Welcome to the very first post on Isan Traveller. I live for much of the year in a part of Thailand that goes by various names. The most frequently used is Isan, though it is also spelt Isaan. Or it is known as North-East Thailand, or the North-East region. I prefer to know it as Isan, as do most of the people who live here. But Isan is a big area, roughly one third of the area of Thailand, and the part where I live is sometimes referred to as ‘the lower north-east’.
Isan has one third of Thailand’s population and most of them speak the Lao language amongst themselves, although Thai is used in schools and in all interactions with government officials, and usually with foreigners, too.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has been using the slogan ‘Unseen Thailand’ for a few years now, and it can certainly be applied to Isan. This is not an area where you find many foreign tourists, although the number is increasing, as is the number of Thai tourists too, at a much faster rate. But those tourists who have made it to Isan often find it the most ‘authentic’ experience of a visit to Thailand, and almost without exception they describe the people here as the most friendly. So being an Isan traveller can be a very rewarding experience.
What are you likely to find on this site if you follow my blog, or dip into it occasionally? Well, not a detailed decription of a holiday or a long journey. More likely is that you will find un-biased, un-sponsored information about places to go, places to stay and places to eat. It will be presented, for the most part, in a random sort of way, depending on where I have been and what I am feeling enthusiastic about.
But please stick with it. This site will gradually begin to make a coherent guide to Isan and hopefully will be useful to people thinking of travelling here, or perhaps already living here.
Most of all, please leave your comments, adding to the information I give and the opinions I express. Please feel free, too, to ask questions or suggest places that I have net got around to mentioning.
Enjoy travelling in Isan, virtually or in reality. And enjoy the site!