Korat is very unique in the fact that it has the feel of both a big city and a small town at the same time. Since it is located in Isaan, there is definitely the vibe of living in a small village. The people are so friendly and the typical Issan food is amazing everywhere you go. However, since the city has the largest population behind Bangkok, there is anything you could need as well. The mall is close by and has all the Western amenities if you want them. There are also a lot of trendy restaurants and coffee shops everywhere! We still live among the rice fields and get woken up by roosters though, and I sometimes forget how large of a city it is because of this. It really is the best of both worlds!
There are so many places to eat and drink in Korat! I have my favorite Pad Thai stand, just a 10 minute walk down the street from my apartment and it is the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had. Basically you cannot go wrong eating Som Tam and Laarb and any stands. There are also so many cute coffee shops that I try to go to new ones every day, but one of my favorites is Yellow Pumpkin café. They have great pumpkin flavored pies and cakes. ☺ And my favorite time of the week is working out! I’ve been going to Muay Thai once a week at Legend Thai Boxing in Hip Park. This gym is great because it’s new so it’s very clean and there are also only 2-4 people in each class so it is almost like having a personal trainer!
The most frustrating thing for me when I got here was the transportation, especially coming from Hua Hin with the convenient songthaews. Since we do live in the more remote area of the city, not much public transportation comes by our apartment. The mall is just a 30 minute walk away where you can catch songthaews or tuktuks so I have definitely started walking more, but that’s probably a good thing anyway! Most of the Thai teachers at our school have motorbikes to get around though.
My accommodation is amazing! It is a pretty basic room with a bed and bathroom, but there is hot water and I was able to rent a refrigerator from our apartment complex. The best part is the view from my balcony though. It looks out onto rice fields and the sunset every night is gorgeous. The apartment is also only a 5-10 minute walk to school, with a great coffee stand and breakfast options on the way so it is super convenient!
I get home from work everyday around 5pm, so I like to either do yoga in my room (next to the beautiful sunset!) then walk out to one of the nearby restaurants to get dinner. Once a week I will walk to my gym to do Muay Thai and hang out at the mall afterwards because it is close by.
I try to explore new places every weekend and make my way into the center of the city, where the Yamo monument is. I try a new coffee shop every weekend, then walk around. There is a huge variety of things to do here, whether it is going to temples or the park. My first weekend here, I actually went to visit one of the temples in the city and met four other women there. They invited me to come with them and they took me to one of their favorite coffee shops, another temple, and a night market with them! I’ve been able to make so many friends just by walking around myself because everyone is so welcoming!
Phimai is just a one hour bus ride away and it was an amazing day trip. The ruins there are basically a smaller version of the Angkor Wat ruins, but because it is such a small town, there were not many tourists there and it was very peaceful to walk around. There was also a beautiful banyan tree grove about a 20 minute walk from the ruins that makes the whole day trip worth the visit. Khao Yai National Park is also very close by, about 1-2 hours by bus and I am planning to go in a couple of weeks.
Go out and explore! Some of the best days I’ve had in Thailand were the days when I had nothing planned but just walked around by myself. There are so many cute little shops and delicious restaurants that are so hidden that you cannot see them unless you’re walking around. You will never get bored as long as you go out!