Isaan’s Korat (also known as Nakhon Ratchasima) is actually the 2nd largest city in Thailand with over 2.5 million people. I think if you decide to move to Isaan, Korat is a great choice simply because it’s bigger than other cities and will provide you with more amenities. For example, Korat has 4 universities, 7 hospitals, around 10 shopping centers and department stores, and even an English language newspaper, “The Korat Post”. There are also a few fun things to do here if you get bored. On top of all that, there is also somewhat of a nightlife in Korat. For this article, I will give a general overview of Korat and what it has to offer. If you’re interested in living in Korat, check out my “Living In Isaan” article where I discuss general things about living in the region. Of course Korat is a bit more expensive than some of the smaller towns, but it’s still cheap.
If you want to check out the night market or some non-lady bars to chill at, go to the Korat Night Bazaar. Lots of Thais go here later in the evening and it’s a typical spot for hosting events. There is always something going on here and it’s the place to be for most of the locals. It’s in the middle of the city on Manat Road, between Chomphon and Mahatthai roads. It’s open everyday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
A Neat Restaurant and An Excellent Winery:
-Big Chili is a Mexican-American restaurant you can try if you’re in the mood for western food. (If you don’t want western food, you won’t have trouble finding cheap Thai food everywhere and anywhere, especially in Korat)
-Granmonte Vineyard and Winery is a small, family owned establishment producing some quality wine if your in the mood for something fancy to drink. (If this isn’t your kind of thing, you won’t have problems finding lots of no name bars with people sitting outside on plastic tables hollering “Chon gao!” (cheers) as they sip on big 40 baht Leos on ice.)
“The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima” is the biggest shopping center in Isaan. There’s a cinema, a fitness center, an IT City, lots of coffee shops and chain restaurants that you see in most of the big malls in Thailand, 6 different banks, and loads more. It’s got everything.
In Korat, you will find the three main Thai department stores, that is, Big C, Tesco Lotus, and Makro. As with most cities, you can find most of your essential shopping items at these stores.
A Couple Fun Things To Do:
-Korat Zoo is nice and has a lot of different animals. They have cheetahs, rhinos, penguins, and more. A nice place to spend the day with a girl. It’s 80 baht and there is a night safari at the weekend.
-Prasat Hin Phimai Park is a religious site that is worth checking out. It’s similar in style to the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Also a potentially nice spot to take a girl for the day. If she is a traditional Isan girl she will love it if you take her here.
A Couple Places To Stay Or Live:
Best Guest House For A Staying In Korat For A Few Months Or Less = Sansabai Guest House
Best Apartment If You Plan On Living Here For 6 Months Or Longer = Crystal Palace (right by the mall)
*I highly suggest renting first before taking the leap and getting a house. Sure, it’s super cheap to get a house and you’ll most likely be surrounded by beautiful, natural scenery with zero traffic or people bothering you, but as quiet and peaceful as it is, you don’t want to isolate yourself right away. I think you should position yourself in the heart of the city and get acquainted first, then make the move later a bit outside the city for a house if you so choose.
Massage and Special Massage:
If you want a Thai massage, Khorat Massage Parlors can be found for around 120 baht per hour.
There are also a few dirty massage parlors. They are as follows:
2) New Palace
3) Chaopraya Hotel (located on Jomsurung road and has an “extra service” fee of 700 baht).
A Bit About The Pay For Play Scene:
There are lots of freelancers that hang out at the Korat mall. They are also posted up outside of the Japanese restaurant near the Chaopraya hotel. The working girls here and in Isaan in general are CHEAP. You can get away with 700 baht or less. Right across the street from the Chaopraya hotel later at night, you’ll see a bunch of girls waiting around for customers. There is another place down the street from White Rabbit Seafood called 2 Peace, and the karaoke bar right next to it is also worth checking out. If you go to either of these fancier massage parlors, one called the Ginza and the other at the Japanese Embassy (If you go here, request the Star Trek room. It’s cool.), you can ask the head honcho for a “Sai Lai”, which is usually a college girl who isn't a full time working girl. She works on her own terms. It’s kind of like a freelancer except they are being referred by contacts they are connected with at the parlors. They are typically young, hot and inexperienced.
Get Lost In Korat
Take your time and explore the city for yourself. There may not be as much going on here as the more tourist firendly cities of Thailand, but there are lots of people here and you can have some wonderful experiences with the locals and really feel like part of the community if you live here. Enjoy yourself.
Best Hotels for the Money in Korat:
Sabai Hotel (Korat)
Siri Hotel (Korat)