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259km (161 miles) NE of Bangkok; 150km (93 miles) W of Buriram; 305km (190 miles) S of Udon Thani

Nakhon Ratchasima, popularly known as Khorat, isn't a wildly interesting city, but it is close to Bangkok and makes a good base for excursions to beautiful Khao Yai National Park and the temple at Phimai. It is a rapidly developing industrial city and is called the "Gateway to Isan" because all train lines, bus routes, roads, and communications pass through it. There are some comfortable accommodations in Khorat and a few temples and city monuments worth seeing. The city also gives its name to the Khorat Plateau, which occupies most of Isan. The plateau is made of sandstone, which accounts for the region's lack of fertility, and stands about 200m (656 ft.) above sea level.