Northeastern Thailand: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
The Northeastern Thailand is generally known as Isan. The term was derived from the Chenla Kingdom's capital; the Isanapura. It is a multicultural area bordering Cambodia and Laos. The region is mainly centered in agriculture. Geographically, Isan has 20 provinces. The main provinces are Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani, Loei, and Nakhon Phanom. A very popular attraction is the Khao Yai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A gateway to Isan region is the Nakhon Ratchasima. It is a historical city that was built by King Narai of Ayutthaya in the late 17th century to protect Ayutthaya Kingdom's northeastern frontier from Laotian or Khmer attack. In 1826, a local heroine named Thao Suranaree defeated a Laotian attack. Her statue is the most visited attraction in the city. Inside the city's vicinity is a part of the Khao Yai National Park. Some famous places to visit are the Archaeological Site at Ban Prasat that features ancient Bronze Age artifacts in a burial site dating back 3,000 years, the Dan Kwian that is famous for its rough textures and rust-like pottery glazes, the Prasat Hin Phanom Wan that is built of sandstone, the Prasat Hin Phi Mai, the Prasat Nang Ram, and the Wat Phra Narai Maharat.
Udon Thani is a prime business center in the Isan Region. It is a large province that serves as Northeastern Thailand's center of transportation, trade, agriculture, and tourism. The province is covered with rice fields, forests, and hills. The two main natural attractions are the Phu Phan mountain range and the Songkhram River. The province is also known for its archaeological wonders like the Ban Chiang Village; a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Udon Thani's popular attractions are the Phu Phan Waterfalls, the Phu Phra Bat Historical Park, the Darma Park, the Nong Prachak Place, and the Udon Sunshine Orchid.
Loei is the "Mae Hong Son of the Northeast". The province has a cool temperature due to mountains and rives it contains. The most popular mountains are the Phu Kradueng, the Phu Luang, and the Phu Ruea. Loei has a unique culture and tradition including the Phi Ta Khon Festival. The festival is the greatest attraction in the province that is celebrated in farming village of Dan Sai. It takes place during the first weekend after the sixth full moon. The temples in the town also take part in the festival. These temples are the Wat Phon Chai and the Wat Prathat Song Rak.
Nakhon Phanom was once the center of the ancient Sri Kotrabun Kingdom. The main attraction in the province is the is the tall spire known as Phra That Phanom. It is the most ancient and most religious monument in the whole Northeastern Region. Other temples in Nakhon Phanom are the Wat Hua Wiang, the Wat Phra In Plaeng, the Wat Mahathat, and the Wat Okat. The province is also filled with culture and tradition including the Illuminated Boat Procession.
Khao Yai National Park
The Khao Yai National Park was the first national park in Thailand and now, it is the country's second largest national park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features a jungle landscape and a home to more than 153 animal and bird species, including wild elephants as well as endangered Asiatic black bears, tigers, leopards and barking deer. There are five vegetation zones and a monsoon forest; one of the remaining monsoon forests in Asia. The vegetation zones are the tropical rainforest, dry evergreen forest, hill evergreen forest, dry dipterocarp forest, and grassland. The Haew Narok Waterfall can also be spotted here. There are also hiking tours for this waterfall. Other waterfalls are the Haew Suwat Waterfall and the Pha Kluaymai Falls. For an amazing view of the national park, the Pha Diew Die Viewpoint is a must-see. Another place to overlook the national park and even the Nong Pak Chi Resevoir that has a lot of bird species is the Non Pak Chi Watchtower. A popular thing to do in this national park is the traditional elephant ride. There are also seasonal fruits like mango, "rambutan" and the stinky but tasty "durian".