Isaan - any experiences to share?
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Oct 11, 2012 1:13 PM Last Post By: Stickman
Sep 30, 2012 10:05 AM
Sep 30, 2012 11:32 AM
Follow the Mekong River for 10-14 days can be an excellent experience. From Chiang Khan down to Khong Chiam. It's a gorgeous and very unvisited part of the country where booking rooms in advance is almost a laughable notion (except in Chiang Khan where it can be packed with Thai visitors on weekends and holidays). Slow pace, beautiful views over to Laos, fantastic people, inexpensive, amazing food, flat to rolling farmland and banana plantations, easy access to the riverbank in most places.
For example, you could go by night train to Ubon Ratchathani and then take a bus to Khong Chiam. Then bus up to Mukdahan, then to That Phanom, Nakhon Phanom, Bueng Kan, Nong Khai, Sangkhom, Chiang Khan. Then down to Loei and by bus to Bangkok, or over to Phitsanulok and train back to Bangkok or wherever else you may want to go. Most of these places are worth a few days for checking stuff out (like in Nong Khai and Khong Chiam), or just taking it easy (especially Sangkhom). You could also double-back from Chiang Khan to Nong Khai and take the train back from there.
Possible to go in the opposite direction, too.
Also, Phnom Rung and Phimai are excellent stops for temple lovers. Khon Kaen is an interesting place that is a food-lover's paradise, especially at night.
Sep 30, 2012 12:21 PM
2Spent some time at the gf's village in Ubon. Proper out in the sticks stuff. Nong Khai is supposed to be nice.
Sep 30, 2012 12:32 PM
3Made a tour in Isaan a year and a half ago...
First to Pimai, then up North via KK to Udon Thani and Nong Khai, visited a national park on the border with Loei province and also the buddha park. From there to Ban Chiang and further to Sakon Nakhon and the national park of Phu Phan. Made a stop at the dinosaur museum in Kalasin. Then back to Korat. Before I already visited Ubon, Phanom Rung, Surin and the elephants in Ban Ta Klang.
If you've seen the touristic highlights of Thailand before, this is certainly a great way to discover more of the country.
Have a good trip!
Sep 30, 2012 2:20 PM
4Thank you for all your useful information! That sounds just the sort of thing I am looking for and travelling along the Mekong sounds ideal. I will do some more planning and might come back to pick your brains again when I am a bit clearer. Will be there over Christmas and New year and sadly only for a couple of weeks so more planning and pre-booking will probably be required than I would ideally like to have to do but nevertheless can't wait to get back to Thailand!
Sep 30, 2012 4:23 PM
5I quite like Nakhon Phanom which is one of the most far flung provinces in Isaan from Bangkok and is a pretty little town on the Mekhong River with Laos opposite. If you want quiet, it's real nice and the temple 50 clicks down the road is one of the best in all of Thailand. I was last there in 2009 but doubt it has changed much and wrote a trip report about my time there.
In the southern parts of the Isaan region there are some nice ruins such as Phimai in Korat and Phanom Rung in Buriam. Each is worth a visit but both are suffuciently far off the main drag that it really helps to have your own wheels to get there.
Roi Et is a nice town with a pretty lake and I always thought of it as typical Isaan without much in the way of influence from Westerners.
To see how Isaan is changing, downtown Udon Thani is rather different today to when I first visited in the '90s and much more developed.
Sep 30, 2012 10:18 PM
6All good advice above. Rent a car and self-drive. Only 2 weeks? Oh dear.
Follow map here or some part of it.
Oct 1, 2012 3:44 AM
- Nakhon Ratchasima best to visit Khao Yai National Park ,Prasat Phanom Wan ,Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo (I love thier zoo!)
- Nakhon Phanom visit Phra That Phanom,Phulangka national park (If you rent a car)
- Surin visit Phanom Sawai Forest Park,Pra Sat PhumPon
- Loei is good to visit in cool season and for hiking ,There are many nice National Park like 'Phu Kradueng National Park' , 'Phu Ruea National Park' , 'Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary'.
- Khon Kaen have many intereting place to visit aswell.
Oct 1, 2012 6:09 AM
8I love Mukdahan. The night market has great food. I like the Indochina market too and made good friends there. Many people found out I could speak Vietnamese and were inviting me to eat and chat. I can't see so no wheels. I still have a great time though.
My Thai improved a lot while there as well.
I have been to other places in Isaan which I enjoyed. Korat is nice. I was there during Yamo festival this year. Roi Et is worth a visit as well.
Oct 3, 2012 11:03 AM
Oct 3, 2012 3:53 PM
Oct 11, 2012 1:13 PM
11Agree that Roi Et is worth a visit. The town is pretty with the lake in the middle and the people are some of the nicest I have met in Isaan, although region-wide the people are very nice. There are some nice markets, many templs and a fabulous temple complex outside the city (sorry, the name escapes me) which you could arrange transport to visit.
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