The northeast of Thailand is divided into 19 provinces and is commonly referred to as Isaan. The area takes up a large portion of Thailand and borders with Cambodia and Laos. The diverse natural landscape of the region is mainly used for agriculture, with much of Thailand’s fruit, vegetables and rice grown here. A long and interesting history exists, with important artifacts of the Bronze Age remaining today.

Introduction

Isaan has a distinct culture that is predominantly Laotian. Similarities between Thailand and Laos are seen in the foods, dress, festivals, music, dance and arts. Although economically Thailand’s poorest region, the people are generally very happy, content and friendly. The language spoken is Isaan, which is a mix of Thai and Laos that uses Thai characters for text.

There are many national parks, home to an abundance of varied wildlife and plants. The Nam Nao National park is a magnificent range of untouched forests and jungles. Home to over 100 different species of birds, the area is popular for bird watching. With a variety of other wild animals and some great trekking, the park is a fantastic place for a family vacation.

The city of Khon Kaen is situated in the heart of the northeastern region. Khon Kaen has the best university in the northeast and many facilities for business travelers. The city is alive with markets and street vendors selling everything from food, ancient Khmer stone carvings and traditional Thai silk, for which Khon Kaen is known.

In the center of the city is Bung Kaen Nakhon, a large fresh-water lake that is popular for jogging, cycling, picnics and general recreation. Along the water’s edge you will find many restaurants serving traditional Isaan food.

Phetchabun province in the northeast of Thailand offers stunning scenery, with a massive mountain range running through the area. Above Phetchabun lies the beautiful province of Loei, where magnificent national parks and picturesque mountain scenery can be found.

The roads through Loei are great, making driving by car a very enjoyable experience, with so much to see along the way. The region is known for its cold temperatures during the cool season and consequently supports a major cotton quilt making industry. Some of Thailand’s best wines are also from the Loei province, and some vineyards offer tours and tasting.

Destinations

Amnat Charoen Province
Amnat Charoen
Buriram Province
Buriram, Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung Historical Park
Chaiyaphum Province
Chaiyaphum
Kalasin Province
Kalasin
Khon Kaen Province
Khon Kaen, Phu Wiang National Park
Loei Province
Chiang Khan, Dan Sai, Loei, Phu Kradung National Park, Phu Reua National Park
Mahasarakham Province
Mahasarakham
Mukdahan Province
Mukdahan
Nakhon Phanom Province
Nakhon Phanom, That Phanom
Nakhon Ratchasima Province
Ban Prasat, Khao Yai National Park, Khorat, Pak Thong Chai, Phimai
Nong Bua Lam Phu Province
Nong Bua Lam Phu
Nong Khai Province
Bueng Kan, Nong Khai
Roi Et Province
Roi Et
Sakon Nakhon Province
Phu Phan National Park, Sakon Nakhon
Si Saket Province
Si Saket
Surin Province
Surin
Ubon Ratchathani Province
Chong Mek, Pha Tem National Park, Ubon Ratchathani
Udon Thani Province
Ban Chiang, Phu Phrabat Historical Park, Udon Thani
Yasothon Province
Yasothon