The North Eastern Thailand Region

The Isan is the northeastern plateau of Thailand region. Situated in the Khorat plateau, this distinctive land is covered with dense forest and high mountain ranges. Some of the major national parks along rolling farmlands add to its natural beauty. This region is known for its colorful inhabitants, spicy cuisine and rich cultural heritage. In recent times, this region came in to limelight due to some significant archeological excavations and ancient shrines. Ban Chiang is a place where world’s oldest Bronze age flourished some 5600 years ago. The Pasat hin stone temples, the legacy of Angkor-centered Khmer Empire further enhances the historical significance of this region. In the beginning of 20th century this region was officially named as “Isan” (a term adopted from Sanskrit which means “North east”). Agriculture is the major activity of Northeast Thailand and Isan is the major language. Various forms of folk music, cock fighting, Muay Thai boxing, chilliness and indigenous Isan food are some of the significant features of this cultural rich region.

Khao Yai National Park:

This famous national park of Thailand is situated some 200 kilometers from Bangkok on the northeast of Saraburi. Khao Yai spreads across 540000 acres of area covered with dense rain forest along with high grasslands. Numerous species of endangered wild life such as: tigers, elephants, bear, giant hornbills, sun birds and silver pheasants are found in this national park. This park is suitable for nature trails, hiking and river rafting.

Nakhon Ratchasima:

Situated some 259 kilometers northeast of Bangkok this is known as the gateway to Isan. Phimai is the provincial capital and is renowned for the 11th century Prasat hint ample. This wonderful stone temple is one of the finest examples of classical Khmer architecture. Nakhon Ratchasima is the most important, political and economic center in the northeastern region.

Khon Kaen:

This university town is situated some 450 kilometers from Bangkok. It’s well known as the educational center of Isan and is also famous for its Mat Mi silk.

Udon Thani:

Situated some 560 kilometers from Bangkok, this provincial capital city is one the major commercial centers in the northern Isan and is the gateway to Laos, North Vietnam and Southern China. Some 47 kilometers east of Udon Thani is Ban Chiang village that became famous after excavation of the world’s oldest Bronze age civilization. Lots of Bronze age jewelry and pottery have been kept in the local museum.

Phu Kra Dung National Park:

This densely forested national park in the Loei province is significant tourist destination. Located in high altitude, the night temperature sometimes falls to near freezing point. The Kaeng Khut Khu rapids at Chiang Khan are one of the major tourist attractions within this national park.

Phra That Phanom:

This is 9th century Thravada Buddhist structure is one of the most revered shrines in the Nakhon Phanom province.

Ubon Ratchathani:

Situated some 629 kilometers from Bangkok, this place is a famous for the candle festival that signifies the annual Buddhist Rains Retreat. This place has got historical significance due to the pre-historical rock paintings at Pha Taem in Khong Chiam province.

Yasothon:

Yasothon is famous for the annual rocket festival when lots of homemade rockets are fired into air to ensure plenty of rain.

Surin:

The elephant round up festival in each November attracts lots of tourist from all over the world.

Prasat Hin Phanom Rung:

This is wonderful sanctuary situated in Buri Ram is another major tourist attraction in the Northeastern Thailand.