Are there any mini van services from Bangkok's Victory Monument area to Korat. Please advise
Yes there are, but for safety reasons I'd recommend using the inter city buses from Morchit Mai bus station.
Yes, there are vans from VM to Korat. And in my personal experience they're just as safe as any other form of transportation, and much more convenient.
Have been in a few VM vans to various destinations, with drivers ranging from normal to suicidal. Unfortunately, there are enough of the latter to spoil the rep. of intercity vans for quite a few folk. I tend to shy away from them now.
Safety aside: For the 3-3.5 hour trip to Korat, you might like the comfort of the seats on the better 1st class or VIP full sized buses from MoChit Bus Terminal (which bbtony mentioned). Was on NakhonChai Tour (knock off name copying the famous NakhonChai Air, but great buses) 3 weeks ago. Relatively new bus, excellent driver, fairly deep recline seats, in-seat massage option, etc. at 1st class bus fare of 220 baht.
Yes, there are such shuttle van.
Will you be able to find them is the bigger question!
I am one of the rare people who pays attention to what is going on around them when driving or being driven. Based on my perspective, I will never ride another shuttle van.
I would take a bus from Mo Chit, they run to Korat very frequently.
I THINK (but I'm not sure) the vans to Korat must be beside the Century Cinema. See here: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g293915-c175744/Thail… If not, the friendly people there can tell you where the Korat vans do stop. Tip: if you have a large piece of luggage (or would just like to have more space in the fairly cramped van) shell out for an extra ticket. I've begun doing this on short bus trips (like to Pattaya) as well, just to have room for my camera gear.
There are hundreds if not thousands of vans on the road in Thailand at any given time, transporting thousands if not millions of passengers. They're one of the primary modes of transportation not just around Bangkok but everywhere in Thailand. Yes, it's true that recently there was spate of van accidents. These things seem to run in clusters. (And the government made some moves to try to improve the vans' safety.) But that doesn't mean ALL vans are unsafe and ALL van drivers are reckless. As I've said before, I've never personally experienced any particularly unsafe driving in all the vans I've ridden in. And, OctoberSix, whereas I respect your personal observations (as I'm sure you respect mine) the fact is that both of our evaluations are strictly anecdotal. But statistically, your chances of getting into an accident in a van are surely on par with any other motorized transportation in Thailand.
Whenever there's a bus accident (and they tend to be real doozies) you get a bunch of postings "Thailand's buses are death traps." Of course everyone knows that's not true generally, but that a PARTICULAR bus got into an accident through a particular set of circumstances. (There was a horrendous one in the US a couple weeks ago. In fact 33 people died in 13 fatal bus crashes in the U.S. in 2011. Are we to conclude that ALL American buses are unsafe? Of course not.)
And we never hear of accidents involving private transfers which many people assume to be extremely safe. Maybe they are safe in general, but they face the same traffic issues as buses and vans and the same human issues - drivers that may be incompetent or just plain overtired. There have been plenty of first-hand reports on this forum of bad or "scary" private transfer drivers. If a private transfer car gets into an accident, we usually never hear of it because the number of casualties is rarely high enough to get reported in the media.
I DO wish van companies would install seat belts and the authorities would try to get people to use them. Many of the accidents that do happen involve people being thrown from the van (as in the high-profile "Praewa" crash in 2010) and compulsory (or even optional) seat belts would reduce the number of fatalities significantly. But I guess it ain't gonna happen.
By the way, motorcycle accidents are responsible for many more fatalities and serious injuries in Thailand than any kind of public transport, whether vans or buses. If you read the tabloid press, it's full of motorcycle carnage.
Besides the sheer numbers, and the lack of driving skill, there is another reason for so many motorcycle injuries:
We try sit at the front if possible and if the driver in our considered opinion starts driving too quickly, dangerously or taking short cuts we tell him. Have heard other tourists and Thai's doing this as well, so don't suffer in silence.
The last van we took to Pattaya in March was fitted with a speed limit restricter which I think was 120km an hour (GRS is it called)
Have you ever taken a shuttle van, by yourself, not as "we", to a new, unfamiliar destination?
I believe that your "Me" is "we" and "we" speak Thai and "we" know where we are going. Makes the whole process a bit more straightforward.
On thse boards, we are often addressing people who will hop in a tuk tuk and buy suits and gems, negotiate taxi fares and be taken to a knockoff Somboon. These same people might think that they can head to Victory Monument, hop on a van labeled "Korat" and get off at the stop labeled "Korat". They won't realize that there will be numerous stops, before during and, possibly, beyond beautiful "Downtown Korat", wherever that might be.
Safety aside, this is just as much a reason why I do not recommend shuttle vans.
So I will amend my original answer:
Yes, there are such shuttle vans.
The bigger question is will the OP be the type of person that can deal with the logistics? Please note that the OP is from Singapore. ;-)