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Lost in Korat

THAILAND | Saturday, 9 June 2012 | Views [1427]

Gate at Yamo

Gate at Yamo

I've pretty much gotten used to long distane travelling now, so the 3 hour ride to Korat didn't sound too duanting. On every intercity bus journey, there's some kind of on-board entertainment. Mostly it's MTV, Thai style, which is easy to get into. On this bus, they're showing a pefromance by a Thai stand up comedian. I don't understand a word of it. I must have been in the sun too long because I still occasionally laugh or perhaps laughter really is infectious.

Korat is the second biggest town in Isaan, but in reality it's actually pretty small. The main attraction is the monument to the 19th century heroine, Thao Suranaree, who fought off an invasion of Laotian. This event seems to have granted her god-like status. The lady is so revered in these parts that people come here and pray to her day and night.

The entrance to the monument:

The monument is sited in what must have been the old walled part of the city as the moat at some of the gates are still present. The moument runs the entire length of the town centre and there are various sculptures all dedicated to the defence of the city:

There's also a strange little museum called  Maha Viravong, charging a whopping 50 Baht for a one room exhibit. The museum does have a small and nice collection of Buddha statues, icons and royal chairs used by Thai royals. But showing the same things as bigger and better museums in both Khon Kaen and Udon Thani:

Apart from that, there's some pretty temples to look at:

Despite being only 250km from Bangkok, Korat is less developed than Udon Thani in the northern end of Isaan, and even less so than Khon Kaen in the centre of the province. This place is definately off the beaten track. I'm thoroughly lost in Korat. Some basic knowledge of Thai would definitely have helped because hardly any English is spoken here. Even the 7-11 staff have touble with my English. Here, the "Land of Smiles" has turned into the "Land of Smile at the Stupid Farang Who Speaks no Thai and Jumps at the Sight of Cockroaches and Rats on the Streets". I'm reduced to using the one Thai phrase I've bothered to learn which is "ah ha jay" meaning "with only vegetables" or just pointing.

In the evening, it's decision time to stay another day to explore the city or move one. More scrutiny of travel guides and local tourist information confirms there's little else to see. The language barrier also weighs heavily on my mind and I make the decision to move on.

Tags: korat, ladyboys, thailand, thao suranaree


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