December 13 – 20 (Days 48 – 55)
13.12.2012 - 20.12.2012
View World Tour 2012/13 on Elmar123's travel map.
We’ve come to Thailand for several years now and have been here probably more than 10 times but we have never visited the center of Thailand and the most populous of all regions, Isaan. Isaan, or the Northeast, is also the poorest region of Thailand and is often associated with the “Red Shirts”, who demonstrated in Bangkok a couple of years ago until a military crackdown cost over 90 lives. The Isaan region also mainly fuels the vast sex industry of Thailand with young women who don’t see a future in Isaan and who often have to support big families back home who have a hard time making ends meet.
Isaan and the Central Plains are also regions where you can find many of the manufacturing plants supplying products to e.g. Japanese, European and some American car manufacturers as well as companies like Jim Thompson, which produce silk for expensive pashminas and the like.
So, while we have heard many stories about this region we have never visited it and thought that on our extensive visit this time it would be a shame to miss out on a chance to get to know the “real Thailand” and not just the Thailand of the beaches in the South, hills in the North and Bangkok, which is in many ways unique anyway. Finally, we also saw it as an opportunity to get away from the typical tourist razzmatazz of most places in Thailand for a few weeks which you can grow tired of.
So our plan was to travel through Isaan for about five days, maybe catch a boat on the Mekong in Nongkai and make our way back to Bangkok through the Central Plains with the two old capitals of Sukothai and Ayutthaya. The following chapters describe the different stages of our Trip to Thailand’s Heartland.