:: NAKHON RATCHASIMA

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.

:: Attractions

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.

:: City Attractions part 1

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.