Nakhon Ratchasima used to be the site of several ancient prehistoric communities that continued to grow when the Dvaravati culture came in and later when the Khmer culture replaced it. An important prehistoric site is Ban Prasat. Traces of Dvaravati and Khmer cultures are scattered throughout the province, particularly at Amphoe Sung Noen and Amphoe Phimai. Nakhon Ratchasima has been a key city since ancient times as an administration centre. It was responsible for many northeastern cities in the past. Even now, its status has remained unchanged in that it is the Northeast’s main transportation hub and economic centre.
Nakhon Ratchasima, or “Khorat,” is a large province on the northeastern plateau and is like the gateway to other provinces in the Northeast. It is 259 kilometres from Bangkok and has an area of around 20,494 square kilometres. The province is rich in Khmer culture and has a long history. It also has beautiful natural surroundings, with many forests, mountains, waterfalls, and reservoirs. Furthermore, it is well known for a variety of quality handicrafts that visitors can choose from.
There are three routes to take from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.
Air-conditioned buses from Bangkok leave very frequently. The journey takes around 3 and a half hours.
Trains leave from Bangkok Railway Station to Nakhon Ratchasima 7 times daily from 6.50 a.m.-11.25 p.m. It takes about 6 hours. For information, call Railway Information of the State Railways of Thailand at tel. 1690, 0 2220 4334, 0 2220 4444 or visit http://www.railway.co.th.
Rail facts – Most people when going to Nakhon Ratchasima City from Bangkok do not take the train as it’s very slow. It is used mostly by those living in the rural areas of the north-east who can not get to their homes directly by bus.
There are no longer any direct flights into Nakhon Ratchasima since June 2007. The nearest airport is at Buriram.
Bus - The Transport Co., Ltd. (known as Bo Kho So) has both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses departing from the Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) daily. Air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok every 30 minutes all day, non air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok every hour from 5 a.m.-8 p.m., travelling time is 4.30 hours. For information, call 0 2936 2852-66 or check a current information at www.traco.motc.go.th. Private companies that run bus services are Ratchasima Tour Co., tel. 0 4424 5443, Bangkok tel. 0 2936 1615 and Air Khorat Co., tel. 0 4425 2999, Bangkok tel. 0 2936 2252-66 or visit http://www.transport.co.th
There are many lines of songthaews (public passenger pick-up vehicles) and buses running in the city and nearby areas. A more convenient way to get around is to take tricycles (Sam Lor), motorbike-taxis and motorized tricycles called Tuk Tuk in the city. The price must be agreed upon before a trip. If travelling to another district, you can take a bus at Bus Terminal 1 on Burin Road where there are songthaews and buses. At Bus Terminal 2, there are only buses running to Amphoe Phimai Dan Kwian-Chok Chai and other province.
For information, call Bus Terminal 1 on Burin Road, tel. 0 4424 2899 and 0 4426 8899 and Bus Terminal 2 on the Mittraphap-Khon Kaen Road, tel. 0 4425 6006-9 ext. 175, 176 (air-conditioned), 178 (regular).
Buses running to other provinces leave from Bus Terminal 2. There are services to the north-eastern 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 Bangkok, Chon Buri, Pattaya, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Lop Buri, Sing Buri, Nakhon Sawan, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai (up to Mae Sai).
Nakhon Ratchasima or Khorat as it is known by locals is Thailand’s largest province and the ‘Gateway to Isarn’ (gateway to the north-east). In concern to tourism, locals Thais make up the majority. Most foreigners when they visit the north-east view Khorat as just the stepping stone and pass right through without taking the opportunity to tour this beautifully natural province with its rich Khmer influence.
Khorat is traditionally an agricultural province where most of the population works in farming such as: rice, sugar cane, tapioca, corn, jute, peanuts, sesame and fruits. In this day and age however, many of Khorat’s younger generation are moving to near-by Bangkok to work.
Since Khorat used to be a former US Airbase during the Vietnam War, there is quite a significant amount of war veteran retirees in Khorat. They simply never did go back ‘home’.
Pak Thong Chai on the other hand is famed for its high quality hand-woven traditional silk and it is the industry of one whole village there. Then there is Dan Kwiang where pottery has been the local’s way of life for centuries.
The people of Khorat are a mixed-breed. There are those of Khmer ancestry, Laotian ancestry and Chinese ancestry. In the town areas, most of the people speak standard Thai but in the more rural areas, they speak ‘Khorat’ which is a dialect half way between Thai and Isaan (Laotian).
In Dan Kwian however, the folk have traditionally been working in the field of pottery for centuries
Festivals and Events
Phimai Boat Races - held yearly by the people of Amphoe Phimai during the second weekend of November
Thao Suranari Memorial Fair is held annually from March 23 to April 2 to commemorate the victory of Thao Suranari. Visitors can enjoy cultural displays, exhibitions, and fireworks.
Prasat Phimai Festival takes place simultaneously with the boat races at the historical park historical Park. Visitors can enjoy light and sound presentation of buddhist, historical, and cultural exhibitions.
Wat Sala Loi (วัดศาลาลอย) 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.
Lam Takhong Dam was constructed to protect Lam Takhong at Chong Khao Keuanlan and Chong Khao Thansiad. Lam Takhong Dam (เขื่อนลำตะคอง) 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. Sai NgamLocated on the bank of the Moon River. Includes many of the tallest banyan trees in Thailand.
Wat Khao Chan Ngam (วัดเขาจันทน์งาม) 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
Amphoe MueangNakhon Ratchasima
Thao Suranari Monument (อนุสาวรีย์ท้าวสุรนารี) 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.
As the story goes 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 againt 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 hold a festival to honour her bravery.
Pratu Chum Phon (ประตูชุมพล) 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.
City Pillar (ศาลหลักเมือง) 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 (ศาลเจ้าช้างเผือก) 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.
Rajabhat Nakhon Ratchasima University Arts and Cultural Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปวัฒนธรรมมหาวิทยาลัยราชภัฏนครราชสีมา) 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.
Wat Sala Thong (วัดศาลาทอง) 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.
Wat Pa Salawan (วัดป่าสาละวัน) is in the city behind the train station. The temple houses the ashes of the most revered Buddhist monks, Achan Sao and Achan Man, as well as those of Achan Sing, the ex-abbot of the temple who built it.
Miss Bun Luea Memorial (อนุสรณ์สถานนางสาวบุญเหลือ) is in Bun Luea Witthayanuson School in Tambon Khok Sung, 12.5 kilometres from the city on the Nakhon Ratchasima-Chaiyaphum road on the left. It was opened on 6 July 1986. The monument is made of bronze and is 175 centimetres high. It was built to honor the heroism of Miss Bun Luea and Nakhon Ratchasima people who gave their lives fighting Chao Anuwong in 1826 at Thung Samrit by tossing lighted coal bundles into a wagon carrying gunpowder of the Lao army and totally destroying it. The explosion killed Miss Bunlua.
Prasat Phanom Wan (ปราสาทหินพนมวัน) 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.”
Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo (สวนสัตว์นครราชสีมา) is 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. If travelling by minibus from the city, minibus No. 4129.
The zoo has an area of 545 rai (218 acres) and is one of the most modern in Asia. The enclosures are large and the zoo has landscaped each section so it matches the habit of each animal. Most of the animals here are from Africa. Of note are penguins, seals, African elephants, rhinoceros, cheetahs, lions, zebras, and giraffes. There is also a reptile building and a hornbill garden. The zoo is ideal for biology study and relaxation. The area is decorated with lovely flowers. A trailer takes visitors around the zoo, and there are bicycles for rent. Beside, inside the Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo, there sections called the Children Zoo. The purpose of setting these sections is to provide children, youth or people the chance to have a close study about animals’ predicament. This setting, the hall type, is exhibited with various medias and technics , for examples the earth derivation in three dimensions model, the original and evolutional of lives, the birth of the humanity, the world of the eggs and the environment. The zoo is open daily during 8.00 am.-6 pm. The fee is 50 baht for children, 100 baht for adults, and 50 baht for four-wheel cars. For information, call 0-4493-4537 - 8 www.zoothailand/nakhonratchasimazoo.org E-mail: [email protected]
Amphoe Pak Chong
Rafting on Lam Takhong (ล่องแก่งลำตะคอง) This route takes you past homes, orchards and green trees. The difficulty level is at 1-2, which is not too hard for rafting novices. The area is good for family outing. The best time to come is during May-September because there is lots of water that can create some excitement that is not dangerous. There is too little water in the dry season to do rafting. Each rafting trip takes about 2 hours and tourists can add to their enjoyment by taking an elephant ride afterwards. For information, contact Pang Chang Khao Yai (Jungle House Resort) on Thanarat Road, Km. 19.5, tel. 0 4429 7689-90
Wat Thep Phithak Punnaram (วัดเทพพิทักษ์ปุณณาราม) is at Khao Si Siat A in Tambon Klang Dong. Take Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Saraburi) at Km. 150 and go on an asphalt road for 3 kilometres. The temple houses a huge sitting Buddha image, called “Luang Pho Yai” by locals. It is 27 metres wide and 45 metres high. It is made of steel-reinforced concrete and sits majestically on a mountaintop 112 metres up. The stairway up divides into 2 sides that are curved like the edge of a bo leaf (a symbol of Buddhism). There are altogether 1,250 steps, signifying the number of monks that gathered without prior appointment on Makha Bucha Day.
Klang Dong Fruit Market (ตลาดผลไม้กลางดง) is a marketplace for the agricultural produce of Nakhon Ratchasima and nearby provinces. The famous fruit of the Klang Dong Fruit Market is custard apple which can be purchased throughout the year. The period when plenty of custard apples are found in the market and custard apple trees are fruitful is during July and August. Popular species which are widely grown are Fai, Nang and Australian ones. The Fai variety has been well-known for a long period of time. Purchasing the Fai ones as souvenirs for elder relatives would suit their taste because it is easy to eat. As for the Australian species, the fruit is green and possess great taste. However, only few people choose to have it because it is not widely known and its cost is higher compared to other kinds. Lippataphanlop Information Technology Center or Lam Takhong Rest Area (ศูนย์สารสนเทศลิปตพัลลภ หรือ ที่พักริมทางลำตะคอง) also known as “Suan Na Chat”, is a car rest area so drivers can relax from driving. It is on Highway No. 2 between Km. 193-194 (Saraburi-Nakhon Ratchasima) on an area of 16.89 square kilometres. This place offers the most beautiful view north of Lam Takhong reservoir. It has a complete range of services and facilities. It is an example of a modern rest area and is called the gateway to the Northeast.
The Information Centre in the area provides tourist information on northeastern provinces, accommodation, 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, the former prime minister, in a standing position with arms folded and leaning against his favorite motorcycle. It is 3.40 metres high and is made from green sandstone.
Military Dog Academy (ศูนย์การสุนัขทหาร) is under the Department of Veterinary, Royal Thai Army. It is Thailand’s largest dog training centre. It is at Tambon Nong Sarai beside Highway No. 2 between Km. 183-184. Most of the dogs trained are German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers. There is also a club that trains dogs for the public. To promote tourism in military areas, the army allows visitors to see a museum inside that displays mines, weapons from battlefields and dog equipment. The museum is open everyday in February – September, the other months open on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 a.m.-12.00 a.m.. Each show features dog obedience training at the beginner and intermediate levels, explosive and drug detection, manoeuvring over obstacles, etc. For information, contact at tel. 0 4439 0113-4. Ext. 9007 (on Monday - Friday) 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.
Thong Somboon Club located at 119, Mu 10, Pak Chong-Hua lam Road, Tambon Pak Chong. This vast touristic place is best suited for adventurous lovers owing to many interesting activities provided such as mountain climbing, horse riding, go cart, ATV driving and scenery viewing by mini train vehicle, Luge , Flying fox etc. It is opened daily from 8 am.-5 pm., for more information please contact Tel. 0 4431 2248, 0 4431 2316 or www.thongsomboon-club.com
Lam Takhong Hydroelectric Plant (โรงไฟฟ้าพลังน้ำลำตะคองแบบสูบกลับ) is at Lam Takhong Dam in Tambon Khlong Phai. This hydroelectric plant supports the system when it is at maximum capacity. It works by using excess electricity to pump water from the reservoir and transferring it to another reservoir higher up. When the demand peaks in the evening, it releases the pumped water to generate the turbines below to create electricity. Interested persons must submit a written application. For information, call tel. 0 4422 2570 –4 ext. 5130
Amphoe Sung Noen
Muang Sema Historical Site Mueang Sema Historical Site (โบราณสถานเมืองเสมา) is in Tambon Sema, 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. 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.
Wat Thammachak Semaram (วัดธรรมจักรเสมาราม) 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.
Prasat Non Ku (ปราสาทโนนกู่) is situated at Ban Kok Kok, Mu 7, Tambon Khorat, 3 kilometres from the Wat Yanasophitawanaram crossroads. It is a small ancient remain made of bricks and sandstone. Its plan is in a rectangle shape, facing towards the east. It comprises a single prang on a high base and 2 Wihan structures facing towards the prang. These are surrounded with a boundary wall with entrance archways (Gopura) on the east and the west. Moreover, at the ground between the 2 Wihan structures lies a Nandin bull, crouching in a respectful manner towards the main sanctuary where the spirit of the Hindu God Shiva is believed to reside. In 1991 – 1992, a lot of archaeological evidence was excavated, creating an assumption that this place might possibly be a Hindu shrine, constructed in an ancient Khmer style of art during the 11th century.
Prasat Mueang Khaek (ปราสาทเมืองแขก) is 600 metres from Prasat Non Ku. It is a large ancient remain, made of bricks and sandstone with a plan in a rectangular shape, facing towards the north. It comprises of a main sanctuary, 2 structures of Bannalai (library), gallery, entrance archways, pond, boundary wall, and a small brick building. From the archaeological excavation in 1959 and during 1990 – 1991, beautifully engraved stone lintels in various designs, god sculptures, as well as, a stone inscription which was used to construct the base of the outermost entrance archway were discovered. It is assumed that this prasat might possibly be another Hindu shrine, aged around the 10th century.
Prasat Mueang Kao (ปราสาทเมืองเก่า) is situated within the compound of Wat Prang Mueang Kao, Tambon Khorat, 3 kilometres from Prasat Mueang Khaek. It can be noticed that the entrance of the temple was constructed similar to the city gate of old Khorat Town and there is a replica Monument of Thao Suranari (Khunying Mo or Ya Mo). Prasat Mueang Kao is a small-size ancient remain made of laterite and sandstone with a rectangular plan, facing towards the east. It is a religious site of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism in the Arogayasala (nursing home) category which was constructed after the command of King Jayavarman VII, the last great king of the ancient Khmer Empire. It was built during 1181 – 1220. It comprises a main prang on a square base with 12 redented corners and a Bannalai (Library) structure at the right front corner, surrounded with a boundary wall and an entrance archway at the front. Outside the wall lies a pond in a rectangular shape lined with laterite. However, at present, there remains only a long line of soil rise similar to a wall.
Those interested in the story of the lintels and artefacts discovered in these three sanctuaries can visit the Phimai National Museum.
Amphoe Dan Khun Thot
Wat Ban Rai (วัดบ้านไร่) is in Tambon Kut Phiman, about 60 kilometres from the city. Take Mittraphap Road to Km. 237, 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 kilometres. Wat Ban Rai is a famous temple of the province as it is the residence of the revered monk Luang Pho Khun Parisuttho. There are many worshippers who come to see him daily.
Amphoe Pak Thong Chai
Wat Na Phra That (วัดหน้าพระธาตุ) is at Mu 1, Tambon Takhu. From the city, take Highway No. 304 for around 30 kilometres (past Pak Thong Chai intersection). Then take a right turn onto Highway No. 2236 to Ban Takhu 4 kilometres away. The temple is on the left. This old temple was probably built during the reign of King Rama III. In the compound are some interesting structures including a pagoda, a convocation hall and a scripture hall in the middle of a pond that is well preserved. The temple has a number of local arts. The old convocation hall has wall murals from the early Rattanakosin period that is almost complete on the outer front wall and all 4 sides of the inner walls. The murals tell the story of the Buddhist tale and show people paying homage to Lord Buddha’s footprint. Furthermore, there are images of the daily life of locals in the past like farming and fishing. In front of the old convocation hall is a rectangular pool where the scripture hall is located. The hall is a low structure like other northeastern halls and it has exquisite lacquered designs on the door. Between the hall and the old convocation hall is a Lao pagoda built by migrants from Vientiane.
Lam Phra Phloeng Dam (เขื่อนลำพระเพลิง) 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
Amphoe Wang Nam Khoew
Sakaerat Environmental Research Station (สถานีวิจัยสิ่งแวดล้อมสะแกราช) 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
Huai Yai Waterfall (น้ำตกห้วยใหญ่) 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.
Khao Phaeng Ma (เขาแผงม้า) 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 no accommodation here. Tourists can come in the morning and leave in the evening. Those who do not have a wheeled car can rent a car from a tourist guide at Kluay Pa Group. For more information, contact Tel: 08-1955-3018, 08-4355-4720
Amphoe Chok Chai
Dan Kwian Pottery Village (หมู่บ้านทำเครื่องปั้นดินเผาด่านเกวียน) is 15 kilometres from the city on Highway No. 224 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Chok Chai). The area used to be a rest area for caravans trading between Khorat and Cambodia. The Mun River flows through it. Villagers use clay from the river banks to make pottery and have continued doing so for many generations. Nowadays Dan Kwian is famous as a centre that produces beautiful pottery that has a variety of strange designs. However, the locals still retain the original techniques of making pottery and using a type of black clay that is the identity of the area.
Amphoe Soeng Sang
Hat Chom Tawan (หาดชมตะวัน) 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. The area around the reservoir has been developed into a rest area for the public and there are plots for locals to make a living to reduce the problem of illegal logging. Tourists normally come to swim and dine here, and enjoy the scenery and even camping. Long-tail boats can be hired to go on the reservoir. Trekking to various spots can also be done, like Wang Phi Sua (where a lot of butterflies can be seen in the cool season), Phra cave, Communist cave and the gigantic Takhian Thong tree that is believed to be over a thousand years old. For information, call tel. 0 4443 8092.
Getting There From Nakhon Ratchasima to Soeng Sang, take Highway No. 224, then Highway No. 2071 and 2119, respectively, for 89 kilometres. Turn right at Soeng Sang intersection on Highway No. 2317 for 15 kilometres.
Amphoe Non Sung
Ban Prasat Archaeological Site (แหล่งโบราณคดีบ้านปราสาท) is at Mu 7, Ban Prasat Tai, Tambon Than Prasat. From the city, take Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen) for 44 kilometre and turn right for 1 kilometre. 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 village.
Ban Prasat is the second archaeological site (the first was Ban Chiang) to be set up as an outdoor museum. Findings indicate that in the area lived a community in prehistory to early history. A community of the Dvaravati and Khmer periods thrived here 1,500-3,000 years ago. There are 3 pits that have been landscaped and open to the public. Discoveries include human skeletons and many pottery pieces that were dug up from various levels. They tell us about human evolution and community beliefs and culture of generations of people living in the same area through the years.
Ban Prasat Home Stay (โฮมสเตย์บ้านปราสาท) was formally introduced in 1996 and now Ban Prasat is the prototype of home stay programs in other villages around the country. Groups have been sent from villages to study the operations of Ban Prasat Tai so they can also implement a similar program to increase local income and develop the community way of life. The best time to stay is during October-December when the climate is cool.
Ban Prasat villagers are like other villagers in the region in that most are farmers. Rice farming is done once a year. Villagers use their free time to create handicrafts to supplement their income. Crafts include weaving reed mats and hats, using some trees to make shoes and bags, breeding silkworm, and making Thai stringed musical instruments like So U and So Duang. The area around the village is full of paddy fields. A river called Than Prasat is considered a sacred river that divided Ban Prasat Nua and Ban Prasat Tai. For information on home stay programs, contact the village headman Mr. Thiam Laongklang, tel. 0 4436 7075 or contact TAT Nakhonratchasima office Tel. 0-4421 -3666, 0-4421-3030 open daily during 08.30 am. – 4.30 pm.
National Maize and Wheat Research Centre, Kasetsart University (ศูนย์วิจัยข้าวโพดข้าวฟ่างแห่งชาติ มหาวิทยาลัยเกษตรศาสตร์) is in Tambon Klang Dong in Amphoe Pak Chong. It is at Km. 155 on Mittraphap Road. The centre is under Kasetsart University and is responsible for agricultural research, training, technological dissemination. It was established in 1965. Sweet corn is grown here all year round and is sold to visitors in front of the farm. Maize is also grown as animal feed. There are areas for growing sesame and soybean. The view of the farm is a magnificent one of a corn field in a valley. There are agricultural tours for groups to study agro-technology like production process, sweet corn harvest, etc., as well as eco-tourism activities. Groups wishing to have a guided tour of the centre should contact the centre during official hours at tel. 0 4436 1770-4 Fax. 0 4436 1108.
Farm Chokchai (ฟาร์มโชคชัย) is the Western-style farm on Mittraphap-Pak Chong road at Km.159. It is one of the largest dairy farms in Asia. It is the fifth of twenty-five things to do in Pak Chong from "tripadvisor.com". The farm offers agro-tourism activities with the guide showing the facilities, touring the old farming machine museum, learning a cattle semen collecting demonstration, learning how to milking and milking yourself, touring farm environment on a caravan tractor, watching a cowboy show and learning about their life, playing cowboy games, touring a farm on ATV, horseback riding, taking photos in beautiful environment, watching the sheep dog demonstration, feeding many types of animals and enjoying the pet show. The admission is 250 baht for adults and 150 baht for children. Umm!..Milk ice cream workshop is the most popular activity. It is a workshop to make ice-cream that encourages all family members and groups to work together while having a lot of fun. This activity has extra expenses about 380 Baht per person. For more information, call tel. 0 2998 9381-5 ext.150-157, 0 4432-8485 , 0-4432- 8386 or http://www.farmchokchai.com.
Mueang Porn Flower Garden (สวนเมืองพร) is on Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Saraburi), about 60 kilometres from the city. Turn left at Km. 196 (opposite the entrance to Lam Takhong Dam) and go up Khao Yai Thiang for about 500 metres. The garden breeds over 300 plant species, including tropical and temperate flowers, fruits and trees. The garden is neatly organised into rows and walking paths. There is a plant supermarket and a restaurant from where tourists can enjoy a view of Lam Takhong Reservoir. The garden is open daily during 8 am.-9 pm. For information, call tel. 0 4432 3263, 0 4432 3459 fax 0 4432 3264.
GranMonte Family Vineyard (ไร่องุ่นกรานมอนเต)้ 52 Moo 9 Phayayen, Pakchong Nakhonratchasima is uniquely located in Asoke Valley, Khao Yai and conveniently lies adjacent to Khao Yai National Park. Asoke Valley is known in Thailand for the beautiful yellow blossom flower that is indigenous to the region of Khao Yai. With serene atmosphere and truly beautiful surroundings of Asoke Valley, Khao Yai provides a perfect environmental setting for the GranMonte Vineyard. Bleanding with its natural environment, the beautiful surroundings of Khao Yai has inspired the brand name “GranMonte”, which also translates as “big mountain”. For more information Tel. 0 3622 7334 – 5 http://www.grangmonte.com
How to get there: The easieast access to the GranMonte Estate is via Route 1 to Saraburi, there making a right turn on to Route 2 (Mittraphab Highway) pass Muak Lek and after kilometer marker 144 make a u-turn at the second u-turn, and than take a first left – turn off onto Phansuk – Kudkhla road (passing on the right Dairy Home Restaurant) and proceed about 12 kilometers into the heart of Asoke Valley by following the sinjpost to GranMonte
PB Valley Khao Yai Winery is at 102 Moo 5, Phaya Yen, Pak Chong The easieast access to the GranMonte Estate is via Route 1 to Saraburi, there making a right turn on to Route 2 (Mittraphab Highway) pass Muak Lek and after kilometer marker 144 make a u-turn at the second u-turn, and than take a first left – turn off onto Phansuk – Kudkhla road (passing on the right Dairy Home Restaurant) and proceed 8 km. in to largest winery and only one. The vineyards of PB Valley Estate are open to visitors daily from 8.00 am. To 4.30 pm. Entrance is free. Come and see how excellent Thai wines are grown, groomed and made. Visitors also have the option to join one of the guided Wine Tasting Tours which are being organized by The Great Hornbill Grill which include a tour of the vineyards and the winery as well as a wine tasting for the wine available at the estate. PB Valley receives between 300 – 500 visitors a day. For more information pls. contact Tel. 0 36226415 -6 http://www.khaoyaiwinery.com
While it's not a resort town, there are plenty of things to do, including:
Waterslide park - has an Olympic-sized pool, great to do some laps and stay in shape Landscaped jogging park - near the military base Cinema and bowling alley Golf- all are beautiful golf courses
Dan Kwiang is great for picking up a bit of traditional pottery and Pak Thong Chai is fantastic for getting your hands on some Thai silk. Some local food worth buying for friends in Bangkok may be Isaan ausage, preserved pork and Khorat noodles.
There is regular horse racing meets at the horse racing track of the Second Army Area. It is open to the public and gambling is allowed.
Spa Spa service is available at some of the leading hotels.
Amphoe Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima
Thai/ Chinese Food
Mori (โมริ) Mittraphap Road., Tambon Pak Chong Tel: 0 4431 2662
Amphoe Pak Chong
Khrua KhaoYai (ครัวเขาใหญ่) 27 Mu 7 Km. 13.5 Thanarat Road., Tel: 0 4429 7138 Khrua Nan Nam (ครัวน่านน้ำ) 109/1 Mittraphap Road, Tambon Nong Salai Tel: 0 4431 4543, 0 4431 5635 Khrua Yakha 1 (ครัวหญ้าคา 1) Km. 20 Thanarat Road., Tambon Musi Tel: 0 4429 7151 Kluai Nam Wa (กล้วยน้ำว้า) Thanarat Road., Tel: 08 13213206 Phet Saichon (เพชรสายชล) 360 Mittrapap Road., Tambon Pak Chong Tel: 0 4431 1778 Rin (ริน) 319 Mittraphap Road., Tambon Pak Chong Tel: 0 4431 1988 Amphoe Chok Chai
Amphoe Pak Thongchai
Amphoe Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima
Amphoe Sung Noen
Amphoe Kham Talesor
Amphoe Pak Chong
Amphoe Chok Chai
Amphoe Pak Thong Chai
Amphoe Wang Nam Khiao
Visitors can learn about how to make traditional pottery at Dan Kwian and learn about making hand-woven silk at Pak Chong.
Korat Fried Rice-Noodle (Mee Khorat) The ingredients for this yummy local dish include rice noodles, pork or chicken, fish sauce, soy bean, ground peanuts, bean sprouts, lime, egg and spring onion.
Nakhon Ratchasima has a wide variety of local goods that tourists can buy from city markets or production centres. Famous handicrafts are Dan Kwian earthenware, silk and Mat Mi silk from Pak Thong Chai. Products of housewives can be bought from the Khorat Goods Centre near the provincial hall.
Food products include sausages, fermented sausages, Chinese sausages, minced pork that is found everywhere in the city and in Pak Chong, and Khorat noodles that are sold everywhere. The largest fruit market is Klang Dong Market before going up Khao Yai. This is where produce from Nakhon Ratchasima and nearby provinces is sold. The most famous fruit of Klang Dong is custard apple that is sold all year round.
Amphoe Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima
Amphoe Pak Thong Chai
Pork Product (Mu Yo, Mu Phaen, Kun Chiang)
Amphoe Mueang Nakhon Ratchsima
Amphoe Pak Chong
Many expatriates like to meet up, chat and have a drink at the Veterans of Foreign Wars cafeteria located on Phoklang Road. They can be spotted there at any hour of the day. Types of Nightlife available in Khorat includes:
Pub & Restaurant
Food & Music Entertainment
Health and Medical Centers
Natural World Heritage Site and Adventure Route
Bangkok – Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima
Tel: +66 (0)44 393730 Mobile: +66 (0)81 8773198 UK Dial-in number: +44 (0)208 1146192 Email: [email protected]
--globe-trotter 10:20, 7 February 2010 (EST)