Must-Visit Attractions in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand

Nakhon Ratchasima is a region full of stunning temples like Wat Non Kum
Nakhon Ratchasima is a region full of stunning temples like Wat Non Kum | © Engdao Wichitpunya / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sarah Williams
27 July 2021

A landlocked region of temples, jungle and mountains, Nakhon Ratchasima is Thailand’s biggest province. Nakhon Ratchasima city (also called Korat) is an easy bus journey from Bangkok, so use it as your base for activities such as spotting Asian elephants, seeing an ancient reclining Buddha and dropping into museums covering topics from mushrooms to dinosaurs.

Roam around Phimai Historical Park

Buddhist Temple
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Phimai Historical Park with blue sky. Landmark of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Travel destinations. Historic site is ancient. Ancient building. Khmer
© Fahroni / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the biggest and most-impressive Khmer-era ruin complexes in Thailand, Phimai Historical Park provides a captivating look into the past. Located in the centre of Phimai town, the site is surrounded by what remains of the walls, deep foundations and moats. Inside, there are large courtyards with a number of halls, ponds, and towers. Built between the 11th and 12th centuries, it is thought that the site was mainly dedicated to Buddhism.

Go wildlife-watching in Khao Yai National Park

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Foggy mountains Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai National Park was Thailand’s first national park, and it remains one of the most popular. Among the well-marked hiking trails of this mountainous terrain are waterfalls, viewpoints and campsites, too. But the best part about this 2,000sqkm (770sqmi) natural wonderland is the wildlife: as well as bears, gibbons, monkeys and deer, it is one of the the best places in Thailand to see Asian elephants in the wild.

See the giant elephant of Wat Ban Rai

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Thep Wittayakom Shrine Wat Ban Rai, the Elephant Temple, in Dan Khun Tod district of Nakhon Ratchasima, Korat, Thailand.
© Lee Craker / Alamy Stock Photo

In the Dan Khun Thot District, you’ll find one of the more unusual temples in Thailand. Towards the rear of the temple of Wat Ban Rai is a huge shrine built with a protruding elephant’s trunk and stripy tusks. No two parts of the shrine’s outer walls are the same, with scenes of Buddha’s life and religious symbolism crafted from tiles and mosaics. Even the toilet buildings here, topped with mermaid-like statues in pink and blue, are photo-worthy.

Go to the Mister Mushroom farm

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One of Nakhon Ratchasima’s quirkiest attractions, Mister Mushroom will teach you all about the growing processes for different types of the edible fungus. This farm, located in Wang Nam Khiao District, has shrooms sprouting in all sizes, shapes and colours, some growing out of bags, some in pots and others in glass tanks. Several statues add to the intrigue, and the farm even has its own catchy song – all about mushrooms, naturally.

See the reclining Buddha of Wat Dhammachakra Sema Ram

Buddhist Temple
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The sandstone reclining Buddha housed at Wat Dharmacakra Semaram is the oldest reclining Buddha in Thailand and dates back to the 8th century CE. The Dvaravati-style image is 13.5 metres long
© CPA Media Pte Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Inside the temple of Wat Dhammachakra Sema Ram, you’ll come face-to-face, or face-to-foot, with one of Thailand’s oldest reclining Buddhas. The statue, extending 13.3m (43.6ft) in length, is thought to be around 1,300 years old. Unlike many of the nation’s Buddha statues, it hasn’t been covered with plaster, stucco or gold – so the fact that it looks its age has made it all the more revered. You’ll find this piece of cultural history in Nakhon Ratchasima’s region of Sung Noen.

Visit the Lam Takhong Dam

Natural Feature
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Landscape of Lam Takhong Dam, Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima Province.
© Kittipong Chararoj / Alamy Stock Photo

At 251m (823ft) long and 40.3m (132ft) high, the Lam Takhong Dam is an impactful sight. Located in Sikhio District, there is a circular viewing platform from which to see the 1970s construction. But it’s also become a popular place for leisure and relaxation. People come to admire the beautiful views and unwind alongside the water. A number of vendors sell cold drinks and popular Thai dishes.

Walk around Wat Sala Loi temple

Buddhist Temple
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Sala Loi Temple churches at night in Nakhon Ratchasima or Korat province, Thailand
© Thanapol Kuptanisakorn / Alamy Stock Photo

Wat Sala Loi, in Nakhon Ratchasima city, is one of the region’s most important temples. Dating from the early 1800s, legend says that it was built by a heroine from the city, and a statue of the revered lady stands on the grounds. The most striking feature is the ordination hall, which was built to look like a traditional Chinese sailing junk boat, while the pond offers a peaceful place to sit and contemplate.

Stay at the Wild West-themed Thongsomboon Club

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A family-friendly attraction in Pak Chong, Thongsomboon Club is an adventure park with a Wild West theme. Designed to resemble an American frontier town, the accommodation includes wigwams, wagons, caravans and chalets. The rides are small, but there’s plenty to get your adrenaline pumping, with the log flume, dry sledge and go karts popular with kids. Or, you can fully embrace the theme by riding the rodeo bull and then taking to horseback for a trek around the grounds.

See the dinosaurs at Korat Fossil Museum

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Delve into the world of Thai natural history at the Korat Fossil Museum, attached to the Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University. Its petrified wood garden is one of only seven in the world; some of the hulks of wood-turned-rock glint like gemstones. Nakhon Ratchasima and surrounding areas were also once prime stomping grounds for dinosaurs, so the museum has an intriguing collection of dinosaur fossils and bones discovered in Isan, plus life-sized dino models.

These recommendations were updated on July 27, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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