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What to See and Do in Isaan

Northeastern Thailand, otherwise known as Isaan, is, to tourists at least, the country’s great unknown. The giant drought-prone area is the poorest part of Thailand and banner attractions are fewer here than in other regions. Nevertheless, its fascinating cultural makeup (it has more in common with Laos than other parts of Thailand), fiery cuisine, superb national parks, and entrancing Mekong River scenery make it well worth investigating.
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Phimai, Prang Ku District, Si Sa Ket 33170, Thailand
One of the finest examples of Khmer architecture in Thailand, Prasat Phimai once stood on the ancient Khmer highway linking Angkor with the northern reaches of the realm. The temple complex is located in the very heart of the otherwise...
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Surin, Thailand
The city of Surin near the border with Cambodia is famous chiefly for its annual elephant round up. The festival lasts for a whole 11 days, but the biggest crowds come on the last weekend for the main event, which features 300 elephants taking...
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Chiang Khan District, Loei 42110, Thailand
Of all the Mekong River towns in Thailand, Chiang Khan is probably the most appealing to visitors. Nestled right on the mighty river, the small town possesses low-key but enjoyable attractions such as the quaint wooden shophouses of its Walking...
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Like the more famous Buddha Park just over the Mekong River near Vientiane, this sculpture park is both weird and wonderful. Built over a period of 20 years by Luang Pu, a mystic, the part features an array of gigantic sculptures ablaze with...
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Na Pho Klang, Khong Chiam District, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand
One of Thailand's least visited national parks, Pha Taem deserves much more exposure. Not only does it boast some awesome scenery -- the views over the Mekong River to Laos from the top of the cliff that dominates the park are incredible -- it...