The pace of life in the north-eastern region of Thailand, known as Isaan, is generally more relaxed than in other areas, and the people often appear more friendly. Isaan food is famous for its variety of ingredients and pungency. Particular favourites are som tam (a spicy papaya salad) and gai yang (roasted spiced chicken).
You will find many cheap flights to Thailand where you can easily connect to Nakorn Ratchasima (Korat) which is the gateway to whole north-east area
There is a distinct Laos and Khmer influence in the region which is reflected in the local dialect, and the Angkor Wat like monuments near Surin and Buri Ram. That Phanom on the Laos border has a particularly fine example of this style of architecture.
There are archeological sites a little north of Korat, that show the earliest settlers of the region where here some 4000 years ago.
North of Udon Thani is Ban Phu which offers prehistoric cave drawings. To the east lies Ban Chiang with its ancient ceramic and bronze sculptures. The best silk in Thailand is said to come from the areas around Roi Et and Nakhorn Ratchasima (Korat). This is certainly the place to visit for bargains or an insight into silk weaving techniques. Nong Khai in the northern part of the region is the only place where visitors can cross the Maekhong river to Vientiane in Laos. Further west is Loei which is one of Thailand's most unspoiled provinces.