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Head up Northeast into Isaan, Thailand; Home to Rugged Mountains, Zesty Food and Unique Culture

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You’ve come to Thailand and done it all. You’ve sampled the spicy yet tempting food. You’ve explored the big city. You’ve wandered through the river and canals on a long tail boat. You’ve hit the southern beaches and basked in the tropical island paradises. You’ve even hit the mountains and traded stories with the hilltribe people. Perhaps one region of Thailand has eluded you. Welcome to Isaan, one of the less visited parts of Thailand, but still a fascinating place to be.

So, how to get there? Just head northeast. Pretty much all the provinces in that area is Isaan. In fact 19 of the country’s 76 provinces are there. What makes this part of Thailand unique is its close association with its neighbor, Laos. So much so that their dialect closely resembles its language. Even their food and culture is more Lao than Thai. However, most people do speak the Central Thai dialect as their second tongue and for those who cannot speak it, they can at least understand it. No worries, your efforts at learning the Thai language will not be wasted here!

If you’re looking for food, well Isaan’s got some of the best. This is where sticky rice Larb (spicy meat salad) and Som Tum (papaya salad) call home. And the culture? Get familiar with Mor Lam, the area’s traditional folk music. Lyrics in Mor Lam usually feature a theme of unrequited love or the difficulties of rural life delivered with wry wit and humor. They are delivered in an almost conversational style, similar to rap music and are usually accompanied by a traditional Lao instrument called the Khene (a free reed mouth organ). Feel free to dance to the music. It is quite catchy.

If you like highlands, then you’ll like Isaan. First of all, Khao Yai National Park is here. It is a rugged, hilly and mountainous area great for hiking, rafting and mountain climbing. In addition, the area consists of plateaus as well as other cool hills and mountains.

Isaan’s somewhat remote location and the area’s lack of visitors will ensure that you are one of the few visitors the locals see on a daily basis. That’s good, knowing that you are getting a genuine experience in the heartland of Thailand.

If you’re looking to build your itinerary in the kingdom, perhaps you will be inspired by our Thailand tours. Beaches, caves, mountains, cities, rural towns, jungles, people, cultures and heritage. You name it, Thailand’s got it. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to receive updates and exclusive promotions.

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