My friend Ryan and I managed to squeeze a lot of adventure into a 3 day weekend in the Khorat Plateau. With a rental car, we saw many highlights in the region: we stayed in Nakhon Ratchasima, got lost in Khao Yai National Park, saw the breathtaking ruins of Phimai, and joined a monk ordination parade in that town. Here is the master post of my articles and videos of the trip. Scroll to the bottom for vegan suggestions in the area.
- Nakhon Ratchasima Hotel Review: Flamingo Hotel is a rather humorous hotel review where the staff lost me and my friend’s reservation, assumed we were a couple and tried to give us one room, then led my friend to an occupied room, where he woke up a sleeping man. Long story short, I do not recommend staying there. But you should still read the review, it’s pretty funny.
- Getting Lost in Khao Yai National Park is another comically disastrous post, where my friend Ryan and I set off on a hike in Thailand’s first national park, where there are wild elephants and tigers, and get impressively lost. It’s a rollercoaster ride. Get your popcorn!
- My video of Khao Yai National Park is much more zen, which is definitely because I have no footage of us getting lost and stumbling in the dark.
- This trip that we took on a holiday weekend included hours of driving, so in Serial Season 2 + Prasat Hin Phimai I discuss the moral complexities in Serial Season 2, which is on Bowe Bergdahl’s supposed desertion of a military base in Taliban-friendly Western Afghanistan. I also rave about Phimai ruins, which is a decaying temple complex that predates the world-famous Angkor Wat by at least 30 years. Phimai and Angkor Wat are even connected by an ancient highway, which is now only visible from above. Phimai’s relative isolation in Northeast Thailand makes it a worthy attraction for tourists, as many foreign visitors don’t make it here.
- Upon leaving Phimai Historical Park, Ryan and I walked into a parade celebrating a monk’s imminent ordination. Locals were drinking and dancing in the streets as they escorted a young man from his house to the temple for the ceremony. It was great fun and a lively look into rural Thai culture. Here’s the video.
- Finally, I made a video wrapping up the loose ends of our weekend trip, which features Phimai Ruins and its museum and a temple that we were drove by several times before stopping for a closer look (Wat Luang Phor Tho). This video is my baby! I really worked on honing my video editing skills for this video and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
I highly recommend calling any independent restaurant in Thailand where you would like to dine before going. Non-chain restaurants are often owned by the family that works it, and their hours are usually a suggestion instead of an expectation. Save your time and call! Even if your Thai is horrible, like mine, the Thai that answers will know how to respond to, “Sawatdeekha! Open?” And, of course, if the phone keeps ringing, the restaurant is closed.
175/1 Phibun Layat Rd, Korat (Open Every Day, 7:30 AM to 4 PM; phone 044275687)
This vegan restaurant is full of character- it’s literally located inside a gas station! Ryan had to call the restaurant a few times to clarify its location, as it’s easy to miss. It’s a typical Thai style vegan eatery, with the usual curries, vegetables in different sauces, and plenty of mock meats. The staff works a buffet, so you just point to dishes that “speak” to you. The food is exposed to the air, so some dishes were lukewarm. It’s not ideal, but it’s the standard in Thailand.
We came here twice in 2 days. The staff is really sweet and friendly, even to farangs with little Thai communication skills. The first time we came, for an early lunch, the space was nearly empty. The staff encouraged us to return the next day, when each customer received one free meal! This celebrated the late King Rama IX, who passed away in early October. It was especially timely as the next day is Father’s Day, and Thailand viewed King Rama IX as a father. The next day was packed!
344 Mittraphap Road, Pak Chong (Open Every Day, 11 AM to 9 PM; phone 0817515227)
Like most Loving Hut restaurants, this one is independently owned. Only outdoor seating is available, some of which is covered. Their menu is double-sided and full of options, but when Ryan and I went we had to try ordering 2 or 3 times, as they didn’t have many of the dishes. The food itself isn’t anything special, but it’s very much worth a visit here just to take in the view! The restaurant is on a small cliff that overlooks a vibrant river. The trees have vines and extend from the river level to above the restaurant. It’s a lovely spot.
Thanaratch, Pak Chong (Wednesday-Monday 8 AM to 8 PM, closed Tuesdays; phone 084-1906135)
Veggie Homemade is right on the main road leading North to Khao Yai National Park, so it’s perfect for road trippers and vegans/vegetarians eager for a good meal before hiking. Their menu is the real deal: there are Thai classics available, but it comprises mostly of Western comfort food. I didn’t find the staff to be exceptionally friendly, but that’s part of the package in most Thailand restaurants. The food more than makes up for it: they have a delicious Subway-style sandwich that’s perfect in every way, and they have a delicious farmer’s style breakfast with roasted vegetables, baked beans, pancakes, and yummy mock ham. It’s truly outstanding vegan food. We came twice and I ordered the same thing every time.