"Udon Thani Thailand (Issan)" Udon Thani by Cathy&Gary

Udon Thani Travel Guide: 68 reviews and 173 photos

Issan is the entire north east area of Thailand which covers an area of approximately 160,000km2 and is the poorest region in Thailand. Due to this many people leave for the big cities to look for work, however it will usually only be one or two members of a family who move from Issan often leaving children in the care of friends or family.

Farming is the main source of income but it is a hard life due to unpredictable rainfall, either not enough or too much and poor quality of soil. So incomes are usually supplemented by basket weaving, silk weaving, making fishnets or other handicrafts.

The main language spoken in the Issan area is a dialect of Thai and Lao and Northern Khmer is often spoken in the southeast, though everyone understands Thai.

The history and culture of Issan is very different to other areas of Thailand as is the food, some dishes are so spicy. This is the perfect area to explore if you do not want to be surrounded by tourists.

On our drives we have gone days without seeing any westerners. We were also amazed at how friendly everyone was, even Monks would call out to us and wave.

There is just so much to see in the Issan area, it is home to Thailand’s earliest civilization so there are archeological sites to explore, beautiful waterfalls, amazing Temples, national parks, the mighty Mekong River, Khmer ruins and so much more.

Main highways in the area are excellent with plenty of rest stops, signs and garages, so it is perfect for road trips, though there are also some pretty bad roads off the beaten track but no problem in a 4x4.  

This is an area we will keep coming back to explore, it is most definitely the highlight of our trips to Thailand.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Lots to explore in the area if you just get out and about.
  • Last visit to Udon Thani: Oct 2011
  • Intro Updated Apr 8, 2012
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