Places to Visit in Thailand – Northeast

Rice field in Northeast Thailand, Khun Han, Sisaket
Land spreading out so far and wide! Oh darling I love you but, give me that country side... duh duh duh duh dutdut

We had a great time touring the northeast Thailand (Isaan, Isan, esarn) region for almost two months. There is something cool about the northeast – and it’s nothing to do with all the amazing sites and scenery you can see there – though there are a few things worth checking out – like Huai Chan Waterfall in Sisaket province. We were there the day Cambodia was firing artillery across the border – but didn’t hear anything. It’s right on the border with Cambodia.

We saw Nong Khai, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Korat, Ubon, Sisaket, Surin, and some baan nawk places in Sisaket where my some of my wife’s family live. All in all it was a great place to visit – and I highly recommend it if you have spousal relatives up that way. Go for the adventure.

The people in the northeast of Thailand are real gems… If your spouse comes from a decent family you’ll see the best Thailand has to offer. If your spouse comes from a family of bar workers – well, you’ll see some of the worst people in Thailand and you won’t have that great a time shelling out cash for sick buffalos, hospital visits, new cars, and short-term loans that are never payed back. Luckily I didn’t have to deal with any nonsense… they took care of me and I had an amazing and restful vacation for over a month and a half.

I’ve read somewhere that less than 2% of all foreign tourists make it to the Isaan region – even to stop in any of the cities. Isaan is a giant place – and there IS a lot to see. There are waterfalls, mountain areas, the border with Laos can be fun for a day or 2… There are lakes for fishing or riding paddle boats on them… fish aquariums… even Sisaket has a well put together fish aquarium now. Entrance fee was dirt cheap – I think even I payed only 30 THB.

Huai Chan Waterfall in Northeast Thailand - Sisaket Province near Khun Han

There are cultural things to see – morlam laos dancers and great places for som tam, gangleeung, and more… The chicken in the northeast is always better – less fatty, because they use free-roaming chickens for the most part. The som tam is the best. The spice in the Ubon / Sisaket area is the hottest in the nation that I’ve had so far. I always ask for Pedt Silopsilai – so spicy I fall down into a coma. Only in Sisaket do they take that literally as a challenge.

So, basically the best reason to visit the northeast is because you haven’t been before, and the people are great.

Go have a look, see what you’re missing. Chances are you’ll go right back to where you were staying before, but, it’s worth a look so you can appreciate what you have. That’s what it did for me – as well as make me miss the place a bit.

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

3 thoughts on “Places to Visit in Thailand – Northeast”

  1. Hi all, I’m new on here but been to Sisaket 2 times for a period of 3 weeks and 6 weeks respectively. I agree that Issan is absolutely wonderful and the people here are so friendly.
    I am writing this with only 5 days to go until I fly out there again, this time I am staying there for 6 months (sabbatical from work).
    I will be getting married to my beautiful teerak while I am there and hopefully bring her back to the UK, (with visa of course).Hence the 6 month stay. Arrive monday am then British embassy, 1 night stopover Bangkok, next day Thai consul then night train to Sisaket. Only 8 days to go until I arrive at my girl’s home, can’t wait.
    For anyone reading this but have not been to Issan (muang Sisaket) please do so, you will not regret it, try a taste of real Thailand.

  2. Glad to see you enjoyed your time in Isan! Your post will help to offset the cliches about the Northeast of the country and its indigenous people…which will eventually (we hope) lead to more visitors plucking up the courage to avoid the cliches of traveling within the kingdom to only the tired tourist destinations!

    When you are next up in the Udon vicinity, we’d love to take you up on the chilli challenge at Gecko Villa, wher we grow our own!

  3. I agree the Isaan region has some amazing sites and some very agreeable towns and cities too. I spent a very pleasant few days in Nong Khai and Udon Thani. Later this year I plan to visit the Sisaket/Ubon Ratchathani regions. With a bit of luck the Thais and Cambodians will sort out their differences and maybe the Preah Vihear Temple can be reopened once more.

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