Nakhon Ratchasima, the hub of Northeastern Thailand

Nakhon Ratchasima, commonly called Korat in Thailand, is one of the four major cities of the country’s eastern region Isan. Before the 14th century CE, Korat was under the influence of the Khmer empire, although it is believed that the city wasn’t as important as the nearby city of Phimai. The city also marked the border between Lao and Siamese territory in the late 1700’s, and it was from here that the Siamese kingdom supervised the Lao and Khmer states under its control.

Prasat Hin Phanom Wan is an old Khmer structure set in a very quiet location northeast of central Korat. It doesn’t receive as much attention as other ancient structures in Isan. You basically have the place all to yourself if you come here.

The doorway leading to Phanom Wan’s central prang. Dare you enter?

You pass by this structure on your way to the center of Prasat Hin Phanom Wan.

You can find these Buddhist statues inside Prasat Hin Phanom Wan. The temple was originally a Hindu sanctuary, Hinduism being the major religion in the Khmer empire during ancient times. These statues were added later on as Buddhism’s influence spread throughout the region.

A view from the outside of Prasat Hin Phanom Wan’s central prang.

Arguably the most famous sight in Korat, this statue of Thao Suranari is located in the city’s old quarter. Legend has it that Yamo, as she is locally known, almost single-handedly saved the city’s people when, in 1826, the Lao King Anouvong seized Korat. Stories abound with her getting the invading soldiers drunk to actually leading an armed rebellion against the invaders.

Thao Suranari has almost-holy status in Korat, with many people coming daily to pay their respects and pray to her.

A vendor in the Suan Rak park, where the Thao Suranari monument is located.

One of the old gates and part of the old walls of Korat.

A man takes shelter underneath one of Korat’s old gates to beg for alms. The Suan Rak park, where the old gate is located, serves as a convergence point for many of the city’s homeless.

This is Korat’s City Pillar, erected sometime in the late 1600’s. Surprisingly, the shrine housing the pillar is Chinese-style and a large part of the text in the shrine is written in Chinese, not Thai.

There are several night markets in Korat, but almost all of them have been hard-hit by the ongoing pandemic and restrictions caused by it. This night market is mostly empty, although I’ve been told that it used to be teeming with people as early as 1900H.

And there you have it, my Nakhon Ratchasima visit. Watch our for my photos about Phimai next.

I’ve recently resumed photography after a year’s hiatus, with a particular focus on black and white photography. This is a challenge for me since, with images devoid of color, I have to be more conscious of using light, dark, and shadow in taking my photos. If you have any comments, then leave them below. 😀