Beyond Pak Chong, Highway 2 and the rail line diverge to run either side of picturesque Lam Takong Reservoir, offering a last taste of undulating, forested terrain before reaching the largely barren Khorat plateau. They rejoin at KHORAT (officially known as Nakhon Ratchasima) – literally “Frontier Country” – which is considered the gateway to the northeast.

If this is your first stop in Isaan, it’s not a pleasant introduction: Khorat is one of Thailand’s most populous cities, its streets teem with traffic, and there’s nothing here you could call a genuine tourist attraction. On the plus side, Khorat is at the centre of a good transport network and is within striking distance of the Khmer ruins at Phimai, Phanom Rung and Muang Tam, as well as the archeological remains of Ban Prasat and the pottery village at Dan Kwian. Aside from serving Bangkok and all the main centres within Isaan, Khorat’s bus network extends south along Highway 304 to the east coast, enabling you to travel directly to Pattaya, Rayong and Chanthaburi without going through the capital.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Thailand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best places to eat in Bangkok

The best places to eat in Bangkok

With Michelin launching its first ever guide to the city, the food scene in Bangkok is (literally) on everybody’s lips right now. But with an estimated ten th…

10 May 2018 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
Off the tourist trail in Southeast Asia: 5 underrated cities

Off the tourist trail in Southeast Asia: 5 underrated cities

Modern Bangkok, historical Hanoi and tourism-boom town Siem Reap — home to the world-famous Angkor Wat temples — are some of Southeast Asia's best drawcards…

21 Nov 2017 • Marco Ferrarese insert_drive_file Article
Video: a 1 minute guide to Thailand

Video: a 1 minute guide to Thailand

Whether you're planning a two-week holiday or an epic backpacking trip, Thailand remains one of our readers' favourite destinations, and with good reason. Th…

01 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right