5 Cool Things to Do in Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima), Thailand
Nakhon Ratchasima, known locally as ‘Korat’, is known as the gateway to Thailand’s Northeast or in Thai ‘Pratu su Isan’. It’s a place where many local Thais go to get back to nature, and it’s also historically famous for being the birthplace of the female hero Thao Suranari or ‘Ya Mo’ who escaped and fought the enemy while the city was under siege. Today, adding to the list of things that Korat is famous for, we can also add food and gastronomy. In saying that, here are 5 must-do things during your stay in Korat.
- Visit a Winery
Yes, you read it right. Despite Thailand not being globally renowned for its wines, there are in fact a few wineries that have become very popular locally in Nakhon Ratchasima. Visiting wineries in Thailand can open up a whole new set of opportunities of things to do while you’re in Thailand.
Village Farm & Winery is a must visit if you are a wine lover or curious about how wine is made here in Thailand. Village Farm & Winery is a vineyard, winery, wine museum, and restaurant. If you are staying at Centara Korat which is one of the best places you can pick for a Korat base, it will take only an hour and a half to reach the winery. It’s definitely a place to visit before entering the city proper of Nakhon Ratchasima.
There are some surprisingly good and fascinating museums around Korat. The first museum we would like to recommend is the ‘ Korat Museum’. This is a small museum where you can learn about Korat from past to present. The museum is divided by era, into two main sections; ‘Stone Age’, and the ‘Isan Metropolis’ era sections.
The museum shows the evidence of human inhabitants of Nakhon Ratchasima from the stone ages including fossils and cave paintings from surrounding areas. The Korat Museum is only 9 minutes away from Centara Korat by car or a nice 30 minute walk if you’re wanting to feel closer to nature - and history.
Another museum not to be missed is the Fossil Museum aptly titled ‘Khorat Fossil Museum’. The museum exhibits fossils found from all over Northeastern Thailand. Here, you will find the biggest elephant fossil that has ever been found in Thailand, as well as Mammoth and other dinosaur fossils.
Make sure you check the operating hours before visiting;
- Café Hopping
One of the most popular activities for travelers is to do a café hop around the city. If you’re into coffee culture and the general ‘café’ thing, Nakhon Ratchasima will not disappoint.
A good café to start would be Hooya Coffee located only ten minutes from Centara Korat by car. Their coffee and snacks have a distinct Chinese influence, with desserts including custard buns and other bakery items as well as other traditional snacks like ‘Pa Tong Go’ (Chinese Doughnut) and prawn Dim Sum. Northeastern Thailand is heavily influenced by China’s Yunnan region, and it’s not uncommon to see Chinese influences in the region. The Hooya Coffee is decorated in an old Chinese teahouse style which teleports you to another time and place.
Another suggestion is Grandma’s House グランマ ハウス - a Japanese style café known for its Matcha Green tea and homemade Wagachi. Grandma’s House is a homey style café where you can simply sit back and relax and watch life happening around you. Grandma’s House also offers workshops including their Matcha, Daifuku and Mochi workshops. Imagine that - spending your next holiday in Thailand learning something like that without having to go all the way to Japan.
If you want something low-key but not too quiet, Wake Up Studio x café is right around the corner from Centara. It is a photo-studio cum café. If you love coffee, music, and photography then you’ve come to the right place.
From somtum to sticky-rice, Isan (Northeastern) food is a global phenomenon and so when in Isan, you can’t not indulge yourself. Despite having Isan restaurants dotted all over the globe, the Isan food you will get to sample in Korat is second to none on the planet.
Kaiyang Nai Mueang Restaurant is famous for Kaiyang (Grilled Chicken) as the name suggests, and Somtam (Papaya salad). If you follow what Thai reviews are saying, they have some of the best grilled chicken in Korat and so is a ‘must-try’.
Korat is a cool and hip city as well as culturally rich. After days spent visiting museums, restaurants, and natural attractions, visiting cool bars is a fun thing to do in the after-dark hours while you’re in Nakhon Ratchasima. The first bar to visit is the one right there in Centara Korat. Sipping cocktails by the poolside at the top of the hotel overlooking the whole city of Korat is a good idea especially when you don’t really want to have to leave your premises.
However, if you do want to get out and about, how about a fusion Mexican restaurant and Bar “Mein Licht Fusion & Bar”.
Or, if you’re craft beer then head to “Some Might Say” - a cozy rooftop bar with craft beer selections from Thailand and abroad.
You will never feel lonely when in Korat. This city delivers, and can provide you with anything your heart desires - from culture, history, nature, art, food and most importantly, it’s warm people. Make sure that you do stay in a strategic area because Nakhon Ratchasima is a big province. Make Centara Korat your choice when you next visit Nakhon Ratchasima - at the very least, staying there means that logistics of getting out and about will never be a problem.