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North East Thailand

North East Thailand

The North East of Thailand, a region not much visited by foreign tourists, comprises of nearly two dozen provinces. The area known as “Isan” is one of Thailand’s poorest regions. The North East borders Laos and Cambodia. The Mekong, one of the world’s longest rivers, forms the border between Thailand and Laos for hundreds of kilometers.

In much of the area Isan language is spoken, which differs from Central Thai and is closer to Laotian language. Famous food for the region are sticky rice and Som Tam (papaya salad). Much of the North East is rural with the majority of its inhabitants employed in farming. Many Isan people have moved to Bangkok to find work.

 

Khon Kaen

Highlights

Mudmee Silk in Amphoe Chonnabot
Phra That Ku Thong
Wat Phra Saeng Arun
Phra That Khamm Kaen
Wat Sa Bua Kaew

Khon Kaen is the commercial and political centre of Northeastern Thailand and is well known for the high-quality silk that is produced in the province. Located in the heart of Isan, Thailand’s northeast region, Khon Kaen has been one of the fastest-growing areas in Thailand. The Thai government nominated Khon Kaen as the export center for trade throughout the Indo-China Region and both Laos and Vietnam have consulates in Khon Kaen to process visa applications. Khon Kaen also contains the largest university in the northeast, Khon Kaen University, a major centre of education and technology.

A major source of Local wisdom regarding the production of silk is in Amphoe Chonnabot, where excellent Mudmee Silk is delicately woven by hand using a special tie-dye technique, and Khon Kaen features both creature comfort, in the form of fine eateries and swanky hotels, and beautiful nature, including a variety of animal parks and a number of spectacular national parks.

Buriram

Highlights

Silk (Na Pho Mudmee)
Prasat Phanom Rung
Nong Hong Sanctuary
Chang Arena Stadium

Buri Ram, which literally means “City of happiness” or “peaceful city,” is situated in the lower part of the Northeastern region, about 410 km from Bangkok. Buri Ram province is the location a number of Archaeological discoveries of pre-historic human habitation and ancient ruins from the Dvaravati period (6th-11th centuries C.E.) The most important Historical evidence found includes more than 60 sandstone sanctuaries scattered around the area. There are also discoveries of important Khmer pottery kiln sites that date back to the 10th – 13th centuries and Buri Ram contains abundant sandstone sanctuaries built by the Khmer Kingdom at Angkor, including Phanom Rung, easily Thailand’s most stunning Khmer Monument.

Buriram is a land of volcanoes and ancient Khmer civilization site in Thailand which make it important as a historical tourist attraction. To emphasize its richness in cultural heritage, there are crafts like silk and Na Pho Mudmee (ikat). Currently, Buriram has a popular football stadium and motorsport race track where many tourists never miss.

The town and province of Buri Ram are excellent places to experience authentic, rural Thai life and are ideal for immersing yourself in no-frills Thai country Culture or an authentic Isan city atmosphere. However, while the town itself has limited attractions and activities for visitors, the provincial countryside is filled with ancient ruins, many of which are no more than rubble, but include the Khmer sanctuary of Phanom Rung, one of the best-preserved Angkorian Temples in Southeast Asia and a premier Destination for witnessing sunrises and sunsets when the sun is aligned with the doorways of the temple.

Key Tips

The most ideal place to stay if you are planning an early morning Trip to Phanom Rung is the town of Nang Rong.

Surin

Highlights

Huai Saneng
Wat Burapharam
Yai Ngao Castle
Prasat Ta Muean Thom
Surin National Museum

Surin is a large province in the Mun River Basin of Thailand’s Northeastern Isan region. Although the exact History of the town itself is not well known, the people of the region have always been highly regarded for a particular skill: capturing and taming elephants. The Suay or Kuay (meaning simply “people”) migrated to the area perhaps thousands of years ago and established a reputation for their elephant handling prowess that is still celebrated to this day. In addition to elephants, Surin features many ruins from the era when the Khmer of Angkor controlled the region, and Surin is also known for producing beautiful silk and growing Thailand’s famous jasmine rice.

Some interesting spots include City Pillar Shrine, formerly, there was just a shrine not the pillar for over 100 years, later the place was redesigned by the Fine Arts Department, and the 3-meter-high wooden pillar of Java Cassia was placed in the shrine; Huai Saneng, a Reservoir of the Surin Irrigation Project; Luang Phor Phra Chee in Wat Burapharam, a sacred Buddha image in the posture of subduing Mara which is highly respected and worshipped by Surin people.

Surin is popular for its Local products are silk, cotton Cloth, wickerwork, silverware, carved ivory, preserved radish, white pork sausages, grilled pork, and pork floss.

Nakhon Ratchasima

Highlights

Lam Phra Phloeng Reservoir
Hat Chom Tawan
Klang Dong Fruit Market
Farm Chokchai

Nakhon Ratchasima or Korat Thailand is the most prosperous province of the East. Its richness of culture is very interesting since it has its own folk song called ‘Pleng Korat.’ Nakhon Ratchasima is also important to Thai history. All ranges of tourist attractions are available here that you need to take quite some time to visit all of them.

Locating a few hours away from Bangkok with easy transportation the province is very popular for tourists, especially in Khao Yai National Park.

Nakhon Ratchasima is the biggest province in Thailand in term of space. To its greatness, there are 32 districts which are; Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Buri, Soeng Sang, Khong, Ban Lueam, Chakkarat, Chok Chai, Dan Khun Thot, Non Thai, Non Sung, Kham Sakaesaeng, Bua Yai, Prathai, Pak Thong Chai, Phimai, Huai Thalaeng, Chum Phuang, Sung Noen, Kham Thale So, Sikhio, Pak Chong, Nong Bun Mak, Kaeng Sanam Nang, Non Daeng, Wang Nam Khiao, Thepharak, Mueang Yang, Phra Thong Kham, Lam Thamenchai, Bua Lai, Sida

Nakhon Ratchasima, otherwise known as Khorat, is the largest northeastern province, and the inhabitants of the province are mainly engaged in agricultural activities, growing such diverse crops as rice, sugar cane, sesame, and fruit. There are more than 100 savings and agricultural cooperatives in the province, 35 irrigation projects, and 7,122 industrial factories. Most of the factories are rice mills, tapioca product manufacturers, and industrial factories.

Historically, Khorat Province was an important area for thousands of years, first as the site of several ancient prehistoric communities and later as important outposts of the Dvaravati and Khmer Empires. Ruins of both Dvaravati and Khmer temples are located across Khorat, particularly at Amphoe Sung Noen and Amphoe Phimai, the latter one of the most important provincial capitals of the Angkorian Empire.

To this day, Khorat remains an important province and city, functioning as Northeastern Thailand’s main transportation hub and economic center. Finally, as Khorat’s Amphoe Pak Thong Chai is considered the spiritual home of the Thai silk weaving industry, those interested in sericulture will enjoy shopping for some of the country’s best cloth..

Nakhon Ratchasima, generally known as Khorat, is Thailand’s largest province. Situated on Thailand’s sprawling northeastern plateau, approximately 260 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, the city itself serves as the gateway to the lower northeastern region.

Covering an area that is mainly plateaus and mountainous terrain, Khorat has fascinating traditions, charming hospitality, splendid natural scenery and awesome historical sites, including Khao Yai, Thailand’s oldest national park and newest World Heritage site, and the Khmer temple at Phimai, an important provincial capital of the Angkor Empire.

Key Tips

Nakhon Ratchasima and Khorat are interchangeable names for the same province and city.

 

Yasothon

Highlights

Rocket Festival in Rainy Season
Phra That Yasothon
That Kong Khao Noi
Khit pillows (Triangular pillows) of Ban Si Than

The smallest province in the lower northeast of Thailand’s Isan region, it is famed for its Rocket Festival, which is celebrated at the commencement of the Rainy Season. The homemade rockets, some capable of firing hundreds of feet into the sky, pay homage to the god of rains. The celebration lasts for days with elaborately decorated floats paraded through the town and live music performed for those interested in dancing or partying late into the night.

In Yasothon town, the main attraction is Phra That Yasothon a greatly revered Lao-style Chedi believed to be over 1,200 years old. It enshrines holy relics of Phra Ananda, one of the Buddha’s chief disciples. Other historic temples include That Kong Khao Noi, an ancient Khmer Chedi with a brick and stucco Buddha that is ritually bathed during the Thai new year’s celebrations in April.

For those interested in handicrafts, the village of Ban Si Than is renowned for the triangular pillows found in most Thai households and beach bungalow bars.

Khon Kaen

Highlights

Mudmee Silk in Amphoe Chonnabot
Phra That Ku Thong
Wat Phra Saeng Arun
Phra That Khamm Kaen
Wat Sa Bua Kaew

Khon Kaen is the commercial and political centre of Northeastern Thailand and is well known for the high-quality silk that is produced in the province. Located in the heart of Isan, Thailand’s northeast region, Khon Kaen has been one of the fastest-growing areas in Thailand. The Thai government nominated Khon Kaen as the export center for trade throughout the Indo-China Region and both Laos and Vietnam have consulates in Khon Kaen to process visa applications. Khon Kaen also contains the largest university in the northeast, Khon Kaen University, a major centre of education and technology.

A major source of Local wisdom regarding the production of silk is in Amphoe Chonnabot, where excellent Mudmee Silk is delicately woven by hand using a special tie-dye technique, and Khon Kaen features both creature comfort, in the form of fine eateries and swanky hotels, and beautiful nature, including a variety of animal parks and a number of spectacular national parks.