Nakhon Ratchasima (näˈkôn rächäˈsĭmäˌ) [key] or Korat kōrätˈ, city (1990 pop. 204,121), capital of Nakhon Ratchasima prov., S central Thailand, on the Mun River. Strategically located near the mountain pass leading from the central plain to NE Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima is the administrative, economic, and transportation center of the Korat plateau. Copper deposits are nearby. Founded in the 17th cent., the city grew rapidly after the construction (1890) of the railroad from Bangkok. The nearby Royal Thai Air Force Base was an operation center for U.S. planes during the Vietnam War.