Nakhon Ratchasima , or "Khorat," is a large province on the northeastern plateau and is like a 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 is famous for the highly revered Khun Ying Mo (Ya Mo) statue in the middle of town. It also has beautiful nature, with many forests, mountains, waterfalls, and reservoirs. Furthermore, it is well known for a variety of quality handicrafts that visitors can choose from, particularly the popular clay pottery products of Dan Kwian.
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.
At the city's western gate is the Thao Suranari Monument built in memory of Khunying Mo, a woman who successfully defended the city against Laotian invaders in 1826 while her husband, Khorat's deputy governor, was in Bangkok. Fondly called'Ya Mo' (Grandmother Mo), she was given the title of Thao Suranari (Brave Lady). Built in 1934, the monument shows her standing with one hand on her hip and the other holding a sword pointed down. Locals adorn the base of the tall pedestal, on which she stands, with garlands and offerings daily.
Located in the small town of Phimai on the banks of the Mun River, the Prasat Hin Phimai is one of Thailand's most extensively restored Khmer temple complexes. Though no certain date can be pinpointed for the temple's construction, the central sanctuary was completed during the early 11 th century. The sanctuary lies on a direct route to the former Khmer capital of Angkor. Unlike other sanctuaries though, it is oriented in a southeasternly direction to face that city. Originally a Brahman shrine, the sanctuary was converted into a Mahayana Buddhist temple at the end of the 12 th century. Its lintels and pediments depict scenes from the Ramayana and other Buddhist themes. Though it does not function as a working wat , it is sometimes used as a setting for Buddhist gatherings and celebrations.
Southeast of Khorat is Dan Kwian renowned for its rust-colored pottery made from the local clay with high iron content. The Mon people traveling east from the Burmese border first inhabited the town in the mid-18th century. Nowadays, the town is a collection of small ceramics factories. Shops selling the local pottery (i.e. jewelry, vases, plant pots, and wind chimes) line both sides of the highway at the entrance point to the village.
One of the most striking and innovative, modern temples in this region is Wat Sala Loi (Temple of the Floating Pavilion) located on the banks of the Lam Takhong River. The main wiharn was constructed from local materials and designed in the form of a Chinese junk, garnering it many architectural awards. With the actual site dating back to the time of "Ya Mo', her ashes are still buried here.
Located in None Soung District, the Ban Prasat Archeological Sites was recently recognized for its excavation discoveries, following in the footsteps of Ban Chiang in Udon Thani, which are housed in an onsite museum. Unearthed findings include about 60 human skeletal remains, potteries glazed with red clay, and jewelry.
The district of Pakthongchai is renowned for its high-quality silk fabrics.
Covering an area of 2, 168 sq km, the Khao Yai (Big Mountain) National Park expands over the 4 provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Nayok, Saraburi, and Prachinburi. Established as Thailand's first national park, the geography consists of many overlapping mountains, grassy meadows, and dense forests still inhabited by numerous wildlife and containing a handful of spectacular falls.
Khorat's Maha Weerawong National Museum , located on the grounds of Wat Suthachinda, displays a range of collection from excavated human skeletal remains, Buddha images from the Dvaravati and Ayutthaya eras, ceramics, and wood carvings.
A sandstone image of the Hindu god Vishnu that was originally found at Khmer ruins near the city is now housed in Wat Phra Narai Maharat's wiharn.
Lum Pra Plerng Dam is a nice relaxing site with rental boats for a scenic viewing trip of the dam's surroundings, including the Klong Ki Falls.
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.
Thao Suranari Monument is a memorial to the Thai heroine called'Ya Mo' by locals. Built in 1933, 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 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 would hold a festival to honour her bravery.
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, both the shrine and city pillar were 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 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 the site 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 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.
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.
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 formerly housed the ashes of Thao Suranari. A glass wall in the shape of heart-shaped temple boundary markers surrounds the hall.
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 containing the holy relics of Lord Buddha that were taken from Myanmar's Chiang Tung.
Wat Pa Salawan 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 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 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 10th century. Later during the 13th-14th 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 is 18 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 bus from the city, use air-conditioned bus No. 1415.
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. The zoo is open daily from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The fee is 10 baht for children, 30 baht for adults, and 30 baht for four-wheel cars. For information, call 0 4435 7355, 0 4421 6251-3 or visit The Zoological Park Organization Under the Royal Patronage of H.M. The King
Petrified Wood Park at Ban Krok Duean Ha, Tambon Suranari. Take Highway No. 304 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Pak Thong Chai) for 19 kilometres, turn right into Suranari University of Technology (second gate) and drive for 3 kilometres, turn left onto the Mittraphap-Nong Pling city bypass and drive for 2 kilometres to Wat Krok Duean Ha. The area has a collection of over 10,000 petrified wood pieces. Petrified wood was unearthed here just beneath the surface to 8 metres underground.
The wood is of various sizes from pebbles to rocks with a diametre of over 50 centimetres and some pieces are more than 1 metre long. The wood comes in many colours in the same stone and in different ones. They are aged between 1 to 70 million years old. Provincial authorities plan to make this area a petrified wood park and the first museum of its kind in Asia to conserve these prehistoric treasures for future generations to study.
Khao Yai National Park has an area of about 2,168 square kilometres in the Phanom Dong Rak mountain range. It expands over the 4 provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Nayok, Saraburi, and Prachin Buri. In the past when there were no roads through the area, Khao Yai was regarded among travellers as a wild and dangerous place. The jungle here divides the Central Region and the Northeast. Khao Yai became Thailand's first national park on 18 th September 1962 and is an ASEAN World Heritage because of its variety of flora and fauna.
The general terrain of Khao Yai National Park consists of mixed forests and rainforests. Some parts have wide plains interspersed with verdant forests. There are many valuable plants, including plants that are traded, scented plants and herbs. There are several mountains, with peaks ranging from 800-3,000 metres above sea level. Due to its altitude and the lush jungles here, Khao Yai has a cool climate even in summer, with an average temperature of 23 degrees Celsius. Khao Yai gets the most visitors in the cool season from October to February. In the rainy season, trekking is not as convenient, but the area is refreshingly green and all the waterfalls are full of water, sending echoes all around and creating a lively atmosphere for visitors.
Wild animals that can be frequently seen include deer that graze on grass plains and sometimes come to feed around the park office. Other animals are elephants, sun bears, wild boars, monkeys, tigers, gaurs, and mountain goats. The park built 2 wildlife watchtowers at Mo Singto and Nong Phak Chi. Visitors are allowed up there during 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. Those who want to go on a night safari by car can contact the park office before 6 p.m.
Khao Yai is also suitable for butterfly and bird watching. Surveys found that there are over 200 species of birds here that use Khao Yai as a feeding ground and as a permanent home.
Places of Interest in the Park:
Kong Kaeo Waterfall is a low waterfall that originates from Huay Lam Takhong that divides Nakhon Nayok and Nakhon Ratchasima. It is especially lovely in the rainy season. It is suitable for swimming and can be reached by walking from the tourist service centre for about 100 metres. A rope bridge spanning the waterfall gives the area a natural feel and short nature trails are located nearby.
Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall is a medium-size waterfall in Huay Lam Takhong, about 7 kilometres from the park office. It can be reached by car and by foot. In the area visitors can find the Red Dendrobium orchid that is the symbol of the waterfall. The waterfall has two separate bodies of water flowing down rock levels to merge at the bottom. A trail leads to Heo Suwat Waterfall.
Heo Suwat Waterfall is a famous waterfall at the end of Thanarat Road. It is accessible by car. The waterfall is only 100 metres by foot from the parking lot, or a 3-kilometre walk from Pha Kluai Mai waterfall. The water falls from a cliff about 20 metres up. A distant viewpoint offers a lovely high-angle view of the waterfall through trees, or you can walk down to the waterfall itself. However, please note that in the rainy season the water flows rapidly and caution should be taken.
Heo Narok Waterfall is the largest and highest waterfall of the park. It is south of the park office on the way to Prachin Buri. You can walk 1 kilometre by foot from the main road to a viewpoint where you can see the beautiful waterfall. The waterfall has 3 levels. The first is about 60 metres up. Water from this level flows down to the second and third levels straight down below, with a total drop of at least 150 metres. 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 ground of wild elephants. There have been occasional accidents when elephants drop from the cliff and die.
There are also other lesser waterfalls in the park like Mai Plong Waterfall, Heo Sai Waterfall and Heo Prathun Waterfall. For more information, contact the park's tourist service centre.
Getting There - Khao Yai National Park is only about 205 kilometres from Bangkok. There are 2 ways of getting there; from the 56-km marker of Mittraphap Road, go onto 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.
If taking a bus, get off at Amphoe Pak Chong and continue on a mini-bus up to Khao Yai. The bus will take you up to the gate only. The fare is 15 baht and services run from 6 a.m.-5 p.m. From there, you must flag a passing car to the park office or you can rent a car direct from Pak Chong. The park fee for a foreign adult is 200 baht and a foreign child is 100 baht. Each car is 50 baht.
Accommodation and 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 altogether. The fee is 30 baht each, though sleeping gear is not provided. You can obtain permission from the park before 6 p.m. For more information, call the National Parks Division, Royal Forest Department, tel. 0-2579 -7223 and 0-2579-5734, or contact the park office at P.O. Box 9, Amphoe Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130.
Rafting on Lam Takhong. The 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 outings. The best time to come is during May-September because there is lots of water that can create some excitement and 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 on Thanarat Road, Km. 19.5, tel. 0 4429 7183.
Wat Thep Phithak Punnaram is at Khao Si Siat A in Tambon Klang Dong. Take Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Saraburi) at the 150-km marker 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.
Lam Takhong Rest Area, also known as "Suan Na Chat”, is a car rest area for drivers to relax from driving. It is on Highway No. 2 between the 193-194-km markers (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 about the 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, a former Prime Minister, in a standing position with arms folded and leaning against his favorite motorcycle. It measures 3.40 metres high and is made from green sandstone.
Military Dog Academy 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 the 183-184-km markers. Most of the dogs trained here 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 only on days when there are dog shows. Each show features dog obedience training at the beginner and intermediate levels, explosive and drug detection, maneuvering over obstacles, etc. Shows are held on Sundays during 9.30 -11.30 a.m. (only during November-May). The fee is 40 baht for adults and 20 baht for children. For information, contact the centre at tel. 0-4431- 1990, 0-4431-2809 ext. 9007 or contact the Military Dog Battalion at tel. 0-4431-3666.
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 the 196-197-km markers 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 was 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 from 6 a.m.-6 p.m.
Lam Takhong Hydroelectric Plant 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. Persons interested in visiting must submit a written application. For information, call tel. 0 4421 4990-3.
Wat Khao Chan Ngam is at Ban Loet Sawat. From the city, take Highway No. 2 for 55 kilometres. At the 200-201-km marker, 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.
Sikhio Quarry is on Mittraphap Road, about 50 kilometres from the city at the 206-207-km marker. To the left is a hill of white sandstone. There are traces of square boulders that were mined here, as well as marks left by chisels. Stones from here were probably used in the construction of nearby sanctuaries like Muang Khaek, Non Ku and Muang Kao.
Muang 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 12 th Buddhist century. It grew until the 16 th -17 th 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 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.
Measuring 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.
Dan Khun Thot
Wat Ban Rai is in Tambon Kut Phiman, about 60 kilometres from the city. Take Mittraphap Road 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 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.
Pak Thong Chai
Wat Na Phra That is at Moo 1, Tambon Takhu. From the city, take Highway No. 314 for around 30 kilometres (past Pak Thong Chai intersection). Then take a right turn onto Highway No. 2238 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 Laotian pagoda built by migrants from Vientiane.
Lam Phra Phloeng Dam can be reached by taking Highway No.314 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 more information, contact the Lam Phra Phloeng Water Supply and Maintenance Project at tel. 0-4437-3184 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 more information about the boat trips, contact Lam Phra Phloeng Dam Club at tel. 0-4437-3184 ext. 117.
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 the 79-km marker. 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. Advance reservations can be made at the project in Moo 5, Tambon Wang Nam Khiao, tel. 0- 1976-9130.
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 located 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 0 4425 8642 or contact the Station Management Department of the Science and Technology Research Institute of Thailand , tel. 0-2579-1121-30, 0-2579-0160 ext. 4401 or fax 0-2561-4771.
Huay Yai Waterfall is a tourist destination under the care of Thap Lan National Park. Take Highway No. 304 to the market at the 79-km marker 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.
Dan Kwian Earthenware Village 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 riverbanks 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, using a type of black clay that is the trade mark of the area.
Prasat Phakho is an ancient Khmer sanctuary at Tambon Krathok, 29 kilometres from the city on Highway No. 224. Continue on to Highway No. 2021 for 3 kilometres and you will see the site on the right.
This Hindu religious place is made of white sandstone and originally had 3 buildings, but only 2 remain today. A horseshoe-shaped moat surrounds the site. The entrance is in the east. A lintel influenced by the Baphuon culture of ancient Khmer was found here, dating from around the 11 th century. It is now in Phimai National Museum.
Hat Chom Tawan is a large beach by the lake, under the office of the 5 th 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 more information, call tel. 0-4444-8386.
Getting There From Nakhon Ratchasima to Soeng Sang, take Highway No. 224, then Highway No. 2071 and Highway No. 2119, respectively, for 89 kilometres. Turn right at Soeng Sang intersection on Highway No. 2317 for 15 kilometres.
Ban Prasat Archaeological Site is at Moo 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 the 44-km marker 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 the area was once inhabited by a prehistory to early history community. 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 was formally introduced in 1996 and is now 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 more information on home stay programs, contact the village headman Mr. Thiam Laongklang, tel. 0-4436-7075 or Mr. Charan Chomklang, tel. 0-4436-7062.
Phimai National Museum at the base of Tha Songkran bridge just before Phimai sanctuary. From Nakhon Ratchasima, take Highway No. 2 for 50 kilometres, then go on Highway No. 206 for 10 kilometres. If taking a bus from Nakhon Ratchasima, you can get on at Bus Terminal 2 in the city.
The museum collects archaeological artefacts and has exhibits on the past cultural prosperity of the Northeast, especially artefacts found in the lower part of the region. There are several sections, including local Isan culture and daily utensils like mortars, cotton chests, carts, monk items, and an area that recounts the history of Phimai and lintels from sanctuaries in Nakhon Ratchasima and the Northeast. Moreover, there are prehistoric artefacts such as ancient pottery, skeletons, tools, and bronze and stone ornaments. Items from early history are 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 Isan communities and Khmer cultural influence. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The entry fee is 30 baht. For information, call 0-4447-1167.
Thung Samrit Memorial is at Moo 1, Ban Samrit Tawan Ok, Tambon Samrit, 46 kilometres from the city. Take Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen) to the 43-44-km markers (opposite the entrance to Ban Prasat) and turn right for about 3 kilometres. This wide field was a battleground between Khorat people and Lao soldiers during the reign of King Rama III. A shrine built by villagers in 1988 now stands here to pay homage to the fighters.
Phimai Historical Park is in Phimai District. It contains 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' meant a religious figure or site.
The Phimai Sanctuary is in the shape of a rectangle and is 565 metres wide and 1,030 metres long. It consists of structures made of sandstone and laterite, all ornately carved with designs. The most special characteristic of the sanctuary is that it is the only one that faces south while others usually faces east. This is probably because it was built to face the route that the Khmers made from the capital of the empire, to the south of Phimai.
From stone inscriptions and the style of architecture, the Phimai Sanctuary was most likely built at the end of the 11 th century during the reign of King Suriyaworaman I. The architectural style is Baphuon that prospered at the time. Some characteristics are similar to the Angkor Wat style, which became popular at a later period. The site had some additions in the early 18 th Buddhist century in 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.
Important Structures in Phimai Sanctuary:
Naga Bridge is the first edifice you pass when visiting the site. The bridge and lion figures stand in front of Gopura (porch) south of the main pagoda. The intention may have been to build a link between earth and heaven according to the belief in the universe of both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Gopura was adapted as the wall around the sanctuary and the four entrance porches. There is a large corridor connecting the outer and inner area of the main sanctuary. Above each porch is a lintel of various designs.
Main Prang is on an open area in a curved walkway. It is the centre of the site. It is made entirely of white sandstone but is different from the porches and the walls in that they that are made primarily of red sandstone. This is because white sandstone is more durable than red sandstone. The pagoda is 28 metres high, has a square base and a portico and stairways and doors in all 4 directions.
The pagoda consists of the base, outer walls, columns, and porches. All have 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. Usually the lintel of the inner room of the pagoda, considered the most important room of the pagoda, would be more important than other lintels on the pagoda. The lintels above the 4 doorways of the main pagoda are all about Buddhism that reflects the influence that Buddhism eventually took over Hinduism. The carvings are of the Baphoun style (1007-1107) and the Angkor Wat style (1107-1157). Therefore, it is believed that the main pagoda was built at the end of the 12 th 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.-6 p.m. The admission fee is 40 baht. There are youth guides who show you around the area for free.
Historical Sites Outside Phimai Sanctuary:
Phimai City Gate and City Walls were built in 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. If you look straight through the gate, you will see the sanctuary.
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 metres 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.
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 old 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.
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. At 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.
King Amphoe Sida
Prang Sida is in Phra Prang Sida, Tambon Sida. From the city, take Highway No. 2 for about 84 kilometres to Sida intersection and turn right onto Highway No. 202 (to Amphoe Prathai) for about 1.5 kilometres, then take a left to the temple for about 2 kilometres. Prang Sida is similar to Prang Ku at Tambon Don Tanin, but this pagoda is closed on all 4 sides. It was a religious site of the Brahman religion with an ancient Khmer style of architecture. It is made entirely of laterite. Sculpted plaster designs face the east and an outer wall surrounds the site. It dates from around the 12 th -13 th centuries.
Prasat Nang Ram is in Ban Nang Ram. Take Highway No. 2 for about 62 kilometres to Ban Wat intersection, then turn right to Highway No. 207 for about 22 kilometres to Ban Ya Kha (or about 11 kilometres before reaching Prathai town), and then turn left for 4 kilometres to the sanctuary. The site was called Arokhayasan (a hospital) by the ancient Khmers. It was built in the 13 th century in the reign of King Chaiworaman VII and comprises 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.
Dan Kwian Lemon Garden is at Moo 3, Tambon Dan Kwian, Amphoe Chok Chai. From Nakhon Ratchasima, take Highway No. 224 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Chok Chai) for about 13 kilometres (before reaching Dan Kwian pottery community), then turn right to Wat Pa Himmaphan for around 1 kilometre.
The garden has an approximate area of 48,000 square metres. It grows the distinctive Dan Kwian lemon that is found locally. Dan Kwian lemon is resistant to dry climate, is large in size, produces plenty of juice, the peel is not too pungent, and offers a mild taste. Some trees have many lemons, sometimes up to 5,000. If allowed to grow individually, each lemon will become as big as an orange but as sour as a normal lemon. The garden is open daily and there are lemons and trees for sale. For garden tours, please contact Mr. Narong Rattanachan, tel. 0-4421-2696 or tel. 0-1976- 7768.
National Maize and Wheat Research Centre or Suwan Farm is in Tambon Klang Dong in Amphoe Pak Chong. It is at the 155-km marker on Mittraphap Road. Established in 1965, the centre is under Kasetsart University and is responsible for agricultural research, training, technological dissemination. 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, consisting 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.
Chok Chai Farm is on Mittraphap-Pak Chong road at the 159-km marker. It is one of the largest dairy farms in Asia. The farm offers agro-tourism activities with a guide showing the facilities, including the production of raw milk, raising milk cows, milking cows, horseriding, touring horse stables, dog farms, and a zoo. The admission is 300 baht for adults and 150 baht for children. For more information, call tel. 0-4436-1173 ext. 116 or 0-3432- 8386 (direct line).
Muang Phon Flower Garden is on Highway No. 2 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Saraburi), about 60 kilometres from the city. Turn left at the 196-km marker (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 a.m.-10 p.m. For information, call tel. 0-4432-3263, 0-4432-3459-61, fax 0-4432-3264.
Grape Farms can be found throughout Nakhon Ratchasima, particularly in Amphoe Pak Thong Chai and Amphoe Pak Chong. Grown here are grape species brought from overseas that nobody thought would grow in Thailand.
However, they have thrived and produce high-quality grapes. Both fresh and dried grapes are available for sale. Rattanathongchai Grape Farm at Ban Du in Amphoe Pak Thong Chai, Tel: 0-1877-1228 and 0-1977-4278. Kratai Noi Grape Farm at Amphoe Pak Thong Chai, Tel: 0-1264- 9794. Supattra Grape Farm at Amphoe Pak Chong, Tel: 0-1853- 9493. Phet Phimai Grape Farm at Amphoe Phimai, Tel: 0-4447- 1333.
Jungle Trekking - There are more than 20 trails to choose from, each different in natural beauty and distance. Some trails take 1-2 hours to complete like the Kong Kaeo trail and the Km. 33 trail (Thanarat Road-Nong Phak Chi). Some trails require overnight stays like the Nang Rong-Khao Yai trail, Samo Pun trail or Kho Yo 4 Unit-Wang Heo waterfall trail. Information and guides can be obtained from the tourist service centre.
Thao Suranari Memorial Fair is an annual provincial event that is held during 23 March-3 April, the period Khunying Mo was victorious over her enemy. The fair features arts and culture, shops and exhibitions of public and private offices.
Phimai Boat Races is held yearly by the people of Amphoe Phimai on the second weekend of November. Apart from the races of boats in Phimai and nearby districts, this interesting event has boat decorations for royal ceremonies and boat chants.
Phimai Festival is organised to promote tourism activities in the province's main tourist destination of Phimai Historical Park that is held in conjunction with Phimai Boat Races. Activities include long boat racing, cultural performances, religious processions, and a light-and-sound show.
Hotels and accommodation
- Amarin : 160/2 Khorat-Kabin Buri Road Amphoe Pak Thong Chai [Tel: 0 4444 1480] : 200-300 baht
- Asdang : 315 Atsadang Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4424 2514] : 120-200 baht
- B.B. Resort : 188/72 Mu 5 Km.22 Thanarat Road, Tambon Mu Si *Accommodations near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 4429 7224, Fax: 0 4429 7225 Bangkok Tel: 0 2216 9552-3, 0 2216 9538 Fax: 0 2216 9539]
- Best Hotel : 888 ?. 4 Nakhon Ratchasima-Pakthongchai Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4427 8600] : 380 baht
- Bonanza Ranch : 214 Mu 5 Km.7 Thanarat Road * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 4436 5191-2, Bangkok Tel: 0 2248 7436-39] : 2,950-7,500 baht
- Boss : 823/1 Chang Phuek Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4425 3185] : 450-3,200 baht
- Cathay : 130 Ratchadamnoen Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4425 2067] : 180-280 baht
- Chalet Hill : Ban Khlong Dua, 8 kms. off Km. 23 Thanarat Road, Tambon Mu Si * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 1210 1745, 0 1805 1166 Bangkok Tel: 0 2718 3795-6] : 1,500-3,500 baht
- Chaophraya Inn : 62/1 Chomsurangyat Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4424 3825] : 350 baht
- Chomsurang : 2701/2 Mahatthai Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4425 7088-9] : 500-1,600 baht
- Coopperate House : 9 kms. off Km.23 Thanarat Road * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 1213 9830, Bangkok Tel: 0 2281 6014-5] : 1,000-6,800 baht
- Doctor House : 78 Supsiri Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4425 5846] : 180 baht
- Ek Nakhon : 120 Chomphon Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4424 2504, 0 4425 5198] : 150-350 baht
- Fa San g : 112-114 Mukkhamontri Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4424 2143] : 150-380 baht
- First 1 : 132-6 Burin Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4425 7195] : 250-360 baht
- First 2 : Burin Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4424 6356, 0 4424 6528, 0 4426 9608-10] : 220-600 baht
- Flower Hill : 108 Km. 4 Thanarat Road * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 1211 9840, 0 1463 2892] : 1,000-3,500 baht
- Fountain Tree Resort : 16 Mu 7 Nikhom San g Ton Eng Lam Takhong, Tambon Khanong Phra Amphoe Pak Chong [Tel: 0 4431 5236, Bangkok Tel: 0 2652 7952] : 1,400-1,600 baht
- Galley White : 92 Mu 3 Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4429 6142-9] : 600-2,500 baht
- Garden Home Resort Khao Yai : 199 Mu 5 Km.20.5 Thanarat Road * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 4429 7100 Fax: 0 4429 7099, Bangkok Tel: 0 2940 6416] : 1,400-6,600 baht
- Golden Bell Mansion : 398 Mu 6 Km.4 Thanarat Road * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 4425 2074, 0 4427 3907] : 2,000-2,500 baht
- Golden Land Resort : 249 Pak Thong Chai-Chok Chai Bypass Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4425 3034] :700-2,400 baht
- Golden Valley Resort : 118 Km. 19.5 Thanarat Road * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 4429 7466-9, Bangkok Tel: 0 2259 7382-5] : 1,800-3,500 baht
- Green Forest Hill : 156/1 Mu 6, Km. 4 Thanarat Road, Tambon Nong Ta Daeng * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 4432 8453 Bangkok Tel: 0 2884 0131-2, 0 1936 5843] : 790 baht
- Hermitage Resort & Spa : 725/2 Thaosura Road, Muang, [(66 44) 247-444]
- Hermitage Resort : 725/2 Thao Sura Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4424 7444 Fax: 0 4426 4677] : 1,600-4,500 baht
- His Grace Farm : Km.7 Thanarat Road * Acccommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 4432 8251, 0 1638 2021, 0 1618 4383, Bangkok Tel: 0 2534 2612] : 1,800-8,500 baht
- Holiday Park Khao Yai : 67 Mu 5, Km.163 Mittraphap Road (on the way to Ban Nong Makha), Tambon Pak Chong Amphoe Pak Chong [Tel: 0 4433 0263-4 Bangkok Tel: 0 2917 2681-6] : 900-1,800 baht
- Hua Waen Hill Resort : 55 Chok Chai-Khon Buri Road Amphoe Chock Chai [Tel: 0 1976 5547] : 700-2,000 baht
- Iyara Hotel Korat, The : 497/1 Jompol Road, Amphur Muang, [(66 44) 268-777-8]
- Juldis Khao Yai Resort and Spa : 54 Mu 4 Km.17 Thanarat Road * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 4429 7297 Bangkok Tel: 0 2556 0251-7] : 1,210-8,833 baht
- K. Star : 191 Asdang Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4425 7057] : 500-1,500 baht
- K.S. Pavilion : 245 Mittraphap Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4426 1943-5, 0 4426 3039] : 600-2,000 baht
- Kamol Farm : 11 kms. off Thanarat Road at Km.20 * Accommodation near Khao Yai * [Tel: 0 2262 1646-51, Fax: 0 2262 1654] : 950-1,100 baht
- Amphoe Muang
- 1618 Steak : 134 Mahatthai Road, Tel: 0 4426 4726 (isan food)
- 1618 Steak : 134 Mahatthai Road, Tel: 0 4426 4726 (isan food)
- Baloo : 176 Mahatthati, Tel: 0-4428-9031 (European Food)
- Ban Kaeo : 105/17-19 Chomsurangyat Road, Tel: 0-4425- 8664 (Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Ban Suan Tang Ka Tu : 140 Mu 7 Soi Ruamphon, Tambon Pho Klang, Tel: 0-4424-4698 (Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Boek Fa : Opposite Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo, Tel: 0- 4435-8956-7(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Carboom : 997/1 Mittraphap Road, Tel: 0-4424-6676 (European Food)
- Chuthamas : 179 Soi Parichat, Mittraphap Road, Tel: 0- 4421-1439(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Dok Som : 130 Chumphon Road, Tel: 0-4425-2020(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Double : Rajchapruk Hotel, Mittraphap Road, Tel: 0- 4426-2325(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Hua Pli Ya Di : 577 Yommarat Road, Tel: 0-4424- 7031(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Im Mai An : 565 Chang Phueak Road, Tel: 0-4425-4625(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Kai Yang Khong Wat Pa Salawan : Supsiri Road, Tel: 0 4425 9592 (isanfood)
- Kasikon Thai Sea Food : In front of Suranari Military Camp, Tel: 0 4425 1540, 0 4424 6904 (seafood)
- Khao Tom Nai Ti : 42-46 Chumphon Road, Tel: 0-4424-1090(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Kuaitieo Mueang Ong : 79/4 Entrance to Suranari Village, Tel: 0-4435 -4012(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Lan Luk Mai : Soi Sawairiang, Mukmontri Road, Tel: 0-4425- 3281(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Lan Pho : 419 Atsadang Road, Tel: 0-4426-7944(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Lan Thale : Close to Bang Chak Petrol Station, Hua Thale, Tel: 0 4426 5736 (seafood)
- Le Paris : 1 Manat (Ban Khop Kaeo), Tel: 0-4424-1031(European Food)
- Leng Lao Chu : 70-72 Na Wat Nong Bua Rong Road, Tel: 0- 4426-0311(Thai/ Chinese Food)
- Amphoe Pak Chong
- Ban Kluai Nam Wa : 158/1 Km.3 Thanarat Road, Tel: 0 1879 1563
- Khun Tom : Km. 2, Pak Chong-Lam Som Phung Road
How to get there
* By car
You can take 3 routes. The most popular one from Bangkok is to take Highway No. 1 (Phahon Yothin) then Highway No. 2 (Mittraphap) at Saraburi to Nakhon Ratchasima. The total distance is 259 kilometres.
Another route from Bangkok is to take Highway No. 304 past Min Buri, Chachoengsao, Phanom Sarakham, Kabin Buri, Pak Thong Chai, to Nakhon Ratchasima. The total distance is 273 kilometres.
Alternatively, take the Bangkok-Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok route then connect to Highway No. 33 to Kabin Buri, then go on to Highway No. 304 past Wang Nam Khiao, Pak Thong Chai and into Nakhon Ratchasima.
* By 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 10 minutes all day, travelling time is 3.20 hours and the fare is 157 baht. Non air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok every hour from 5 a.m.-8 p.m., travelling time is 4.30 hours and the fare is 87 baht. For information, call 0 2936 2852-66 or check a current information at www.traco.motc.go.th. Private companies that offer 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.
Buses running to other provinces leave from Bus Terminal 2. 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 Bangkok, Chon Buri, Pattaya, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Lop Buri, Sing Buri, Nakhon Sawan, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai (up to Mae Sai).
For travelling within the province, there are many lines of mini-buses and buses running in the city and nearby areas. A more convenient way to get around is to take tricycles 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 mini-buses and buses. At Bus Terminal 2, there are only buses running 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 Mittraphap-Khon Kaen Road, tel. 0 4425 6006-9 ext. 175, 176 (air-conditioned), 178 (regular).
* By train
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 2223 7010 and 0 2223 7020.
* By plane
Air Andaman provides two daily flight services from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima. For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 0 2996 9119
Thai Airways has several daily flights connecting Bangkok with Nakhon Ratchasima. For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000. In Nakhon Ratchasima, call 0 4425 7211-2, 0 4425 4834-5. Nakhon Ratchasima Airport is 30 kilometres from the city on the Nakhon Ratchasima-Chakkarat Road in Amphoe Chaloem Phra Kiat.