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Khun Ying Mo (Taw Suranaree or '' Princess'' Suranaree)

  • Throughout Thailand tourists will discover many bronze statues of famous Thai people in Thailand's history. So in this section of Thailand's World.com we will detail all of these people and their role in the history of Thailand and the reason for their respect in the hearts and minds of Thai people today. Here is the story of a lady in Korat, who with intelligence and strength of purpose defeated the invading armies of Laos in 1827. Tourists to Korat (or Nakhon Ratchasima), will see her monument in front of the old city wall gate as built in 1934.


  • '' Thao Suranaree, whose original name was Mo, was born in BE 2314 (1771). Her father’s name was Mr. Kim, her mother’s name was Mrs. Boonma. Thao Suranaree was a native of Nakhonratchasima by birth, and lived across from a temple in the heart of Nakhonratchasima (Wat Phranaraimaharat). In the year BE 2339, at age 25, Mo married Mr. Thongkham, of the provincial political affairs office. Subsequently Mr. Thongkham changed position to become the Nakhonratchasima city secretary of political affairs. It was a position considered to be equivalent to the rank of a noble. The people called his wife Mo, then later Mae, and then finally Mae Mo. Currently she is called by the name Ya Mo, or Khun Ya, but the most popular name is Ya Mo.
  • Khun Ying Mo was a person of high intelligence. She also was an accomplished rider of both elephants and horses. Her favorite horse was black. Khun Ying Mo was a faithful follower of Buddhism, and liked taking her children and nephews and nieces to Wat Sakaew and Wat Isan regularly.
  • In BE 2369 (1827), Prince Anuwongseof Vientiene revolted and ledan army to seize Nakhonratchasima. At that time, Phrayasuriyadej was away on business to Khukhan, leaving behind only minor officials of the political affairs department. The Vientiene troops easily entered and seized Nakhonratchasima, overrunning the small number of defenders, including Khun Ying Mo, and herding them together to march back to Vientiene.
  • Khun Ying Mo sagaciously instilled morale and heart in the captive people of Nakhonratchasima. She did everything to make the Lao soldiers sympathetic to their Thai captives. She also found ways to delay the journey, such as claiming that captives were sick or that a cart had broken and needed repair. She was also holding secret talks. She asked (her captors) for axes to repair ‘ broken ’ carts, or to cut brush for firewood, etc, in order that the captives would have these tools when needed. Khun Ying Mo ordered that wood sticks be gathered and sharpened with axes, and that hoes be used as well in place of weapons (when the time arrived).



Korat City Gate 1934


  • Upon reaching Thungsamrit, Khun Ying Mo, with a strategy in mind, asked her captors to allow the marchers to rest so that their sore muscles could recover from the long journey, and the Lao commanders allowed this. After setting up camp at Thunsamrit, Phrayahrom, Phrayapalat and Khun Ying Mo commanded that a group of young women lure the Lao soldiers outside the camp. Cooks remained in camp. At this time, male cooks separated into groups with a number of weapons. Junior political affairs department staff took the left and right flanks. Phrayapalat acted as commander of the main force. Khun Ying Mo acted as head of a group of skilled women in a reserve force. After some time passed, all those who had prepared rushed together at the same time, shouting and cheering, chopping at the Lao soldiers and scattering them in confusion. The Lao soldiers had no idea of the impending attack, and fell and died or scattered away.
  • After the battle was over, His Majesty the King conferred the title of Thao Suranaree on Khun Ying Mo, as well as conferring the further title of …. On Phrayapalat.''
  • This excert is part of the Korat Post English translation of the more extensive history of Khun Mo held in the local Governor's records.