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Cambodia's Angkor Wat may be the largest and greatest of the monuments to the ancient Khmer, but Thailand, too, possesses a wealth of temple ruins that boat attest to the architectural genius of the Khmer and are also readily accessible.

With its capital at Angkor in Cambodia, the Khmer civilization flourished from AD 802 to 1431, when Angkor was abandoned after being defeated by the Thais. At the height of its power,

 

The Ancient Khmer Ruins - ISAN @ Thailand

from the 11th century to the early 13th century, the Khmer Empire extended well beyond the borders of present-day Cambodia and included large areas of what is now Thailand.

Although our knowledge of Khmer history beyond Angkor is still incomplete, there is sufficient evidence to suggest the considerable importance of the territory today encompassed by Thai borders. It is estimated, for example, that more than 300 stone temples were erected in the Moon River valley alone, where the main temple, Phimai, was linked to Angkor by a 225 Km. " Royal Way ", which was punctuated by ornately decorated rest stations.

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BUN BUNGFAI
Bun Bungfai Rocket Festival - Esan ( Isan )

Rocket Festival
Bun Bungfai Rocket Festival is an ancient local festival, which is associated with Thai traditional beliefs in the supernatural powers that help promote the production of rice crops for the coming planting season. During the event, the beautiful rockets in different styles are paraded to the launch site. The local people dress in colorful traditional costumes and dance to accompany the procession. The highlight of the festival is the fired rockets launched from their platforms one by one. Noisy folk music and cheers can be heard for each liftoff and the rocket that reaches the greatest height is declared the winner... You Tube - Bun Bungfai Rocket Festival

Candle Festival - Ubon Ratchathani @ ThailandCANDLE  FESTIVAL
The Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival, the most elaborate of the traditional parading of candles to
Wats
(Temples), is held in Ubon Ratchathani, Isan @ Thailand, around the days of Asanha Bucha (which commemorates the Buddha's first sermon) and Wan Kao Pansa.
 

At the start of the Lenten period, it is traditional in preparation for the rainy season for the devout to donate to items for the personal use of monks, and of candles to dispel gloom in their quarters and elsewhere within the Wat. The latter is often the core event of many village celebrations, but is at its most elaborate in the Ubon Ratchathani version, which nowadays is a major event both for residents and for tourists: giant candles are paraded through the town, each representing a local temple, district or other institution. The more elaborate versions are accompanied by scenes of Hindu and Buddhist mythology sculpted in wood or plaster and coated with wax. Of course, these candles are never burned.

The candles are carved a couple of days before the procession.

On Asanha Bucha day, the candles are taken to Thung Si Mueang, a park in the middle of the city, where they are decorated and then exhibited in the evening. On the same evening, there are small processions with lighted candles at several temples.

The procession takes place on the morning of Wan Kao Pansa. The candles are paraded through the city centre on floats, accompanied by representatives of the public and private sectors. These are normally dancers or musicians in traditional dress... You Tube - Candle Festival

 
LONG BOAT RACING
Long Boat Racing Festival @ Isan ( Esan ) - Thailand

Tha Toom @ Surin
Organized in October every year. Four types of racing for the royal trophy and the contest of boat beauty parade will be organized on Maenam Moon ( Moon River ) in front of Wat Pho, Amphoe Tha Toom (District), Surin @ Thailand...

  Satuek @ Buriram
It is organized annually on the first weekend of November when the MOON River is high. Oarsmen from Buriram and other nearby provinces would gather to join the boat racing which is held in front of Amphoe Satueks district office. Each year, there are about 40 to 50 boats in the competition. There is also a parade of fancy decorated boats during the event. Boat racing was once a traditional festival celebrated among friends and relatives to pay homage to Chaopho Wang Krut, a spirit named after a whirlpool in the Moon River. Since 1986, it has become a festival of Buriram province... You Tube - Long Boat Festival
 
MO LAMMo Lam   is a traditional of song in Isan (Esan). Mo Lam means expert song, or expert singer, referring to the music or artist respectively. In Isan (Esan), the music is known simply as Lam; Mo Lam refers to the singer.

The characteristic feature of Lam singing is the use of a flexible melody which is tailored to the tones of the words in the text. Traditionally, the tune was developed by the singer as an interpretation of glawn poems and accompanied primarily by the Khaen, a free reed mouth organ, but the modern form is most often composed and uses electrified instruments. Contemporary forms of the music are also characterised by quick tempi and rapid delivery, while tempi tend to be slower in traditional forms. Some consistent characteristics include strong rhythmic accompaniment, vocal leaps, and a conversational style of singing that can be compared to American rap.

Typically featuring a theme of unrequited love, mor lam also reflects the difficulties of life in rural Isan and Laos, leavened with wry humour. In its heartland, performances are an essential part of festivals and ceremonies, while the music has gained a profile outside its native regions thanks to the spread of migrant workers, for whom it remains an important cultural link with home... You Tube - Mo Lam

 
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Road
There are 15,000 km of highway, centred on the Thanon Mitraphap ("Friendship Highway") built by the United States to supply its military bases in the 1960s and 1970s. A road bridge (the Saphan Mitraphap or Friendship Bridge) jointly built by the Australian, Laos and Thai governments forms the border crossing over the Mae Nam Khong River on the outskirts of Nong Khai to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, about 25 km away.

Most roads in Isan are paved. All major roads interconnecting the province capitals are in excellent condition for driving, and most are centrally divided four or six-lane highways. Many roads connecting province capitals to larger district towns are also currently (2008) being widened to four lane highways with median strips. The paving on some very minor roads in the poorer districts may be navigable with difficulty, due to large, deep potholes. Unpaved, graded roads link some of the smaller, more remote villages, but they are comfortably navigable at normal driving speeds for wheeled vehicles. Most of the stretches of paved roads through villages are lit at night, many with powerful sodium lighting, some of which are on independently solar-powered masts. Reflecting 'cats-eyes' marking the central line of two-lane roads are a common feature. Crash barriers are installed along the sides of dangerous bends and precipitous verges. Signposting is excellent and follows international style. Since 2002 (with the exception of some poorer sub-districts), all signs are bilingual in Thai and Roman script, although the spellings in Roman script may defy the logic of English pronunciation, and vary significantly.

The main highways have frequent, Western-style rest and refuelling stations which accept payment by major credit/debit cards. In 2006, all fuel stations sell 91 and 95 octane gasoline/petrol and diesel fuel, but LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) and NGV (Natural Gas for Vehicles) is very rare outside the cities of Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen and Udon Thani. Since 2009, bio-diesel fuel is becoming increasingly available.

 

Rail
The State Railway of Thailand has two main lines in Isan, both connecting the region to Bangkok. One runs east from Korat, through Surin to Ubon; the other runs north through Khon Kaen and Udon to Nong Khai. In early 2009, a newly completed rail link from Nong Khai came into operation. It crosses the Friendship road bridge into Laos territory to a terminus a few kilometres north of the land border crossing. It remains unclear whether this line will be extended the remaining 20 kilometres to Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

Bus
Buses provide the mass transport throughout the region. All province cities are connected to Bangkok by daily and nightly, direct, air-conditioned bus routes. All district amphoe towns operate at least one similar nightly route to and from Bangkok ( Mor Chid ). All towns and villages are interconnected with frequent services of Songthaew a covered truck-style bus or covered pick-up trucks with bench seats in the cargo bed.

A songthaew for public transport in Udon Thani, one of the major cities in Isan.Taxi transport is not well developed, even in the very large cities, where Samlor, three-wheeled motorcycle taxis similar to the Bangkok tuk-tuk, provide the mainstay of urban transport. The large cities do have some pick-up trucks operating on regular inner-city and suburban routes. Airports are served by collective vans, which tend to be expensive for the local population, and samlors for private hire.

 
 
 

Air
There are airports at Korat (no scheduled services due to its proximity to Bangkok), Khon Kaen (domestic), Ubon Ratchathani (domestic), Udon Thani (international), Nakhon Phanom (domestic, scheduled services), Sakon Nakhon (domestic, scheduled services), Roi Et (domestic, scheduled services), Buriram (domestic, scheduled services) and Loei (domestic, scheduled services). Domestic air travel between the capital and the region is well developed, particularly since 2002, and has become a viable alternative to rail, long-distance bus and self-driving. Fares are cheap and Udon and Khon Kaen which both opened brand new airport terminals in 2005 and 2006 respectively, are served by many daily flights and also have routes connecting other major destinations in Thailand with some companies operating wide-bodied aircraft. Most domestic flights to and from Bangkok operate to and from Don Muang, the original Bangkok international airport, while Thai Airways and Air Asia flights serve Bangkok International Airport at Suvarnabhumi.

Waterways
In this region, rapids and variable flow make navigation difficult on the Mae Nam Khong River, so large boat traffic is limited in connection with downriver areas. Bridges are rare because of the high cost of spanning the wide river; numerous passenger and vehicle ferries link its two sides. The Second ThaiLao Friendship Bridge, spanning the Mae Nam Khong between the cities of Mukdahan (Thailand) and Savannakhet (Laos), was completed and officially opened for traffic on 20 December 2006. Some new bridges, not included on the 2005 maps, have been built over smaller rivers and dams. Passenger and vehicle ferries also operate across some large reservoirs.

 
 
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    Resorts & Hotels @ ISAN

    Khon Kaen Loei MukdahanNakhon PhanomNakhonratchasima
    Nong KhaiSakon NakhonSisaketSurin Ubon RatchathaniUdon Thani

     
     
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