Thailand's North-East


Global Mark : 8.94 (down)

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 


2 1 2 2 2 5 1 4 1 8.89

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
2 100% 0 0 8 to 10 9.00

Description :
A big ugly city with shops & stalls everywhere.

Comments : If you like shopping or strolling markets, then you may have found your paradise. Otherwise, in particular on a tight schedule, you might wish to skip it entirely, going straight to nicer & cheaper Phimai for example.

What to do ? Get a map of the city & info about the area's numerous attractions at the new TAT Office near the Memorial / See nice antiques at the small National Museum (daily 9 to 16, B10) / Offer fruits (coconuts or banana) and flowers to a local heroine / Wonder around the numerous markets or stall streets / Shop in huge department stores / If not too busy spending your money, check out the town's temples / Try to relax in the central small public park / Feed elephants / Get a massage right on the pavement / Buy cheap clothes at the night bazaar then sample the food on display / Village the village of Dan Kwian (14km), famous for its unique pottery clay / 

What you may not like ? The activity, noise & pollution / Those poor elephants in the traffic / Not having much to see beside the active street life / 

How long ? The two attractions would require one hour or so. But to check the markets, you need one night.

Where to stay ? 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

In the town center, near Thao Suranari Memorial. All "Sgl" rooms have attached bathroom and one big bed suitable for 2 people. As in every hotel, water, towel & soap should be provided.

bullet® Sriratna Hotel (243116), Thanon Suranari, near the corner with the central garden leading to the Memorial / Sgl 140, Dbl 200 / Go there for the convenient location, the correct room at good price, the terrace on the 4th floor
bullet® Sakol Hotel (241260), 46-48 Atsadang Rd, just north-east from the Memorial, blue sign on the right with "Hotel" written / Sgl 150 / Go there for the nicest clean rooms in this price bracket and the lift to the 5th floor
bulletChumphol Hotel (257121), 124 Phoklang Rd, west of the Memorial, just after a big covered market / Sgl w. one big bed or two small beds plus satellite TV & HW 220 / They advertises as being having the lowest price in town. This is only true with the extra that they provide...
bulletSiri Hotel (242831), 688-690 Phoklang Rd, quite a distance from the town center, on the way toward the train station / Sgl 130 or 150 / The cheapest rooms in town but unfresh, small & hot ! 

Where to eat ? Choose any of the night market (just south of the Memorial or at Thanon Manat night bazaar, south-east of the Memorial) and make your selection of tasty bites. On Tuesday between 16 and 20, stuff yourself with pizza at Pizza Hut (all you can eat for B75)

Internet ? Quite a few places around town charge a basic B20 per hour with a minimum of 10B. A cheaper place (B15) can be found just south of Pizza Hut on Ratchadamnoen Rd, south of the Memorial. Open 10 to 22. Another place with better atmosphere & screens can be found on Thanon Yotha, south-west of the Bus Station No1, 500m from the Memorial. It cost 20B per hour but it is open 24 hours a day.

How to reach Phanom Rung ?

Phanom Rung is the nicest and most impressive of all Khmer monuments in Thailand. It was constructed on the top of an extinct volcano and therefore offers a good view of the countryside as well. Considering the difficulty & cost to reach it, travelers just coming back from Angkor Wat or planning to go there may give it a miss. Otherwise, go for it !

If visiting from Khorat (you could also spend the night in Buriram or Surin), start early by taking a bus or train to Buriram (2 hrs). From there, bus toward Surin. Stop at Ban Tako, 14km after Nang Rong. Then negotiate a motorcycle taxi to & back (they ask B200 but it should cost around half that price) or, cheaper, board a songthaew to Ban Don Nong Nae (B10) and then to the foot of the hill (B10). A few songthaew also go straight to the foot of Khao Phanom Rung from Ban Tako. From the foot of the hill, there should be songthaews or motorcycle going up. The Park is open from 6 to 18 and it cost B40. Info : (044) 631711

Muang Tam or "Temple of the lower City" (B20) is a smaller temple, 8 km from Phanom Rung. There is no public transport between the two ruins but it should be easy to hitch. 

Note : I visited in 1995 but did not go back recently. The above info are therefore the theory... 

Backpacker's Tips : Patrick Hall, USA (Dec 04)
« Rather than staying in Khorat (a big less than entertaing city) take a bus to Nang Rong. From there you can rent a motorcycle for much cheaper than a tour and explore Phanom Rung and Muang Tam at your leisure. Honey Inn (10 minute walk from bus station) is a nice place to stay for about 200 baht/night. It is a little expensive but they offer traditional Thai family stye meals every night (only around 80 baht) »

Backpacker's Tips : Tam Chiwai, Hong Kong (Sept 00)
« Surin is a small town with a friendly guesthouse : Pirom. One of the place where you can join the tour to Khao Phra Viharn (see Ubon Section).  The night market is quite good.
Nang Rong is a small village in the middle of nowhere with nothing to offer but a lovely guesthouse : Honey Inn,  B150, good dinner. You can rent a motorbike there or they can organize the trip to the beautiful Khmer ruin of Phanom Rung, 30km away.  Further on 8km is another ruin : Muang Tam, not bad as well.  If you still have time, 60km away is another Khmer ruin : Ta Muen Tot, a large area with many old temple. Honey Inn also arrange trip to Kao Phra Viharn.»

Bus Schedules : 
From Bus Station No2, except to Phitsanulok (No1), Time for fan bus only.

To Price Class Duration Time Nb Freq.
Khon Kaen 58/104 fan/AC 3.5 5:30 to 13:30 a few 30mn
Udon Thani 90/162 fan/AC 5 6 to 17 (or 23 ?) a lot 30mn
Ubon 121/220 fan/AC 6 13,21:30,23:30,2:30/14:30,23,01:30 4/3 na
Buriram 48/80 fan/AC 2 4:30 to 20 a lot 30mn
Phimai 21 fan 1.5 5:30 to 22 a lot 30mn
Saraburi 46/89 fan/AC 2 6 to 19 a few hour
Lopburi 59/83 fan/AC 3 4 to 21 a few hour
Bangkok 78/139 fan/AC 5/4 6 to 19 / 24 hrs a lot 20mn
Phitsanulok 123 fan ? 5 to 11 a few hour

Notes : To Bangkok, ac also from station No1, fan from no2 / Also fan to Chiang Mai (B218) at 6:30

The trip to Bangkok : SSS / L&R / B50 / 6 hrs / Ordinary Train 3rd class
I really hesitated on that one : train or bus ? And ordinary or AC buses ? Somebody had confirmed me that the train scenery was nice so I opted for the slowest ride. Indeed, it was really nice, among countryside and charming little stations (slightly better on the left but with the sun in the face if sitting backward) but only until half way. Seats were OK as cushioned a bit and salespersons provided lots of distractions & bites during the whole journey. It could be a good idea to break the journey at Ayuthaya (arr. 1241), from where the train became really packed.

See also the trip from Phimai

Backpacker's Tips : Andrew Curtis, New Zealand (Oct 08)
« Nang Rong: A tiny town with not a lot going for it, but a great base to visit Phnom Rung ruins and many more
What to do : The city itself is a scum hole… with a main road and that’s about it. Only a few GH  to speak of. Great night markets full of Thai people down near the hospital and worth a look especially for dinner. The best advice is to use this place as a base to hire a bike and go visit places, specifically Phnom Rung…but there are many more it was an amazing ride (not quite as good as the north though) and the location for a temple is wicked, some dubious ‘monks’ etc but worth it all none the less. Stopping at small towns along the way you get many looks and smiles from locals as there aren’t many farang out that way. So explore around the area if you don’t have time to make it to Angkor Wat or to the north of Thailand.
What you may not like : The scum hole nature of the town….there is not a lot there but a noisy main road!!!
Where to stay (guesthouses) : Honey Inn shower, double beds, fans, bike hire, nice family run place…. Rooms range 200B to 300B. Moped hire 200B. Its down a side street between the PTT Petrol and hospital on the main road there is a sign pointing you in the right direction.
Where to eat (local food) : Go to the night markets.
What to see/visit : Phnom Rung ruins, Muang Tam, Phi mai…. And much more good info at Honey Inn GH.
Communication (internet, tel, etc) :We did not find internet there…. But am sure there is some somewhere
Transportation information : To Khorat: 50B, Local Bus, 2 hours, 1 per hour / To Phi Mai: 35B, Local Bus, 1.5 hours, 1 every 2-3 hours


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