The word I-san denotes prosperity and vastness, which is appropriate considering that the Northeast covers a total area of more than 170,000 sq.kms., or roughly one-third of the entire country. It borders on Laos and Cambodia to the east.
I-san is noted for being the center of age-old civilization and customs dating back to pre-historic time and to the period when the Khom people held away in the region. Relics and monuments still stand, attesting to the splendors and majesty of the ancient era. The Phra That Phanom in Nakhon Phanom, the Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung in Buriram and the Prasat Hin Phimai in Khorat, are some of the most important and interesting structures in the area. The Ban Chiang village in Udon Thani, where remains of pre-historic skeletons and tools have been discovered, serves as a most concrete evidence of a Bronze Age civilization flourishing 5,000 to 7,000 years ago.
The Northeast's ancient traditions and customs are still reflected in fairs and festivals found nowhere else in the country. These include the colorful Bun Bang Fai (rocket festival), the Candle Procession and the Wax Castle Festival.
Folk performances of the region are both delightful and symbolic, including the Pong Lang, Khan, Soeng Kratip, Rabam Fat Khao, for example.
Because the majority of the land is sandy which rapidly absorbs water, no less than eight dams have been constructed to regulate water flow. The high level of salinity of the soil on certain areas in such that salt can be extracted for commercial purposes.
The major river of I-san is the Mun, comparable in importance to the Chao Phraya of the Central Plain and the Tapi of the South.
Probably the most well-known local products of the Northeast are the world-famous Matmee silk manufactured in most provinces, wickeware, earthenware and edible items such as sausages, Mu Yong and Mu Paen (processed pork in thin ribbons or slics).
I - san is easily accessible, with four major highways connecting it with other regions. Inter-provincial transportation networks are also among the best and most convenient.
Air-conditioned and Non-airconditioned buses leave tje northeastern bus terminal at Talat Mo Chit, Phahonyothin Road, Bangkok Tel : 2720299, 2720295.
Bangkok railway station at Hua Lamphong, Rama IV Road is the center of trains to northeast provinces Tel : 2237010, 2237020. The northeast provinces that can be reached by train are Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Surin, Sri Sa Ket, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nong Khai and Ubon Ratchathani.
Don Muang Domestic Airport is the center of planes to Northeast. Thai Airways International, Thai Airways Co., Ltd. 6 Lan Luang Road, Bangkok 10110 Tel : 280-0060. The northeast provinces that can be reached by plane are Nakhon Ratchasima, Sakon Nakhon, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani.