Korat is at the western edge of the Korat Plateau. Historically, it once marked the boundary between Lao and Siamese territory. It is the gateway to the Lao-speaking northeast (Isan). Its location is , the municipal area had a population of 142,645.
The city is commonly known as "Korat" (Thai: โคราช), which is a short version of the ancient Khmer name "ankor raj".
Ya Mo Entrance Gate at the junction of Ratchadamnoen Rd and Hwy 224
Prior to the 14th century, the area of Nakhon Ratchasima was under Khmer empiresuzerainty and known in Khmer as Angkor raj, Nokor Reach Seyma, or Nokor Reach Borei, and Koreach. Phimai, to the north, was probably more important.
King Narai of Ayutthaya in the 17th century, ordered a new city built on the site to serve as a stronghold on Ayutthaya's northeastern frontier. Nakhon Ratchasima was thereafter mentioned in Siamese chronicles and legal documents as a "second-class" city of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. A royal governor ruled the city in a hereditary position.
In 1826, Vientiane King ChaoAnouvong, perceiving Siam as weakened, attacked Korat in the Laotian Rebellion against King Rama III that was to rage on for two years.Lady Mo, the wife of the deputy governor at the time, is credited with having freed the city from Anouvong's army, and has been honored with a statue in the center of downtown Korat. A full account of the war and its impact on Laos and Siam, is detailed in the book, Lady Mo and Heroism at Tung Samrit, written by Frank G Anderson. The city's old wall, east of the monument was designed and built by a French engineer who is believed to be the one who also built Naraimaharaj Palace in Lopburi. The French-based design is reflected in the moat system that surrounds the innermost portion of the city.
Korat's economy has traditionally been heavily dependent on agriculture. It is known as a processing centre for Isan's production of rice, tapioca, and sugar. The Isan region accounts for half of Thailand's exports of those commodities. Together, these three agricultural commodities employ 700,000 Isan families. Korat is also one of two sites in Thailand manufacturing disk drives by Seagate Technology, employing 12,100 workers in Korat.
Korat has become the commercial hub, not only for Isan, but also for neighbouring Cambodia and Laos. All three of Thailand's largest Bangkok-based department store chains have invested in expansive outlets in the city, which will provide one million square metres of retail space by late 2017.
Passing near the city is Mittraphap Road (Thailand Route 2), the main arterial road that joins Bangkok with the province capitals of Saraburi, Nakhon Ratchasima. Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai (the major gateway to Laos). A new motorway connecting Korat to Bangkok is under construction in 2016 and will reduce travel time on the 250 kilometre journey to just over two hours.
^Chandler, David P.; Roff, William R.; Smail, John R.W.; Steinberg, David Joel; Taylor, Robert H.; Woodside, Alexander & Wyatt, David K. (1987) . "13 Siam, 1767–1868". In David, Steinberg (ed.). In search of south-east Asia (Revised ed.). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. pp. 113–117. ISBN0-8248-1110-0. Lay summary (January 8, 2008).