Nakhon Ratchasima, sometimes referred to as Khorat, is Thailand’s biggest province. A real northeastern gem, it boasts beautiful areas of natural interest, with national parks, jungles, waterfalls, rivers, reservoirs, farms, and more. Here are some of the province’s most impressive natural attractions.
One of Khao Yai National Park’s waterfalls, you may get a feeling of déjà vu when first arriving at Haew Suwat. The waterfall featured in the popular 2000 movie, The Beach, it was the waterfall that Leonardo DeCaprio jumped from to find himself on a pristine beach. Of course, there’s no beach here in the jungle; you’ll need to visit Koh Phi Phi in Southern Thailand to see where that part of the film was shot. The waterfall is easy to reach and close to a main road. A 100-metre-long trail leads through bamboo trees and down some steps to the bottom of the falls, and you can also witness the splendour from above without walking too far from the car park.
A picturesque stream with clear, emerald-coloured waters, Nam Phut is a sight for sore eyes. Water comes from an underground source to create the pretty stream, flowing down to nearby orchards. Especially full of water and attractive during the wet season, the area is suitable for swimming. To enjoy the area without the crowds, try to visit on a weekday. You can relax on the rocks and at picnic tables and there are food and drink vendors close to hand.
A scenic cliff in Thap Lan National Park, Nakhon Ratchasima’s lesser-known national park, Pha Kep Ta Wan provides beautiful views of the surroundings. A verdant blanket of fields, forests, orchards, paddies, and wooded areas lies below, with just the occasional small village and farm dotted across the landscape. The area is good for spotting wild hornbill birds and there are several walking trails where you can immerse yourself in nature. A major activity is to fire seeds from the top of the cliff, in the hope that they will take root and grow. With a choice of large fixed catapults and smaller hand-held catapults, it’s great fun to take aim and shoot!
Khao Noi Public Park is located in Pak Chong. There’s a large paved area with an artificial waterfall as a focal point. The waterfall has colourful flowers and lots of lush foliage. Yellow ratchaphruek trees add more colour to the scenes and there are several interesting statues throughout the pleasant park. Of particular interest is the large statue of a traditional pipe flute, a musical instrument from the Isan region. Locals often visit the park for leisure, relaxation, and exercise.
Lam Takhong Reservoir is the result of the construction of Lam Takhong Dam. It can be found in Sikhio District. Built in the 1970s, the dam’s initial purpose was to irrigate the surrounding agricultural lands and store water. It was later used to create energy at the country’s first pumper storage power plant. Although created by man, the reservoir is scenic and a nice stop when exploring Nakhon Ratchasima.
Khao Pu Luang Ecotourism Centre offers a wealth of activities and experiences in the great outdoors. Activities include walking, cycling, canoeing, fishing, and wildlife spotting. Birds and insects are especially abundant; don’t forget to take binoculars if you’re a keen bird spotter. You can book guides for a more educational experience. If you want to enjoy the area for longer than a day, camping is possible. Combining a reservoir, dry forest, and mountains, the centre has varied terrain and vistas.
Located close to the tourist heart of Pak Chong, Manee Sorn Sunflower Field is a riot of yellow hues in the cool season. Mountains provide a picture-perfect backdrop and there are also fields of bright yellow sunn hemps to further add to the beauty. Visitors to the hilly farm can snap plenty of cool pictures amid the attractive flowers and admire stunning views.
Located in the district of Khon Buri, Jomthong Beach is a sandy and relaxing spot on the shores of Lam Mun Bon reservoir. Close to the dam, the beach stretches for almost a kilometre and is around 100 metres wide. Take a dip in the inviting waters to cool down and enjoy activities such as sunbathing, jetskiing, and riding on a banana boat. There are places to eat and drink close to hand and it’s a great place for people to enjoy some seaside life – without the sea!
Sai Ngam is a banyan tree in Phimai District. It’s not your run-of-the-mill tree, though; more like a small forest than a single tree, it’s one of the biggest banyan trees in the country. You can follow pathways through the tangle of branches and tendrils, coming across bright ribbons wrapped around parts of the tree and shrines to show respect to the spirits believed to live inside the tree system.
Located in Nakhon Ratchasima city, Bung Ta Lua is a large lake / swamp. A park has been built around the lake, complete with several trails for walking, jogging, and cycling. There are benches where you can stop for a rest and admire the views of the water while surrounded by pretty trees and flowers. The park is owned by the military but is open for public use. It’s a popular spot for exercise and relaxation.