I Love Korat (Nakhon Rachasima)
Wow… Lately there has been so much bad mouthing of Korat City over the recent weeks via submissions on Stick's site. So much so that I have been incensed enough to put pen to paper and ‘Stand Up for Korat’!!
You see my Thai wife hails from Korat City (the proper name is Nakon Rachasima).
Yes we have both visited Pattaya, Phuket, Samui etc, and what you get there is nearly always 100% tourist centered Thailand.
Yes, it’s very different in Korat.
It is totally Thai centered Thailand.
It is the very essence of Thailand for the Thais!
No international focused hotels. The hotels that are there are for Thai locals, Thai families and visiting Thai business people.
Little English happens to be spoken by any local Thai workers, even in the hotels (check out feedback on Agoda accommodation website – many comments about staff not speaking ANY English).
Now perhaps you can start to get a feel just why Korat is different.
It’s this very difference I believe, that makes Korat special.
Different probably really is not the correct word to use for Korat.
After all it is YOUR own expectations and desires that draws you to a conclusion on any experience in this world.
When in Korat (currently we get to visit Korat when we are in Thailand, which is a couple of times a year) I feel like I really am “In the Thai people's Thailand”.
Farang going about their daily life still get ogled at in Korat, as something of a strange sideshow to the local Thai’s daily life.
I’m thinking that perhaps here in Korat a sighting of a Farang is still even something to discuss whilst with family around the Thai’s' communal evening dining?
What I also find comes with being ‘Totally immersed in Thailand’ (and has been a really fantastic surprise) is the generosity of the local Thais in Korat.
My wife and I catch the bus from Bangkok up to Korat. To date as we turn up there have always been offers of transportation:
A motorcycle that we can borrow, a car that a neighbour will lend us for a day or three, offers of lifts to places we wish to go.
We plan in 4 years time to live in Korat City.
Today (2011) a brand new 3 bedroom townhouse in a gated, secure community can still be procured for approx USD 43K just 1 Kilometer from ‘The Mall’.
Most of us know, accept and understand that Thais love shopping and Korat offers abundance of retail therapy at venues such as “The Mall”, Klang Plaza plus multiple night markets locations.
It’s always an enjoyment to feel the vibe and buzz of all the shopping locations, smelling the local foods cooking and eating away until one is full up!
I believe that our lifestyle whilst up in Korat, suits Korat.
That is one of easy going living, going out to eat for local foods (Yes some times at local back street outdoor eateries), almost daily shopping trip visits, almost zero alcohol and much bed rest (read what you like into the last bit!!!)
I don’t currently have a plan to buy a car for our use whilst in Korat. There are so many tuktuks, motorcycle taxis and taxis (usually cheaper than the tuktuks) always available.
To own a motorcycle I believe would be the ideal answer. I seem to have no fear riding a motorcycle around Korat City.
We were last in Korat in November 2010 (just after the major flooding). I needed some minor attention to my teeth, so I decided to pay a visit my wife’s dentist.
Unusual for a dentist's visit… The visit did not hurt my mouth or my wallet – just 400 baht for a major filling! (plus a bottle of free mouth wash to boot!)
Looking into the future when we do plan to be permanently based in Korat at least 6 months of the year… Everything, should one seek adventure is just a half days travel away – Pattaya, Rayong, Bangkok or Hua Hin.
You have the beautiful Khao Yai national park (and world heritage area) on your door step.
The Cambodia / Laos borders – however the unknown excitement of those countries and the cross pollination within Thailand draws me to thinking about exploring up that way in the future.
If you are simply a Farang on his 2 weeks annual vacation and you are only looking for fun in the sun in Thailand, then the above words will not fulfil your agenda. In fact hey will just add to the perceived stereotype that Korat is plain
However if you are looking for a balanced life, between Farangland and Thailand, then it my personal belief that living in Korat can fit the bill very well.
The cost of life is very very low, your way of life can be basic (with all the luxuries around you of course).
Buy a Home, buy a Motorcycle and you can live like a King on almost the smell of an oily rag.
My intention is not really to associate with other Korat based Farangs.
We have witnessed them at the Ram Bar, a gaggle of old, fat & bald farangs still eating farang food and enjoying quiz night – not my idea of Thai fun.
So here’s to the future. We all chose tread a different path, and it’s what we individually seek to enjoy and thrill us, that we hopefully shall find and enjoy!!!!!!!
Some Westerners love their life in Isaan whereas others are clearly there because they "have to" be.
I think those Westerners who choose to live in the Isaan region, of which Korat is a part of, do so for one of just a handful of reasons. Perhaps it's where their wife comes from or perhaps they move there through financial necessity because, as you say, it is very cheap. Those who move there because it is a conscious lifestyle choice and they genuinely want to be there as opposed to somewhere else probably make up the smallest group.