Highlights of east Isan

Private journey 10 days

Thailands northeastern region Isan is the least changed part of Thailand. It offers a fascinating mix of traditional rural life, mountain sceneries and spectacular temple ruins from the Angkor period. Traveling through Isan is like going back in time. The people of the Isan pursue agrarian lifestyles dictated by the annual cycle of the farming seasons and unchanged by the passage of time. The region’s ancient cultural traditions and customs in music, folk dances, legends and festivals are better preserved here than anywhere else in Thailand. You will visit the national park of Khao Yai and the beautiful old Angkor temple of Phimai. You will stay at home with a charming Thai hostfamily in a quiet Isan countryvillage and take part in authentic daily village life. Experience first hand how life on the quiet Thai countryside still is.

See also our other journey Highlights of north Isan in which you explore the northern part of Isan with much nature and a stay with a Thai host family. Both journeys are example journeys and can be adapted to your individual requirements. You can also design your own journey through Isaan, for instance by combining parts of these two Isan journeys or by adding destinations yourself. Let us know your wishes and we will send you the possibilities and prices.

Highlights of east IsanDay 1 – 2. Khao Yai national park & vineyards
Via a lovely country route you will drive from Bangkok to the Granmonte vineyards near the Khao Yai national park. You have ample opportunity to visit the vineyards and taste the wines. Your guide will show you around. Of course there is also wine for sale, should you want to lighten up your stay in Thailand. The next morning you’ll drive deep into the mountains. Walk through refreshing morning nature and scenic landscapes of bizarre mountains where untouched jungle still exists. Follow elephant trails along mountain streams and see magnificent waterfalls where you can take a swim. The views from the 1270m high Mount Khao Khiew are magnificent. The park has an extensive fauna, among which Thailands largest population of elephants (200), many kinds of deer, cats, gibbons, wild bears and birds among which the hornbill. In the afternoon drive to the “salt licks”, a place where elephants gather in the evening.

Highlights of east IsanDay 3. Angkor temple Phanom Rung
On top of an extinct volcano, on the route from Khorat to Angkor Wat in Cambodia lies the impressive Khmer temple complex of Phanom Rung. It is the largest and best restored of all Khmer monuments in Thailand. Phanom Rung, together with the other temple of Phimai, have been the examples for the later built and world famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The whole complex and especially the procession road to the main entrance, the stairs leading up to the complex and the Naga bridges are beautiful and impressive. Just being here and absorb the peace and tranquility is a wonderfully relaxing experience in itself. The complex offers magnificent views over the surrounding area. Overnight stay in Surin.

Highlights of east IsanDay 4 – 5. Khongchiam & Mekong river
Travel onward to Khong Chiam. On route visit Prasat Hin (Khmer temple) Sikoraphum, Danwat and both temples Prasat Hin Kamphaeng Yai and Noi. You stay overnight in the picturesque Tohsaeng Khongchiam Hotel. The hotel is located right at the Mekong river and offers wonderful views over Laos. The next morning visit Maenam Song See, where the blue coloured Moon river and the muddy brown Mekong river merge. Take a boat trip over the Mekong River and see the Mekong style of living. Fishing and weaving are the most important sources of income. Lunch in Khong Chiam at one of the Mekong raft restaurants. Later you will visit the beautifully located Pha Taem national park. Enjoy the magnificent late afternoon views from the cliff over the Mekong and the mountains of Laos, if weather allows beautifully lightened by the setting sun. Overnight again in the Tohsaeng hotel.

Highlights of east IsanDay 6 – 7. Mukdahan + Nakhon Phanom
Visit the morning Indochina Market in Mukdahan. Products from Vietnam, China, Laos & Cambodia make their way here and are sold to local people. Enjoy lunch with a view overlooking the Mekong into Laos! Visit Phra Thad Phanom, the most revered shrine in the Northeast with a 52-metre Laotian-style tower said to enshrine a breastbone of Lord Buddha. Its age is food of legends, most likely over 1,500 years old but restored in 1977 when it collapsed due to flooding. Tour the picturesque town of Nakhon Phanom. Visit the old breezy French colonial style City Hall built at the beginning of the 20th century followed by the place where Ho Chi Minh lived for 7 years during the 1920s and the St. Anna Catholic Church. Go shopping on the corner near the Ho Chi Minh Clock Tower where silver, cotton & silk textiles are offered at a fraction of Bangkok prices. Lunch at a charming riverside restaurant.

Highlights of east IsanDay 8 – 9. Khonkaen
Travel from Nakhon Phanom to Khonkaen via Ban Chiang or via Phu Khum Khao. Ban Chiang is an important archaeological site with pots and other items unearthed that are 4,000 to 7,500 years old. One part of this National Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, shows exhibits from the excavations; the second part is an open air museum around the actual archaeological digs. Phu Khum Khao is the place where fossilized dinosaur remains were discovered by a senior Buddhist monk in 1970. The number of dinosaurs discovered has nowadays reached 6 specimens, with more than 630 pieces of bones, dating back 130 million years in time with 1 individual skeleton almost completely intact. Choose the route of your preference. Upon arrival in Khonkaen, the rest of day 8 and day 9 are free to spend at leisure.

Day 10. Khonkaen – Bangkok
After breakfast travel by train from Khonkaen to Bangkok and onward to your hotel. Here this journey ends.

Highlights of East Isan Number of persons Single
Prices per person: 2 3 4 5 + surchg
Comfort Version $ 1220 $ 934 $ 792 $ 706 $ 233
Deluxe Version $ 1295 $ 1009; $ 867 $ 781 $ 233

Seasonal surcharges : Not applicable. Prices are valid throughout the whole year.
Child discount : Not applicable.

  • Prices are per person and based on the indicated number of persons.
  • Prices in Thai Baht are leading. Payments can also be made in other currencies such as USD or EUR. In that case, the prices in THB need to be converted at the exchange rate on the day of payment. The mentioned prices in EUR and USD are based on our prices in THB and against an exchange rate of 35 Baht per Euro or 32 Baht per USD.