Visiting The North East Of Thailand

Introduction to the North East of Thailand:

The North East of Thailand is not an area which is at the top of most people’s itinerary list when visiting Thailand, but that is where I believe you are missing out.

Yes, I understand that you have been working hard all year and you want the sun, sea and beaches that the South of Thailand can give you. I can also accept that the attractions, shopping and nightlife of Bangkok must be on the list as well and of course the health spas, traditions and relaxing laid back way of the north of Thailand is also not to be missed.

All the above make it on the itineraries of most visitors list to Thailand even if they have to be done in two separate trips, but please do not over look visiting the North East of Thailand.

Why should I visit The North East Of Thailand

The  Isaan People are a good reason to start with,

  • They live life to the full combining the art of working hard and playing hard
  • Hugely independent and determined people, in fact so many of the Isaan people are self-employed or business owners.
  • Extremely loyal to the parents and family and desperate to increase the living standards of loved one’s.
  • 95% are Theravada Buddhist where making merit can be seen often in the form of offerings to the monks or money to the local temples.
  • The Isaan region is the poorest region of Thailand and this is mainly due to poor climate and soil for farming. When the rice season is over and working opportunities are scarce the isaan people start to look else where for their living. From rice farmer to Bangkok taxi-driver, working in a restaurant, beauty salon or whatever needs to be done in order to provide for their families.
  • The Isaan region has its own dialect.
  • A very welcoming, cheerful and happy people despite the daily grind to turn a dollar (or a baht)

Udon Thani, North East Of Thailand

A few of the major places worth visiting in the North East of Thailand:

Things to see in the North East of Thailand are essentially centred around culture and history of which Isaan has absolutely lots of both. If you love either of these two subjects then things to do and see in Phak Isaan are of plenty. However I would suggest besides things to see and do, the North East is a place to ”feel and meet”, as in meet the lovely people and feel the tremendous culture of the area.

  • Angkor Wat near Surin and Buri Ram
  • Archeological sites north of Korat (Nakhon Ratischima) revealing the earliest settlers to the region
  • Ban Phu prehistoric cave dwellings and Ban Chiang ceramic & bronze sculptures north of Udon Thani
  • The finest hand-made silk found in Khon Kaen, Roi-et and Nakhon Ratischima

Follow the links below for specific information on some places in the North East of Thailand: also has lots of information on many other places in the North East of Thailand.

Buriram, North East Of Thailand

The food of Isaan:

Isaan food is not only famous outside of the region of Phak Isaan, but all over the world now. The ever-increasing marriages between North Eastern Thai women and foreign men means a far greater global platform for the culinary delights of Isaan cuisine.

There are many dishes to look at, but the food of the region is really a chapter of a book on its own, so I will just identify for you the very   popular dishes.

  • Gai Yaang (Grilled Chicken in a marinade of coriander, garlic, black pepper and fish sauce cooked over hot coals)
  • Somtam ( Delicious spicy green papaya salad with lime juice, garlic,chillies, fish sauce and other ingredients of your preference)
  • Khao Niaw (Sticky rice, a firm favourite amongst the Isaan people and eaten with virtually all meals. Roll the grains of rice in to balls and dip in to the tasty dishes around you.
  • Laab Salad ( Consisting of a spicy tossed mince meat or fish with lime juice, spring onion, chillies, and fish sauce. Be sure to ask for Laab Suk, which as the cooked version as a Laab Dip is the raw version, assuming you prefer the cooked version.
  • Sai Krog (Delicious Isaan sausage: Consisting of mince pork, sticky rice, galangal, lemon grass, garlic, coriander, chillies and kaffir lime.

Ingredients to cook your Isaan fare

A look at Isaan Music:

I have to admit to having a strong affection for the traditional music of the North East of Thailand and it can get my foot tapping in an instant. I even have a couple of favourite singers from the area that are often to be found on the cd player of my motor in the UK. It is quite funny in the summer time with the window down and sat at the traffic lights with the sounds of Isaan gracing the air. You get some strange looks.

My Favourite Singers

  • ไมค์ ภิรมย์พร     Mike Phiromporn
  • พรศักดิื    Pornsak

I have sourced three types of musical videos from the North East of Thailand and hope you enjoy them.

1) North Eastern Thai music on Phin

2) Isan Ban Hao  (Isan my home)

3) Country music, Udon Thani, Thailand

Castle Howchow beach resort hotel, Amphur Kranuan, Khon Kaen

Isaan Life:

As previously stated the Isaan people love to have fun and enjoy life as depicted in these video link below

The video is the work of Kitty from Udon Thani and Terry from England who kindly gave us an insight in to the North East of Thailand whilst travelling around the area . I know they would be delighted to receive your comments, thanks for this Kitty and Terry. North Eastern Lifestyle by Kitty and Terry

You can see more work from Kitty and Terry about life in the North East of Thailand by clicking on The user name of Kitty at the above link. Together they have put together a number of great video products. Kitty is native to the area and extremely knowledgeable on matters of the North East Of Thailand.

Photos of Udon Thani and Buriram supplied by Kitty.

A big thanks to Kitty

Tips On Khon Kaen (supplied by Keown as well as the Khon Kaen photograph)

Keown a lady born in Khon Kaen and now residing in England points out that not only for visiting, but a lot of foreigners have fallen in love with not only the Isaan women, but Isaan life as well. Isaan is now home to a number of farangs (foreigners) as they say in Thailand. Foreigners do seem to have a soft spot for the women from the North East of Thailand with Udon Thani high on the list of Foreign men Thai woman marriages.

Keown talks with pride about her North Eastern Thai roots and offers these factoids about her place of birth, Khon Kaen

  • As of June 2009 Khon Kaen was the home of around 3.000-4,000 Brits registered with the embassy
  • Khon Kaen hosts the largest University in the North East of Thailand
  • Khon Kaen has a population of around 150,000
  • Great hotels, good international school
  • Khon Kaen is the home of the famous Thai tennis player Paradorn Srichaphan
  • Manufacture own home-made Thai silk

A big thanks to Keown

Recommended Books:

Thai Food: A magnificent book and all your need to know about Thai food including a fantastic section on food from the North East of Thailand. The full culture of Thai cuisine an absolutely superb book.

World Food Thailand by Joe Cummings

The Poetry, Songs And Commentaries Of Thomas Albert Fox

Fox himself is no stranger to Thailand at all having made many visits to the area and in his latest book ” songs of nocence” Fox observes beggars around Bangkok’ s Soi Aree area playing a Thai traditional musical instrument called the ” saw u”  an instrument that one would usually find as part of an orchestra. However the beggar will play the instrument to attract attention and to show his or her skill hence it now appropriately seems that a service has been provided and payment is for the artistic performance and recognition of skill as opposed to a charitable donation.

These performers were from the North East region of Thailand called Phak Isaan possessing their own dialect and a very strong culture. A fine photo exists of the ”saw u” player with said ”saw u” in the book ”songs of nocence” by Thomas Albert Fox and the photo was taken by Siriluck.

Fox not only mentions Thailand, the far east or subjects to do with that, but touches on countries and subjects all over the world in his books including his English and British homeland. Take a walk through the world of Thomas Albert Fox via his poetry, songs and commentaries with his long-standing editor Terry Edwards.

Fox already has a library of published books to his name, but continues his autobiographies northwards, westwards, eastwards and southwards of the big wide world. To buy this superb  book ”songs of nocence by Thomas Albert Fox, please click on the link below.

To find out more about the work of Thomas Albert Fox  please visit

Translation Of Thai

An Engaging Thailand Tip for specialist translation in the UK is a small, but fabulous company based near Bristol called Athais standing for Asia & Thailand advisory and Interpretation Services.  Principal Translator and Managing Director Khun Siriluck Edwards translates from Thai into English and from English into Thai.

Khun Siriluck deals with all kinds of official, legal and business documents including certified translations for official and legal purposes a fully qualified and experienced translator. Khun Siriluck is also accomplished in Interpretation services including court work, solicitors and for business negotiations and travels throughout the UK, EU and Worldwide always providing a very professional service with a friendly and courteous approach.

Voice services are also covered by Khun Siriluck in either Thai, English or combination. Khun Siriluck is a full corporate member by examination of the UK chartered institute of linguists and is helped by Terry Edwards and together they have too many honours after their  name to list here, but visit their website for full details about Athais and the services they offer.

N.B    khun (A polite title used before a persons first name)  Phak (as in Phak Isaan, phak means region, basically the region of the North East of Thailand)

For short stories, articles like ”visiting the north east of Thailand and information on Thailand, please visit

2 thoughts on “Visiting The North East Of Thailand

  1. For those that dont know. . Isaan is the name for the area encompassing the North East of Thailand. In Isaan everything is super laid back where lifetime feeds very slowly and the locals are so favorable its unreal. And for some stranger (and crazy) reason, Isaan is the least imposed portion of Thailand. I call Isaan the REAL THAILAND. Northeast Thailand Transfer

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