includes Dvaravati-style temple boundary markers and Khmer-style items like columns and parts of buildings, as well as sculptures like Buddha images, god figures and a figure of King Chaiworaman VII made of sandstone found at Phrommathat Pagoda in Phimai sanctuary.

The second floor is devoted to the past cultural glory of the Northeast, early Northeastern communities and Khmer cultural influence.

The Museum is located at the base of Tha Songkran Bridge just before Phimai Sanctuary. From Nakhon Ratchasima, take Highway No. 2 for 50 kilometers, then turn on Highway No. 206 and proceed for 10 kilometers. If taking a bus from Nakhon Ratchasima, visitors can take a bus from Bus Terminal 2 in the city. The museum is open from Wednesday - Sunday during 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The entry fee is 30 baht. For information, call 0 4447 1167.

Sai Ngam
Sai Ngam is on the bank of the Mun River near Phimai Dam. Cross Tha Songkran Bridge into the town and take a branch road to the dam for 2 kilometres. The place is so named because of the abundance of banyan trees here, all originating from a single tree, which is about 350 years now. The tree gave birth to many smaller ones covering the entire area. Nearby are souvenir shops and several restaurants. The most popular dish for tourists is Phimai noodles... Link 1

Thung Samrit Memorial
This wide field was a battleground between Khorat people and Lao soldiers during the reign of King Rama III. A shrine was constructed by villagers in 1988 to pay homage to the fighters. The memorial is located at Moo 1, Ban Samrit Tawan Ok, Tambon Samrit, 46 kilometers from the city. Take Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen) to the 43-44 kilometer markers (opposite the entrance to Ban Prasat), turn right and proceed for about 3 kilometers.

How to Get There:

By Car
From Nakhon Ratchasima, take Highway No. 2 for 50 kilometers, then turn on Highway No. 206 and proceed for 10 kilometers.

By Bus
Taking a bus from Nakhon Ratchasima, visitors can take a bus from Bus Terminal 2 in the city.

 

Chumphon Gate
Pratu Chum Phon is behind the monument. It is an old city gate built during the reign of King Narai the Great in 1656. The king commanded that a strong city wall be built. Engineers from France, then an ally of the country, designed the city plan. Nakhon Ratchasima at that time was an outpost in the shape of a rectangle of 1,000 x 1,700 metres. The western Chum Phon Gate is the only 1 of 4 city gates that still stands. The other three gates have been rebuilt. Chum Phon Gate is built of large stones and bricks and covered with plaster. The top is a watchtower made of wood with a tiled roof and decorated in the Thai style.

Prasat Phakho
This ancient Khmer sanctuary and Hindu religious place constructed of white sandstone originally had 3 buildings of which only 2 remain today. The site is surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped moat and has an entrance to the east. A lintel dated from around the 11th century influenced by the Baphuon culture of ancient Khmer was found here. This lintel is currently housed in the Phimai National Museum.

The sanctuary is located at tambon Krathok. From the city take Highway No. 224 for 29 kilometers and continue on to Highway No. 2021 for 3 kilometers. The site is on the right.

 

Places of Worship

Wat Khao Chan Ngam
Wat Khao Chan Ngam is at Ban Loet Sawat. From the city, take Highway No. 2 for 55 kilometres. At Km. 200-201 take a left turn for about 3 kilometres. The temple has prehistoric drawings in the back. To see them, walk past a rock garden and a shady and peaceful forest for about 150 metres. The drawings are in coarse red paint the length of a sandstone cliff about 4 metres above ground. The figures are of people and animals and tell the way of life and some human activities like attire and hunting. It is believed that an agrarian community in the area drew them 3,000-4,000 years ago.

Wat Sala Thong
Wat Sala Thong is in Tambon Hua Thale, about 1 kilometre southeast of the city. This is temple of the Dhamayuti sect. The area around the temple was originally a dense forest where a large sitting stone Buddha image in the Pa Lelai posture was located out in the open. A convocation hall was later built to cover it. The temple has a large pagoda that was built over a smaller one that encased the holy relics of Lord Buddha that were taken from Myanmar’s Chiang Tung.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
about 1 kilometre southeast of the city

 

Wat Sala Thong
Wat Sala Thong is in Tambon Hua Thale, about 1 kilometre southeast of the city. This is temple of the Dhamayuti sect. The area around the temple was originally a dense forest where a large sitting stone Buddha image in the Pa Lelai posture was located out in the open. A convocation hall was later built to cover it. The temple has a large pagoda that was built over a smaller one that encased the holy relics of Lord Buddha that were taken from Myanmar’s Chiang Tung.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
about 1 kilometre southeast of the city

 

Wat Thep Phithak Punnaram
Located at Khao Si Siat Aa, in Tambon Klang Dong, the temple houses a huge seated Buddha image that is 27 meters wide and 45 meters high. The image is enshrined on a mountaintop that can be reached via a 1,250 steps representing the number of monks that gathered spontaneously to hear the Lord Buddha's first sermon. (an occasion that is commemorated on Magha Puja Day)

By OTHER
Take Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Saraburi) at Km. 150 and go on an asphalt road for 3 kilometres.

 

Wat Thammachak Semaram
Wat Thammachak Semaram is in Ban Khlong Khwang in Tambon Sema. The place used to be a religious site in the Dvaravati period. The important artefact here is a huge reclining Buddha image made of red sandstone that stretches from north to south. It is 13.30 metres long and 2.80 metres high. It dates from 657 AD. The head is south and faces east. The face is somewhat square and made of 4 sandstone slabs on top of one another. The body is composed of sandstone blocks stacked vertically. Moreover, there is an old sandstone Buddhist symbol in the form of a cartwheel. The bottom part is the face of a forest keeper. It is kept in a pavilion. Other artefacts include bronze Buddha images, fired clay images, glass beads, a fired clay loom, and a stone inscription tablet. They are on display in Phimai National Museum.

Wat Phra Narai
Located on Prajak Road, the monastery houses a Khmer sandstone statue of Vishnu, the Hindu god. This statue is highly revered by local residents and is considered the Provinces most sacred object.

Ban Rai Temple (Wat Ban Rai)
This is one of the most famous temples in the province as it is the residence of the revered monk Luang Pho Khun Parisuttho. Many worshippers from all over the country come pay their respect daily. The temple is located in Tambon Kut Phiman, about 60 kilometers from the city. To reach the monastery, take Mitraparp Highway to the 237-km marker, turn right past Kham Thale So and Nong Suang to Dan Khun Thot. From Dan Khun Thot Hospital use Highway No. 2217 and drive for 11 kilometers.

Wat Sala Loi
Wat Sala Loi is to the northeast of the city, 500 metres from Rop Mueang Road. Thao Suranari and her husband built the temple in 1827. The highlight is the convocation hall that was awarded the prize as the best avant-garde religious building from the Siam Architects Society in 1973. The hall is in an applied Thai style in the shape of a junk riding the waves. Local Dan Kwian clay tiles were used to decorate the building to tell the life of Lord Buddha. The door is made of metal with raised designs of the Buddhist tale. The hall houses a large standing white Buddha image. In front of the door is a plaster sculpture of Thao Suranari sitting praying in the middle of a pond. Beside the building is a small pagoda that used to house the ashes of Thao Suranari. A glass wall in the shape of heart-shaped temple boundary markers surrounds the hall... Link 1

City Pillar
City Pillar is at the corner of Chom Phon and Prachak roads. This Chinese-style shrine houses the city pillar that is worshipped by Thais and Chinese. Built in the reign of King Narai the Great during 1656-1688, the shrine and city pillar are made of wood. The inner eastern wall is covered with fired clay tiles with raised designs of the battle of Thao Suranari and the way of life of Thais in ancient times.

Chang Phuak Shrine
Chang Phuak Shrine is a small shrine on the northern part of the city moat at the corner of Manat and Phon Saen roads. It houses a Takhian Hin tree stump that was where the people of Phu Khiao tied elephants for inspectors to look at before presenting them to King Rama I for his transport.

Phra Non Sema
Located 4 kilometers from Amphur Non Sung, is a Reclining Buddha image made of red sand stone which is the most ancient and largest in Thailand. The image is assumed to be built since 1,200 BE. Various archaeological evidence within the area include bronze Buddha images, terra-cotta Buddha printing images, glass beads and inscription stones.

Prang Ku
Prang Ku is in Wat Ban Ku School, Tambon Don Tanin. Take Highway No. 2 for about 74 kilometres, then turn left at the highway police kiosk to Ban Non Ta Then for around 6 kilometres and turn right to Wat Ban Ku School. The site is a small Khmer pagoda with a square base, built of layers of laterite from bottom to top. However, much of it is in ruins, only part of the low base remains. Inside the pagoda are 4-5 fired clay Buddha images.

 

Nature & Wildlife

Lam Takhong Dam
Lam Takhong Dam is at Tambon Lat Bua Khao, around 62 kilometres from the city. A road branches off Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Saraburi) at Km. 193-194 and drive for about 2 kilometres. The dam is an earth-filled dam across the Lam Takhong River that flows through a crevasse. Built in 1974, its primary purpose is to divert water from above the dam for irrigation. Visitors can walk on the dam to enjoy the view of the reservoir with a beautiful background of mountains. The dam is suitable for relaxation when it is not hot. It is open during 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
A road branches off Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Saraburi) at Km. 193-194 and drive for about 2 kilometres.

 

Lam Phra Phloeng Dam
Lam Phra Phloeng Dam can be reached by taking Highway No.304 past the district for 4 kilometres then turn right and drive for 28 kilometres. The dam is under the Royal Irrigation Department. Locals come here to relax, eat, fish, and enjoy the scenery of the reservoir. There are lodges for rent. For information, contact the Lam Phra Phloeng Water Supply and Maintenance Project at tel. (044) 373184 ext. 114. Tourists can rent a long-tail boat to tour the reservoir, travel to Khlong Ki waterfall or Khun Chon waterfall. Each round-trip journey is about 3-4 hours. For information, contact Lam Phra Phloeng Dam Club at tel. 0 4437 3184 ext. 117.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
can be reached by taking Highway No.304 past the district for 4 kilometres then turn right and drive for 28 kilometres

 

Chom Tawan Beach (Hat Chom Tawan)
This is a large beach by the lake, under the office of the 5th Thap Lan National Park Management Area (Lam Plai Mat) that is responsible for jungles in the park in Soeng Sang, Khon Buri and Wang Nam Khiao Districts. A rest area has been developed for the public around the reservoir and plots of land have been designated for locals to make a living and reduce the problem of illegal logging. Tourists normally come to this beach to swim, dine, camp and enjoy the scenery. Long-tail boats can be hired to go on the reservoir. Trekking to various spots like Wang Phi Sua (where a lot of butterflies can be seen in winter), Phra cave, Communist cave and the gigantic Takhian Thong tree that is believed to be over a thousand years old are also popular activities. For more information, call 0 4444 8386.

Haew Suwat Waterfalls
The Haew Suwat Waterfall was probably the most popular waterfall in Khao Yai National Park, but we say this because it was so easy to access, it had a campsite not far from here, and we saw heaps of people. We thought Namtok Haew Narokwas busy, but this waterfall put it on another level.

Huai Yai Waterfall
Huai Yai Waterfall is a tourist destination under the care of Thap Lan National Park. Take Highway No. 304 to the market at Km. 79 for 6 kilometres. The entrance is a sloped walkway about 20 metres long. You will find a small waterfall flowing past 2 large boulders. It has water only in the rainy season around July to September.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
Take Highway No. 304 to the market at Km. 79 for 6 kilometres. The entrance is a sloped walkway about 20 metres long.

 

Sai Ngam
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 its 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 sai ngam occupies an entire island in a small pond.

The western name for a Banyan Tree is Golden Fig although its also commonly known by its latin name Ficus. The Banyan is very significant in Buddhism as the Buddha supposedly found enlightenment while sitting in the shade of a Banyan Tree. Since the event happened over 2,500 years ago we can't know for certain if this is true, or if the tree is just part of the symbolism of Buddhism. A Banyan reproduces by sending tendrils down from its branches which can take root and form a new tree. Often, as is the case with Sai Ngam, the new trunks stay connected to the parent so that you have one tree, one life, with many trunks, many branches, many lives. Cosmic, yeah? 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 Sai Ngam you'll find a cool and green place to rest after exploring the ruins of Prasat Hin Phimai. Oh yeah, I mentioned lunch too, didn't I? Sai Ngam is such a popular picnic spot among Thais that you'll find a large selection of food stalls adjacent to the tree's island home... Link 1

How to Get There:

By OTHER
Cross Tha Songkran Bridge into the town and take a branch road to the dam for 2 kilometres.

 

Khao Yai National Park
The park, which covers an area of 2,168 square kilometers in the Phanom Dong Rak mountain range, stretches over 4 provinces including Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Nayok, Saraburi, and Prachin Buri. Khao Yai became Thailands first national park on 18th September 1962 and is also originally recognized as the National Park Heritage of Asian Group Countries.

The park is comprised of mixed forests and rainforests with some wide plains and grasslands interspersed with verdant forests. There are many valuable plants, including commercial plants, scented plants and herbs. In addition, there are several mountains with peaks ranging from 800 to 3,000 meters above sea level making Khao Yai a cool climate area, even in summer.

The most popular time to visit Khao Yai is during the cool season or from October to February. In the rainy season, the area is refreshingly green with overflowing waterfalls, sending echoes all around.

Popular activities in the park include butterfly and bird watching, animal watching and trekking. The Park has numerous butterflies and birds as surveys indicate that over 293 species of birds use Khao Yai as a feeding ground while Khao Yai is the habitat of over 200 species. In addition, the park is home to an abundance of wildlife. The most frequently spotted animal is the deer that grazes on grass plains and sometimes come to be fed around the park office. Other animals spotted include elephants, sun bears, wild boars, monkeys, tigers, gaurs, and mountain goats. To facilitate animal watching the park built 2 wildlife watchtowers at Mo Singto and Nong Phak Chi. Visitors are allowed up there between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. In addition, those who want to go on a night safari by car must contact the park office before 6 p.m. Moreover, Khao Yai has over 20 trekking trails for visitors to choose from, each different in natural beauty and distance. While some trails like the Kong Kaeo trail and the Kilometer 33 trail (Thanarat Road-Nong Phak Chi) take 1-2 hours to complete, other trails like the Nang Rong-Khao Yai trail, Samo Pun trail or Kho Yo 4 Unit-Wang Heo waterfall trail require overnight stays. Information and guides can be obtained from the tourist service centre.

Places of Interest in the Park:

Kong Kaeol Waterfall (Namtok Kong Kaeol)

This is a low waterfall, which is especially lovely in the rainy season originated from Huay Lam Takhong that divides Nakhon Nayok and Nakhon Ratchasima Provinces. The waterfall can be reached by a walking distance of 100 meters from the tourist service center. Visitors can enjoy swimming at the waterfall or taking short nature trips on nearby nature trails.

Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall (Namtok Pha Kluai Mai)

This is a medium-sized waterfall in Huay Lam Takhong with two separate bodies of water flowing down rock levels to merge at the bottom. In the area visitors can find the Red Dendrobium orchid that is the symbol of the waterfall. The waterfall is about 7 kilometers from the park office and can be reached by car and on foot. In addition, there is a trail from the waterfall that leads to Heo Suwat Waterfall.

Heo Suwat Waterfall (Namtok Heo Suwat)

This is a famous waterfall that cascades from a 20-meters high cliff. The waterfall, which is located at the end of Thanarat Road and being accessible by car, is only 100 meters by foot from the parking lot or a 3-kilometer walk from Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall. Visitors can view the falls from a distant viewpoint that offers a high-angle view of the waterfall through the trees or from the waterfall itself. However, please note that in the rainy season the water flows rapidly and caution should be taken.

Heo Narok Waterfall (Namtok Heo Narok)

This is the largest and highest waterfall in the park with 3 levels. The first level is about 60 meters high and water from this level flows straight down to the second and third levels, with a total drop of at least 150 meters. The water has considerable strength in the rainy season and is quite dangerous, but refreshing, when it comes splashing down on rocks at the bottom. The area around the waterfall is the usual feeding grounds of wild elephants. There have been occasional accidents when elephants drop from the cliff and die. For a beautiful view of the waterfall, visitors can walk 1 kilometer from the main road to a viewpoint. The waterfall itself is located to the south of the Park Office on the way to Prachin Buri.

There are also other lesser waterfalls in the park like Namtok Mai Plon, Namtok Heo Sai and Namtok Heo Prathul. For more information, contact the Parks tourist service centre.

Traveling to the Park

Khao Yai National Park is only about 205 kilometers from Bangkok. There are 2 ways of getting there; from the 56 kilometer marker of Mitraparp Highway, turn onto Thanarat Road and proceed for approximately 23 kilometers or at Hin Kong intersection, turn onto Highway No. 33 (Nakhon Nayok-Prachin Buri) and proceed to the Noen Hom intersection and take Highway No. 3077 to the park. The second route is rather steep and is more suitable for the return trip.

If traveling by bus, get off at Amphoe Pak Chong and continue on a mini-bus up to the gate of Khao Yai National Park. The fare is 15 baht and services are provided between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. From there, visitors should flag a passing car to the park office or rent a car directly from Pak Chong.

Notice: Due to over capacity and protect the environment of Khao Yai National Park, Royal Forest Department has announced to limit the number of visitors since July 1,2008 , therefore visitors should inquire Khao Yai National Park directly before travelling at tel. 08 1877 3127 , 08 6092 6531 which operate 24 hrs. or visit website www.dnp.go.th

Admission fee : Adult 400 baht and Child 200 baht (If only visiting the area from Nern Hom checkpoint to San Chao Pho Check point, the admission fee is adult 200 baht and child 100 baht) and the fee of one car is 50 baht.

Facilities

There is a campsite at Pha Kluai Mai that can accommodate up to 1,000 visitors. The fee is 10 baht for children and 20 baht for adults per night. There is a restaurant and tents and sleeping bags for rent. Moreover, there are 2 more service areas at Kong Kaeo and Yaowachon that can accommodate up to 250 tourists. The fee is 30 baht each, though sleeping gear is not provided. Visitors can obtain permission from the park before 6 p.m. For more information, call the National Parks Division, Royal Forest Department, Tel. (66) 2579-7223 and (66) 2579-5734, or contact the Park Office at P.O. Box 9, Amphoe Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
Khao Yai National Park is only about 205 kilometres from Bangkok. You can take 1 of 2 ways; from Km. 56 of Mittraphap Road go on to Thanarat Road for about 23 kilometres or at Hin Kong intersection, go onto Highway No. 33 (Nakhon Nayok-Prachin Buri) to Noen Hom intersection and take Highway No. 3077 to the park. The second route is rather steep and is more suitable for the return trip.

 

Khao Phaeng Ma
Khao Phaeng Ma Reforestation Project to Honour His Majesty the King is in the southern part of Nakhon Ratchasima. Take Highway No. 304 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Kabin Buri) for 79 kilometres to the market at Km. 79. Take a right on Ro Pho Cho Road (San Chao Pho-Nong Khum) for 11 kilometres. The last part of about 4 kilometres is a dirt road going uphill that is rugged but has good views. Upon reaching the top, you will see some winding mountains. The peak is 850 metres above sea level. The area is under the care of the Wildlife Foundation of Thailand and has an area of 16 square kilometres. Activities include reforestation, trekking, animal watching (particularly some remaining gaurs), and slide shows for interested parties. There is accommodation in the form of 3 bamboo lodges that can each accommodate 10-20 people. Prior contact can be made at the project in Mu 5, Tambon Wang Nam Khiao, tel. 08 1907 8260, 08 1999 7468 ... Link 1

How to Get There:

By OTHER
Take Highway No. 304 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Kabin Buri) for 79 kilometres to the market at Km. 79. Take a right on Ro Pho Cho Road (San Chao Pho-Nong Khum) for 11 kilometres.

 

Tham Khao Chan Ngam
The cave is located approximately 58 kilometers southwest of the city, off of Highway No. 2. Consisting of a series of rock formations, the cave is notable for its prehistoric paintings with figures of people and animals drawn in coarse red paint. Historians claim that an agrarian community inhabited this area some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.

 

Recreational & Entertainment

Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo
Covering an area of 545 rai (218 acres), the zoo is one of the most modern in Asia. The enclosures are large and landscaped by section to match the habitat of each animal most of which have come from Africa. The most popular animals are penguins, seals, African elephants, rhinoceros, cheetahs, lions, zebras, and giraffes. There is also a reptile building and a hornbill garden. In addition to being an ideal place to study biology, the zoo is a great place for relaxation as the grounds are decorated with lovely flowers. Other than the shuttle services that are provided to transport visitors around the zoo, there are bicycles available for rent. The zoo is open daily between 8.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. The fee is 15 baht for children, 70 baht for adults, and 30 baht for four-wheel vehicles. For information, call 0 4435 7355, 0 4421 6251-3 or visit www.zoothailand.org

The Zoo is located approximately 18 kilometers south of the city on Highway No. 304 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Pak Thong Chai), however, it is also accessible via Highway No. 2310 (approximately 1 kilometer drive). Visitors traveling by bus from the city can take air-conditioned bus No. 1415... Link 1

How to Get There:

By OTHER
19 kilometres south of the city on Highway No. 304 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Pak Thong Chai), then take a left onto Highway No. 2310 for approximately 1 kilometre.

 

Farm Chokchai
Location: 169 Mu 2 Thanon Mittaphap, Amphoe Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130. Tel. 0 4432-8485. Ext. 116, 0 4432 8386, 0 4436 1770-4. Head Office tel. 0 2532 2846 ext. 135, 0 2523 9103. Website: www.farmchokchai.com

Farm Chokchai is a fully integrated dairy farm perched on a vast stretch of plains amidst a scenic surrounding. An agro-tourism farm where visitors can learn about milking, making of fresh milk ice cream, animal feed plant, and several other activities. Superb tourist facilities provided.

The farm opens on Saturdays, Sundays and Official holidays. Open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for a group visit of at least 30 persons. There are 3-5 rounds of tours, each taking approximately 3 hours... Link 1

Lam Takhong Rest Area
This rest area is also known as Suan Na Chat, is a rest area for vehicle drivers to relax from driving. It is on Highway No. 2 (Saraburi-Nakhon Ratchasima) between the 193 and 194 kilometer markers on an area of 16.89 square kilometers. This place offers the most beautiful view north of Lam Takhong reservoir. It has a complete range of services and facilities and is an example of a modern rest area. Moreover, it is called the gateway to the Northeast.

The Information Center in the rest area provides tourist information about the northeastern provinces, accommodations, viewpoints, a garden, food and beverage stores, a convenience store, restrooms, and public telephones. In addition, there is also a sculpture of General Chatchai Choonhavan, a former prime minister, in a standing position with arms folded and leaning against his favorite motorcycle. The sculpture measures 3.40 meters high and is made from green sandstone.

The main activity for visitors at Lam Takhong is rafting on a route that goes past homes, orchards and green trees. The difficulty level is at 1-2, which is not too hard for rafting novices. Moreover, the area is suitable for a family outing. The best time to visit is between May and September because there is lots of water that can create some excitement that is not dangerous. During the dry season there is too little water for rafting. Each rafting trip takes about 2 hours and visitors can add to their enjoyment by taking an elephant ride afterwards. For more information on the elephant ride, contact Pang Chang Khao Yai on Thanarat Road, Kilometer 19.5, Tel. 0 4429 7183... Link 1

Decorated Plants, Flower Garden, and Organic vegetable Plant
Located in Amphoe Wang Nam Khiao, it covers an area of approximately 60 sq.km. The Plantation cultivates over 40 kinds of Thai fruits such as rambutan, Mangosteen, longan, lamyai, lichee, etc... Link 1

 

Educational places

Rajabhat Nakhon Ratchasima University Arts and Cultural Center
Rajabhat Nakhon Ratchasima Arts and Cultural Centre is on Suranarai Road. Upon entering Rajabhat Institute, turn left at the sign to a two-story wooden house and Khorat House where information is collected and kept. Also displayed are tools and artefacts that are used to study the way of life of Khorat and northeastern people of the past. The centre is divided into sections, such as Khorat city, ancient documents, local occupation, Isan fabrics, Khorat goods, music, and Khorat people. It is open on weekdays during public hours. For information, call 0 4424 6341 ext. 1216 and fax 0 4424 4739.

How to Get There:

By OTHER
Upon entering Rajabhat Institute, turn left at the sign to a two-story wooden house and Khorat House where information is collected and kept.

 

Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
Sakaerat Environmental Research Station is a research centre of plant species in the northeastern jungles and is open to groups interested in organising eco-tours. It is beside Highway No. 304 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Kabin Buri) and is 57 kilometres from the city. It has an area of about 78 square kilometres (48,750 rai). The area is mainly dry jungles and hardwood forests. Many animals are found here, including wild boars, pheasants and a variety of birds. If you go up a tower built by the station over the treetops, you will see a vast green jungle around you, as well as Khao Phaeng Ma further away. The climate is cool all year round. There are several nature study trails that can take from 1.5 hours to 3 hours. There are 3 houses available that can accommodate 20 people each. For information, call Tel. 0 4425 8642, 0 4424 4474.

Maize and Sorghum Research Centre (Rai Suwan)
Location: Tambon klang Dong, Amphoe Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30320. Tel. (66) 4436-1770-4 Formerly called Thana Farm and belonging to Field Marshall Sarit Thanarat, the Farm was later transferred to Kasetsart University and became the Maize and Sorghum Research Center. The main purpose of the Center is to carry out research and publicize technology for the growing of maize and sorghum as well as other field crops. The Center also other provides support for research and training at both domestic and international levels, in addition, to producing seeds of maize, sorghum and other field crops. Basic tourist facilities provided are a touring route, toilets, field crop seeds for sale and food stalls. Advance contact is recommended.

 

 

 
 


 
 
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