Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) to Phimai & Khao Yai National Park....
I'll be going to Korat by train from Nong Khai...
In Korat, I'd like to visit the zoo and go to Phimai for a few days, also considering Khao National Park... then I'll be going to Trat and do not want to go back to Bangkok. Any suggestions on how I should do this route? I understand that I will have to get to Trat from Korat by bus, as there is no train.
The park isn't a must see for me unless I have a travel partner as I can find other things to do closer to Korat. http://tastythailand.com/what-to-see-and-do-in-korat-thailand/
The "tours" to the park seem a little pricey, besides, I've seen enough waterfalls and elephants so far this trip - lol. My adventure back to Thailand from Laos starts March 2nd.
Phimai, one night only - on the 8th unless I find something better to do :)
I just did this route recently... It's pretty straight forward. From Khorat bus station 2 you can switch to the bus for Phimai . Make sure to get off in Phimai old town (where there's a big digital clock tower) and not at the main bus station at "new Phimai", from where you'd need to take a songthaew back to old Phimai, which is where the sights are. I recommend Paradise Apartments for a place to stay, and don't miss Sai Ngam, very cool place and you can take some spooky photos there if you're into that.
As for Khao Yai it is impressive, but it's definitely not an easy place to explore on your own if you don't have your own wheels. If you want to do a tour I'd contact Greenleaf Guesthouse and Tour. They'll pick you up at the train or bus stop and they have decent fan accommodation for 300B and reasonable tour costs that I've heard from several people are very good. Otherwise you're looking at renting a car for a day, which is the same price as the tour. Cars can be rented at Rimtarninn Hotel in downtown Pak Chong. The Pak Chong area is really beautiful so if you can swing a car for a couple days it is a great place to explore... Khao Yai is just part of the area, there's lots more to see than that, although few travelers are aware of that.
This may be slightly outdated info, especially due to the increased popularity of Koh Chang, but it's probably not too far off. I used to live in Prachinburi and have gone to both Khorat and Trat from there. Prachin is just a little south of Khao Yai.
From Khorat to Trat can be a pretty long trip. Not because of the distances involved, but because of the speed of the buses that make the trip.
You'll probably have to go to Sa Kaeo from Khorat. That part of the trip isn't too bad. Regular blue gov't buses make the journey, and if I recall correctly, it takes about 3 hours. It was one of the worst I've ever taken in Thailand because some joker came onto the bus just before it left Khorat to sell plastic horns to all the little kids on the bus. Of course, all the adults fell asleep as the kids made a skull-cracking racket. I don't have the same sleep-gene that the Thais have, unfortunately. Anyway ...
Sa Kaeo to Trat took quite a lot longer. From Prachin the whole trip took 7 hours, and from Sa Kaeo it was around 6 hours. The bus was one of the "orange crush" buses with doors that don't close. It was a fun and very scenic, but slow, trip down #317 to Chanthaburi . Very hilly, very remote. Then you'll have to change buses in Chanthaburi for the final hour-long trip to Trat.
Like I said, this may have changed, but if not then this is the most likely route that you'll have to take. It would probably take just as long if you were to go back to Bangkok, but nowhere near as interesting.
tilapia is partly wrong-things have changed.
1. forget that train to go Khorat-take a bus ex NgKhai-and change at the turn off to Phimai=do not go in +out of Khorat-plus that you''ll get lost anyway between train and various busstations in Khorat. Buses are not the hell that those trainfanatics make them out to be. Many more trips and half the time.
2. Khao Yai is big-very big. The hourly buses Khorat-go via a PART of KhYai-and yes, stop there, and go onward to Chantaburi (total time 6,5-7 hrs)-no need at all to change SK or go back to Khorat-if you plan wisely. SOME of these buses even run onward to Trat-otherwise just change in Chant-daft easy. There are also direct buses Chant-ferry CHang-bypassing Trat. To explore KhYai forget any weekend when BKK-yuppies come to race down the slopes in their 4wheelies-but indeed you do need some transport.
PS-this weekend the red shirts have made KhYai once again one of their main gatherings to applaud the comeback of their Dubai exiled hero. Tha Thai call that a mob.
#8 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472
I'm staying in Korat about 3 nights, may stop in Ubon Thani on the way from NgKhai also staying there 3 nights. I may just do a day trip to Phimai instead of staying there a night, not sure yet. I'm skipping Khao Yai, and will spend a few nights in Trat, before heading to the islands.
Is Laem Sing Beach - Chanthaburi - http://www.laemsing.com/ worth a visit?
Just came back from Thailand last week
I in fact found Phimai a decent place to stay, weather is cool, and managed to hire a motorcyle-taxi, from Phimai to Phanom Rung Historical Park & Muang Tam Historical Park which located nearby Buriram. It's a painful route (imagine 4 hrs to and fro on Motorcycle) but at least personally felt that Phanom Rung Historical Park if not as beautiful then better than Phimai Historical Park.
#10 KopiO has been a member since 1/3/2012. Posts: 12
You can also get transport from Khorat straight to Phanom Rung
#12 KopiO has been a member since 1/3/2012. Posts: 12
Found this for buses.... http://www.koratinfo.com/aboutkr/e-korat26.htm
In the end I will send a night in Phimai, I'm way a head of schedule.- enough expats & ugly bar girls with babies in tow in Nong Khai - leaving earlier than planned..
The bus from Korat to Chanthaburi seems like my best option if there is no direct bus. The total distance between Trat to Chanthaburi is 59 KM, so not so bad.
There is a direct bus from Korat to Trat - 313 baht - 8 hrs - took it today.
I met an couple from the Netherlands who were unimpressed with their expensive day tour to Khao Yai. Glad I didn't go. I was also rather unimpressed with Phimai . Saw the ruins, the Banyan tree (forest) in about 4 hrs. Left both Korat and Phimai a day earlier than planned.
Also not that impressed with the zoo, but it is OK. It was nice to get out of the city.
Found a cheap 16gig memory stick at the mall, and found the last AEON ATM I'll see in a while... and got a 60 baht haircut.
Phanom Rung is more impressive than Phimai, it located at Buriram, but it's in smaller (much more) scale if compared with Angkor Wat.
If u are heading to Bangkok, try to drop by Bang Pa-in, a town at Bangkok outskirt, it's has the Baroque style Temple (not churh) Wat Niwet, and better/impressive Palace, if compared with the Grand Palace in Bangkok (too touristy, all I want to do during my trip was to get out from that place).
Or else u may also try to visit the Railway market (MaeKlong), where the railway is really situated in the market!
#16 KopiO has been a member since 1/3/2012. Posts: 12
My query is linked to Khorat so I guess this is a good place to start... We will be coming from Aranhya Phrathet to Prachinburi in late April and would like to to to Khao Yai National Park then if possible on to Khorat and Phimai. Is it possible to go through the National Park by bus from the back entrance, and are their tours into the park from Prachinburi?