Behind Thao Suranaree Statue you can see the old city gate "Chum Phon", we call in Thai "Pratu Chom Phon" (pra-tu=gate).
Regarding the history There's 4 City Gates in Korat town located in 4 directions. Pratu Chum Phon is only the original one left located in the west. It's be built during the reign of King Narai in 1656, made from large stones and bricks, covered with plaster. On the top is a watchtower made of wood with a tiled roof and decorated in the Thai style.
Another 3 Gates, were rebuilt, located in other 3 directions of the town.
It's been saying if anyone walk though the gate, then that person has to come back to Korat again! sooner or later ;-) prove!
I think Phi Mai Historical Park is the most famous attaction of Nakhon Ratchasima. Just drive up from the city to Phimai district around half hour. Phi Mai Historical Park is one of the grandest and most important Khmer historical sites in Thailand, have been restored and renovated. The materials which were used to constructed the Sanctuary are white sand stone, red sand stone, laterite and brick. And many of them, were built with the combination of 2-3 and sometimes 4 of those materials. The Sanctuary itself is surrounded with red sandstone walls. The most interesting is in center of Phi Mai Historical Park, the largest sandstone sanctuary in Thailand, Pra Sat Hin Phi Mai (The Principal Tower). It was made of white sandstone faces south. A square base with 22 meters width 25 meters high. There is Mandapa located to the front of the tower, decorated with relief of Tamayana excepted on the south Gable was curved in Shiva Dancing Figure and the relief of depicting of Mahayan Buddhist were constructed in the late of 11 th century A.D. Visit here will give you opportunity to enjoy the town surrounding the historical park and if you happen to visit around November, don’t miss Phimai boat racing, quite interesting !!! (more photos of the historical park at my phimai page)
Thao Suranaree or Khun Ying Mo or, we call her shortly as Ya Mo which means grandmother Mo. She's the heroine of Korat history and we consider ourselves as her grandchildren. The monument located in central of Korat City, was built in 1933, made of black copper, 1.85 metres high and is dressed in regalia in a standing posture. Her right hand holds a sword. These days, Khon Ying Mo becomes the symbol for Korat as a town of brave women. Korat locals and Thai visitors always come to pay respect to her whenever they visit Korat.
Dan Kwian is a village in Dan Kwian District, about 15 km from the east south of Nakhon Ratchasima downtown. It is a place where locals have been engaged in their Ceramic products manufacture for a long long time. All the ceramic products are famous for their unique look.
About the history, the village was a place where caravan stop between Nakhon Ratchasima and Cambodia, and all their vehicles were cart so it was caravan of carts stop, become a name of the village nowadays (Kwian=Cart). While they was stopping there, always made some utensils from local clay there and brought them home and found later of the special clay quality.
Nowadays the locals still make ceramics product from the local clay, a special black bronzed clay from The River Moun, and the ceramic products become one of the major export goods from Nakhon Ratchasima.
The museum located just in central of the town, if you are into museum, shouldn't miss visiting Maha Wirawong National Museum.
The Museum displays items that Somdet Phra Maha Wirawong, the ex-abbot of Wat Sutthachinda, collected, also art facts which found in Nakhon Ratchasima and provinces around and donations. Most items in the museum are Buddha images, including stone images of the Khmer period, images from the Ayutthaya period, bronze images, earthenware, ancient utensils, and woodcarving.
The museum open during 9 a.m.-4 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday.
It is closed on public holidays.
The Reclining Buddha image or local call Phra Non, it’s the most ancient and largest a Reclining Buddha image that made from red sand stone. The image was built around 1200 B.E. Now the image is located in Thammachak Semaram Temple, Sung Neon District where there are some more small ancient sites which believe were built in the same period. This place I drove only half hour from central of Korat town. The district is also very rural and natural.
One of the famous temples of Nakhon Ratchasima be recommended in many guidebook. Wat Sala Loi, built in 1827 by Thao Suranari and her husband. The highlight to visit here is to see The accient convocation hall. The hall inside the temple is in an applied Thai style in the shape of a junk riding the waves, the buildings was decorated by local Dan Kwian clay tiles to tell the life of Lord Buddha. The door is made of metal with raised designs of the Buddhist tale and the hall houses a large standing white Buddha image. In 1973, the hall was awarded the prize of the best avant-garde religious building from the Siam Architects Society. In front of the hall as you can see in my 2nd photo, is a plaster sculpture of Thao Suranaree sitting praying in the middle of a pond. It is a place where some pieces of bone of Thao Suranaree, the heroine of the local were keep there.
Bung Ta lau Park, or water park as there's a big lake in central of the park. I've been there often. This place is very famous in Korat, locals come for relaxation and exercise; jogging biking etc.
The park located in front of military camp, organized and maintained by military. The area belong to military and since many years back the area developed to be a park for public. There are trails for jogging (3 km/round) and biking. It's open in the morning and in the afternoon till late evening. The time you can see crowded of people do exercise is in late afternoon. If you have plenty of time while visiting Korat might spend some times at the park, jogging, walking, biking, relaxing, view people, admire sunset over the lake... whatever ..... and if you see an old girl do slow jogging, pls say hi as it might be me haha ;-)
The oldest national park in Thailand. The national park is located not so far from Bangkok, around 3 hours drive from Bangkok or 45 min. drive from central of Nakhon Ratchasima. The National Park cover the area of 4 provinces; Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachenburi, Nakhon Nayok and Saraburi.
Khao Yai National Park nowadays is so famous, there are many range of trails in different kind of destinations, shortest and easiest is around 800 m to see small waterfall, 13 hiking trails (1-8 km), some trekking trails (2-4days) and birding trails.
I drove around in the area, very convenience, good road, many routes all around the park so it is easy to know there in roughly by driving around. Some attractions can get by driving to, such as Haew Suwat Waterfall but some need to walk only to.
There are some houses for rent to stay over night in the area and the park provide the area for camping, visitors can bring own tents or rent them there. I visited the park on weekend and be able to see how much popular of the place, so crowded, the area of campsites full of colurful tents.
You can see more detail of the national park at Ban Khao Yai page.
I attend this festival and event almost every year, Khao Phansa Event. It's one of the most important events in the religious calendar. It be held in the eighth lunar month in July every year. Khao Phansa refers to the beginning of the Buddhist Lent.
During this time, Buddhist monks are restricted to their temples for a period of three months. Thai Buddhists will celebrate Khao Phansa in Buddhist temples in many provinces and Candle Festival is part of it. The days before the event, local people make ornately carved beeswax candles of various sizes and shapes.
On the festival day, the candles that each represents their district, are paraded around the town, accompanied by displays of religious devotion. After the procession, they are presented to local temples.
After visit Phimai Historical Park, just 1 km away go to see the abundance of banyan trees, all originating from a single tree which is about 350 years now. We call there as Sai Ngam (Sai or Ton Sai means banyan tree / Ngam means beautiful). So far the tree gave birth to many smaller ones covering the entire area. (moe photos at link below)
I'm not actually a fan of zoo but I admit I always have a good time visiting Korat Zoo. This is a great place to spend the day with family & kids.
Korat Zoo or Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo located about 20 km south of Korat city. It is one of the major zoo in Thailand and one of the most modern in Asia!!!
The zoo has an area of 545 rai (218 acres). Most of the animals there are from Africa, Penguins, seals, African elephants, rhinoceros, cheetahs, lions, zebras, and giraffes. There is also a reptile building and a hornbill garden.
The enclosures are large and the zoo has landscaped each section so it matches the habit of each animal.
There are trailers takes visitors around the zoo, also bicycles or golf cars for rent.
The most popular place along highway no2 before visitors reach Korat, always make a stop at Farm Chok Chai. It is one of the largest and most innovative in Asia. It provides a full range of consultant services and is the only one breeding dairy cows for export to neighboring countries Including Laos, Malaysia and Vietnam. Currently, Farm Chok Chai is involved in 5 core businesses:
1. Agriculture and animal husbandry Farm Chokchai Dairy Farm
2. Immovable Property Maintenance & Rentals
3. Restaurants Under the name Chokchai Steakhouse, the group has three outlets, Farm Chokchai, Rangsit and Chokchai Prime Steakhouse on Sukhumvit 23 in downtown Bangkok. The company also has opened Chokchai Steakburger at Chokchai Farm as well.
4. Agro Tourism Under the theme, “More Than Milk”, Farm Chokchai provide tours of the dairy, from grazing to processing as well as other related activities.
5. Ice Cream & Dairy Plant Presently, we produce premium dairy products in homemade style to serve our outlets and Chokchai Steakhouse restaurants.
Located in the West of Pakthongchai city. This temple was built in 2330 B.E. in the reign of King Rama I. There're some interesting buildings such as : Hor Trai or manuscript library in the pond.This Hor Trai have the mural painting depicted about Buddha's life,the meeting of god and some Thai patterns.Ubosot or ordination hall with mural painting depicted about Jataka stories and Buddha story.It also depicted about local lifestyle.Chedi or Thaat in Laos style and sala or hall where built from wood. From Pakthongchai twon,you can take a blue songtaew ( two rows seat truck) via Taku at Pakthongchai market,price : 10 Bahts per person,takes about 30 mins.
Dharma Chakra Semaram temple located in Sema Ancient city.This city is an old city of Dvaravati period, as a couple city with Kho Ra Kha Pura city (the first community in Nakorn Rachasima).Inside Sema ancient city,there 's one temple called Dharma Chakra Sema Ram temple.It found a big reclining Buddha image made from sandstone and Dharma Chakra or wheel of Law which also made from laterite ,both 're in Dvaravati period and presume to built on the time of building Sema city. Beside,the reclining Buddha image 's the oldest reclining Buddha in Thailand with 13.30 metres long and 2.30 metres tall.For Dharma Chakra,housed in the building near Ubosot.This artifact found near the Buddha image. It look like a wheel of cart,decorated with mixture animals called Panassabodi,it's the vehicle of Buddha in Mahayana Sect.