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Overview of the Northeastern Region

The northeastern region occupies the largest land area in Thailand, with more than 170,000 square kilometers in size or roughly one-third of the country. It is made up of 19 provinces.

The region is commonly referred to as I-san or E-san, which usually conjures up the image of an arid land area. Yet the major income of the folks there is from agriculture, especially the cultivation of rice.

In the tourists' eyes, they normally view I-san as having nothing interesting. In fact, the area can be one of the most intriguing destinations, especially for enthusiasts of pre-historic human civilization because the region boasts several significant ancient Khmer temples.

It is this northeastern area of Thailand where evidence of the great Khmer empire has left its legacy such as the sandstone sanctuary in Pimai (Nakhon Ratchasima), Phanom Rung and Muang Tam (Buriram), and Khao Phra Viharn (Sri Saket). Ban Chiang, one of the world's greatest evidences of the pre-historic era about 5,000 years ago, is located in the northeastern province of Udon Thani.

The region is also home to some wondrous natural attractions such as Phu Kradung and Phu Rua in Loei.

The people of I-san have a distinctive character and culture, developed largely from their style of living. Their ancient culture and traditions are still reflected in many festivals which are unique to the northeasterners.

Situated in a strategic location bordering on Laos and Cambodia to the east, northeastern Thailand has in recent years risen to become a significant starting point for adventurous journeys to the Mekong countries.

During the last decades, there has been a huge development of infrastructure to accommodate the expected tourism boom. Traveling there is made more convenient with the availability of regional airports, served by domestic airlines. It's no longer impossible to find a luxury accommodation, especially in large provinces of Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani. Basic accommodations are even easier to find.