Trip to Khorat for the Thao Suranari Memorial Fair

This year I’m trying my best to visit some of the smaller festivals around Thailand that I haven’t attended yet. This week I drove to Khorat in Northeastern Thailand for their annual Thao Suranari Memorial Fair. This goes on for 12 days and nights until 3rd April. The highlight is the parade on the first day and a performance by 5,000 dancers. The rest of the festival is much like a temple fair at night with food stalls. The following photos were tweeted live during my trip.

Date of trip: 22-24 March 2018

DAY ONE: Setting off on a three-day road trip to Nakhon Ratachasima in Northeastern Thailand. I will be there for the Thao Suranari Memorial Fair.

My first stop in Khorat is at the TAT office to get some information about tomorrow’s festival parade and some ideas on what else to see in the city. Unfortunately they have virtually no information in English. Map:

Thao Suranari Monument (อนุสาวรีย์ท้าวสุรนารี) in Khorat is a memorial to the Thai heroine called ‘Ya Mo’ by the locals. Map:

Thao Surani was the wife of the assistant governor of Nakhon Ratchasima. In 1826, the city was under siege but she rallied the villagers to fight against the invaders. Every year from 23 March to 3 April there is a festival to honour her bravery.

Terminal 21 Korat, like it’s counterpart in Bangkok, is a large themed mall with each floor being a different destination, such as Paris, London, San Francisco and Tokyo. Map:

Terminal 21 Korat also has a tower with a Sky Deck which has 360° views of the city. The tower is 108 meters high. What is surprising is that it is totally free to go up to the top.

Thanks for all the hotel suggestions for Khorat. I decided to stay at Siri Hotel. It is about a 15 minute walk to the festival. It also has off street parking for my car. Only 550 Baht a night. It’s pretty basic but will do the job. Map:

DAY TWO: Good morning from Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) in Northeastern Thailand. I’m here for the Thao Suranari festival which starts today.

Breakfast this morning at Muai Son restaurant (ร้านหมวยสร) in Khorat. I had Kai Kra Ta and two bread rolls for 45 Baht. Map:

Governor of Nakhon Ratchasima Wichian Janthorn-otai pays respect to the statue of Thao Suranari, a Thai heroine, at Wat Salaloi this morning. Every year, from 23 March to 3 April there is a festival in Khorat to celebrate her bravery. Map:

Wat Salaloi in Khorat was built by Thai heroine Thao Suranari in 1827. Of interest is the convocation hall that was awarded a prize by the Siam Architects Society in 1973 for its modern and innovative design.

The City Pillar shrine in Khorat (ศาลหลักเมือง นครราชสีมา). Every provincial city has one. It’s like the foundation stone. Map:

Parade in front of the Thao Suranari monument in Khorat this afternoon marking the start of the 12 day and 12 night festival celebrating this Thai heroine.

Preparations are under way for today’s main event at Thao Suranari monument in Khorat. A red carpet has been laid down around the monument for 5,000 dancers.

The highlight of the opening day of the Thao Suranari Memorial Fair in Khorat was a traditional Isaan dance by 5,000 local women.

DAY THREE: Good morning from Nakhon Ratchasima in Northeastern Thailand. I’m here for the Thao Suranari Memorial Fair. The opening ceremony was yesterday. The Fair continues until 3 April

I couldn’t decide what to eat for breakfast and so I went back to Muai Son as it’s near my hotel. I also went for the same pan fried eggs and baguettes. Very delicious. Much better than a hotel breakfast. And only 45 Baht.

One way of getting to Nakhon Ratchasima is by train but it takes a bit longer than by car. The Special Express from Bangkok takes 4 hours & 15 minutes and costs 425 Baht. The Rapid takes five and a half hours and costs 165B (2nd Class) or 100B (3rd Class).

That’s a wrap on my three-day trip to Nakhon Ratchasima. I hope you enjoyed my photos and that I’ve inspired you to join the Thao Suranari festival parade next year. I now have a four hour drive back home. See you on the next trip!

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