Places of Interest in Thailand
North Eastern
Travel Guide

North Eastern Thailand

Northeastern Thailand, usually referred to as Isan (the "I" is pronounced with a long "EE" sound), is the poorest region of Thailand. Once an important part of the mightly Khmer Empire with its capital at Angkor Wat, the entire Isan region is rich with ancient Buddhist shrines and temples. Not surprisingly, the twenty million or so Isan people who inhabit the Northeastern Region, and who comprise one-third of the nation’s total population, are mostly descended from Laotian, Mon and Khmer stock.

Considering their historical background, Isan people have a culture and dialect more closely tied to Laos and Cambodia than to Thailand, and this is no more evident than in the ancient traditions and customs, still practised in fairs and festivals throughout the Northeast. Isan also has a specific regional cuisine which is quite distinct from central Thai food. The Northeast of Thailand is a fascinating place that offers the visitor a unique insight into the many different cultures that make up The Kingdom of Thailand.

Cities most identified with this region are: Korat, Udon Thani, Nong Khai and Buriram

Korat / Nakhon Ratchasima   

The city of Nakhon Ratchisima, also known as "Korat", is situated on a plateau, about 260 kilometers northeast of Bangkok. The city itself is commonly referred to as the Gateway to the Northeast. Like other parts of the Northeast, Korat was an important part of the ancient Khmer civilization, evidence still visible today by various ruins still standing in and around the city.

The famous monument of Thao Suranari or Khun Ying Mo can also be found in Korat. It is situated in front of the old gate of "Pratu Chumpon" on the west side of the city. This monument was erected in 1934 to commemorate the heroic deed of Khun Ying Mo, wife of the Deputy Governor of Khorat during the reign of King Rama III, who managed to save the city from the invasion of the Laotian army led by Price Anuwong of Vientian.
Getting to Korat

By Car
Traveling by car from Bangkok to Korat is easy. Taking Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin) passing Don Muang Airport, Wang Noi, till arriving in Saraburi. At Saraburi, turn right along Highway No. 2 (Mittraphap Highway) which finally leads to Nakhon Ratchasima. The total distance of this route is 259 kilometers.

By Bus
There are several buses both air and non air-conditioned leaving from the Northeastern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit). Non air-conditioned buses leave every 15 minutes throughout 24 hrs

By Rail

Trains leave Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong) many times daily. Click Here For Train Station Timetable | Click Here for Train fares

By Air
Thai Airways operates daily flights to Nakhon Ratchasima.
Search Thai Air for Thailand flights

Udon Thani  

Located 564 kilometers from Bangkok, Udon Thani has a modern bustling ambience. The city itself stands as a hub of transport and communications of the upper Northeast with several tourist attractions and facilities. Without doubt, the most important site is Ban Chiang where excavations revealed a civilization dating back 5,000 years. This provincial capital offers air services from Bangkok and connections to the Friendship bridge that links Thailand to the Laotian capital of Vientiane. Located in the heart of the city is the "Charoensri Complex", a large modern shopping mall. The "Charoensri Complex" is as good as any mall you'll find in Bangkok. Udon also has some good, reasonably priced hotels; the Charoensri Grand Royal is probably the best in town.

Search for Udon Thani Guesthouses & Hotels (Excellent Rates - Lowest Prices in Thailand)

Getting to Udon Thani

By Car
From Bangkok, take Highway 1 (Phaholyothin) to Saraburi, at Km. 107 take Highway 2 (Friendship Highway) through Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen provinces to Udon Thani. Total distance: 562 kilometers.

By Bus
Air conditioned coaches and non-air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok's Northeastern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) on Kamphaengphet 2 Road every day between 5.00 AM. and 10.00 PM.

By Rail
Several trains leave Bangkok's Hualampong Railway station daily for Udon Thani. Trains leave Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong) many times daily.

By Air
Thai Airways operates daily flights between Bangkok and Udon Thani.
Nong Khai  

Situated on the stretch of the Mekong River where the borders of Thailand and the Lao People's Democratic Republic meet, the town of Nong Khai offers a panoramic view of the Mekong River and Laos on the opposite shore. Nong Khai is only twenty four kilometres from the Laotian Capital of Vientiane and only fifty-five kilometres from the large Northeastern town of Udon Thani. The main attraction in the area is the "Friendship Bridge". The "Friendship Bridge" is the only road connection between Thailand and Laos and is one of the most popular border crossings in Thailand.
Visa Run: Nong Khai – Vientienne
To cross the border from downtown Nong Khai, take a tuk-tuk to the foot of the Bridge (about B50), then a minibus (B10) across the span itself, before catching a bus or a taxi (about B400 which can be shared between up to four people) to Vientiane, 24km away.

Getting to Nong Khai

By Car
From Bangkok the trip is made on Highway No.2 passing Saraburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, and Udon Thani, on to Nong Khai. The total distance is 616 kilometers.

By Bus
The Transport Company Limited operates daily bus services both by regular bus and air-conditioned bus from Mo Chit bus station.
Click Here For Northeastern Bus Terminal Schedule

By Rail
Trains leave Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong) many times daily.

By Air
Those desiring to travel by air can fly to Changwat Udon Thani and then continue the trip by land transport (another 51 kilometers). 
Buri Ram is one of the largest and most populated provinces in Issan. The provincial capital, also named Buriram, is known as the "City of Pleasantness". The city (actually, more of a town) lies 410 kilometers Northeast of Bangkok. There are a number of leading attractions within driving distance, including the Prasat Hin Phanom Rung and the huge Buddha image atop Mount Khao Kradong. Like most other areas in the Northeastern region of Thailand, the main industry in Buriram is rice farming; and as Buriram is one of the least touristed areas of the country, it's a good place to spend some time trying to capture a glimpse of the "real" Thailand. The town of Nang Rong offers a good base for sightseeing.

Getting to Buriram

By Car
From Bangkok, take Highway No.1 (Phahonyothin Road) to Highway No.2 (Mittraphap Road) to Nakhon Ratchasima. Then turn right onto Highway No.24 on the Chok Chai-Det Udom Road, and another right to Buriram. The total distance is 410 km. A new route is from Nakhon Ratchasima on Highway No.226 past Amphoe Chakkarat, Huai Thalaeng and Lam Plai Mat. The distance on this route is only 384 km.

By Bus
The Transport Co. operates a daily Bangkok-Buriram bus service from Mo Chit bus station.

By Rail
Trains are available to Buriram from Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani. Air-conditioned diesel coaches on the Surin-Bangkok can be taken daily. The distance is 376 km.

By Air
Thai Airway International operates flight between Bangkok and Buriram.

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