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Our Travel Guide to Isaan, Thailand

Our Travel Guide to Isaan, Thailand

When you planned your trip to Thailand, you were probably thinking about the urban lifestyle of Bangkok, the island paradise vibes of Pattaya, or the intricate temples across the country. However, we think you’ll also appreciate the lesser-known area of Isaan.

This area of Thailand will surely give you a unique experience—if you know where to go, that is! Don’t worry though, because we’re here to show you why Isaan is such a special place and why it deserves your attention.

Time Zone

 Indochina Time (UTC+7:00)

Best Time to Go

The best months to visit Isaan are from November to May. During this period, Isaan will provide you with comfortable and acceptable warmth while visiting the different sites in the area.

Do note though, that March to May can get scorching hot so we recommend that you bring some water to avoid getting dehydrated.

Things to Know

Currency: Baht (THB) (Check the current exchange rate)
Language: Thai
Calling Code: +66 Indochina Time (UTC+7:00)

How to Get to Isaan

Plane: If you decide to go by plane, it’ll cost you around 1,400.00 THB each way and it will take about an hour from Bangkok to Isaan. You’ll take the plane from Don Muang Airport in Bangkok and get off at Buri Ram Airport to get to Isaan.

Train: Taking the train is the cheapest option so you can go from Bangkok to Isaan. You’ll ride via the Hua Lamphong station and get off at Buriram train station near Isaan. 

The trip will take you around seven to eight hours in total and will only cost you around 130.00 THB. We recommend this mode of transportation if you’re on a tight budget.

Bus: Going by bus to Isaan will take you around six to seven hours and will only cost you around 400.0 THB. You’ll want to ride the bus from the Mochit Bus Terminal in Bangkok and get off at Buri Ram Bus Terminal at Isaan.

Taxi: If you have the money to spare, you can also get to Isaan via taxi but we highly recommend against it as it’s too expensive and even pricier than going by plane! 

It will only take around 6 hours to get to Isaan from Bangkok but it’ll cost you a whopping 4,213.00 THB!

Where to Stay in Isaan, Thailand

Centara Hotel and Convention Centre Udon Thani

Address277/1 ถนน Prajak Sillapakom, Mak Khaeng Sub-district, Mueang Udon Thani District, Udon Thani 41000, Thailand
Phone:   +66 42 343 555
Pricing:  $$
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If you want to stay somewhere near the city centre, then we recommend that you check out Centara Hotel and Convention Centre. It’s right in the middle of Udon Thani and near Central Shopping Centre.

Their top-notch service is beautifully complemented by their hotel facilities that you can enjoy during your stay such as a swimming pool, a gym, and even a sauna. It also doesn’t hurt that they serve a phenomenal breakfast to their hotel guests!

Pullman Khon Kaen Raja Orchid

Address: 9, 9 Prachasumran Road, Nai Mueang, Muang, Khon Kaen 40000, Thailan
Phone:  +66 43 913 333
Pricing: $$$
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Do you want a hotel that is near the airport and other urban conveniences such as malls and food centres? Pullman Khon Kaen Raja Orchid may just be the hotel for you during your trip to Isaan, Thailand.

This hotel is just 20 minutes from the airport, has a shopping centre nearby, and is close to a number of different establishments where you can get a quick bite. The hotel may be a bit old but the rooms are still well-maintained and they are pretty spacious.

U Khao Yai

Address: 99/22 Moo 1, Mu Si, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130, Thailand 
Phone:  +66 44 079 999
Pricing: $$$$
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This hotel may be a bit pricey but if you have the cash to spare, then U Khao Yai’s cosy ambiance and excellent service might just be the hotel you need during your stay in Isaan. 

Each hotel room comes with a complimentary breakfast– perfect for those who want to enjoy some delectable local cuisine before they head out for the day.

You’ll also love the customer service of this hotel. No matter what time you check-in, the staff will be more than ready to assist you with your accommodation–a big plus for convenience! 

B2 Khon Kaen Boutique and Budget Hotel

Address444 หมู่ 4 Nai Mueang, Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen 40000, Thailand
Phone:  +66 43 000 066
Pricing: $
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Staying in Isaan doesn’t have to break the bank, especially if you book a room with B2 Khon Kaen Boutique and Budget Hotel. As its name implies, this hotel offers a budget-friendly option for travellers without having to sacrifice comfort and convenience.

Some customers raised a valid concern about the noise they encountered when staying in this property due to the disco bars around the area. 

However, if you want to party and enjoy the night away, this hotel is perfect for you as bars and clubs are just a stone’s throw away!

Dusit D2 Khao Yai

Addressตําบล, 678 หมู่ที่ 18 Mu Si, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30450, Thailand
Phone:  +66 44 003 000
Pricing: $$$$
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Here’s a modern hotel you can check out in Isaan if you have the cash to spare and if you’re travelling with pets. Dusit D2 Khao Yai offers a unique experience as well since the area surrounding the hotel gives it that farm or rural vibe with some breathtaking scenery.

The premium price of the property also translates to modern-looking rooms and a great dining experience for guests. We also recommend that couples check this hotel out as they can also enjoy the calm and peace offered by this hotel, resulting in a more romantic stay.

Where to Eat Isaan Dishes in Thailand

Apples Express Restaurant and Bakery 

Address333 Moo 1 Rat Bamrung road 2 Ban that Naweng Thambon That Cheung Chong Jumper Ban that Nawang Thambon, That Cheung Chong, Mueang Sakon Nakhon District, Sakon Nakhon 47000, Thailand
Phone:  +66 61 171 7707
Pricing: $$$
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During your travels to Isaan and across the country, you might suddenly long for something familiar from back home. These can be cravings for pizza, sliders, freshly baked breads, and cheesecakes.

Fortunately, Sakon Nakhon, Isaan, has Apples Express Restaurant and Bakery, an establishment that offers some of the best Western cuisines this side of Thailand. We liked that a skillful chef prepares all their dishes– prices are quite reasonable too!

Chelsea Riverside Restaurant

Address: Nai Mueang, Mueang Nakhon Phanom District, Nakhon Phanom 48000, Thailand
Phone:  +66800890457
Pricing: $$
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Now here’s a restaurant located in the Nakhon Phanom province of Isaan that’s making waves among tourists and locals. Chelsea Riverside Restaurant serves up some of the best and most delicious Western dishes in the country.

These include food items such as burgers, fries, pasta, and steaks– all with a local twist. We recommend that you order their Spinach and Cheese Bake as it wasn’t only creamy but it sure tasted fresh and healthy.

Amuse Coffee

Address:  168 Theenanon Rd, Kalasin, Mueang Kalasin District, Kalasin 46000, Thailand
Phone:   +66878222247
Pricing: $$
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Amuse Coffee offers unique menu items to visitors which we’re certain will keep you coming back for more. For starters, they have Western Dishes to die for such as quarter pounders, crispy fried chicken, pizzas, steaks, and salads.

What really caught our attention though, were the cafe’s various concoctions of beverages that combine fruits, cream, milk, chocolate, and coffee. We recommend that you end your meal here by ordering one of their delicious moist cakes.

What to Do in Isaan

Visit Wat Phu Tok (Bueng Kan)

Address4VJJ+V4X, Na Saeng, Si Wilai District, Bueng Kan 38220, Thailand
Phone:  N/A

Wat Phu Tok is a site you should definitely check out when you visit Isaan, Thailand. This mountain is located in the middle of nowhere and yet, it offers some breathtaking sights and interesting points of interest throughout this area.

Visiting this spot will allow you to access seven (7) levels which contain different temples, statues, and amazing scenery. Don’t forget to wear some comfortable shoes as you have to do a lot of climbing and walking if you want to reach the topmost area!

Enjoy the spectacle of King Cobra Village (Khon Kaen)

AddressKing Cobra Village, Sai Mun, Thailand
Phone:  N/A

Looking for something exotic to do while in Isaan? Then we strongly suggest that you visit King Cobra Village– a site steeped in history and culture! 

The area previously became famous for its medicinal herbs but you won’t find these being sold here now.

Instead, locals now offer a king cobra show and exhibition held from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. We guarantee that you will marvel at how these snakes do various snake dances while being led by their handlers.

Marvel at the Beer Bottle Temple (Sisaket)

Address:  Si, Khun Han District, Si Sa Ket 33150, Thailand
Phone:  N/A

Beer Bottle Temple may sound strange and in a way, the site itself is. It’s the only one of its kind in the world and it all started when environmentally conscious monks decided to use beer bottles to build a temple using empty beer bottles.

You’ll see the temple looking like an emerald monument in the middle of the countryside using alternate bottles of Heineken and local beers such as Singha and Chang. Don’t forget to take photos and selfies of your trip here as it’s certainly a unique experience!

Grab some good finds at the Chong Chom Border Market (Surin).

Address:  Ban Dan Phattana, Tambon Dan, near the Chong Chom Border
Phone:  N/A

The Chong Chom Border Market in Surin is the market to visit if you’re the type to shop for items coming from different locales. Here, you get the chance to buy products coming from both Thailand and its neighbour, Cambodia.

The market opens daily from 8:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon. Expect to see some exotic decorative items, garments, herbs, spices, and foods and as usual, we recommend that you ask the vendors for some discounts.

Take in the tranquillity of the Elephant Graveyard (Surin).

Address:  99 หมู่16 บ้านบุรี กระโพ Tha Tum District, Surin 32120, Thailand
Phone: N/A 

Are graveyards supposed to be a place for you to visit to find some peace and quiet? We answer in the affirmative specifically when you are referring to the Elephant Graveyard located in Surin!

This place exudes calmness and peace located smack in the middle of a rural village. Of course, you can also choose to interact with the living breathing elephants here and even be treated to an enjoyable elephant show led by the local handlers.

Wander around Phanom Sawai Forest Park (Surin)

Address:  Na Bua, Mueang Surin District, Surin 32000, Thailand
Phone:  +66883575699

Located in Surin, the Phanom Sawai Forest Park is perfect if you want to chill out and relax during your trip to Isaan. It offers lots of gardens and interesting areas for a photo opportunity

The thing we liked best about this park though, is the great views it offers. It’s located on a hill in Surin and the elevation makes it perfect for viewing that perfect Isaan sunset and the surrounding areas.

Be amazed by the sculptures of Sala Kaew Ku Sculpture Garden (Nong Khai).

Address:  Wat That, Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand
Phone:  N/A

If you’re into religious structures and statues, then the Sala Kaew Ku Sculpture Garden is the perfect place for you to visit while in Isaan. The site has gardens and well-maintained paths that will allow you to walk around the park to take in its sights.

What we found mesmerising about this location are the numerous structures scattered across the garden. These statues represent religious iconography and you can quickly grab a quick photo with the many different monuments within the venue.

Learn more about Isaan’s history at Phanom Rung Historical Park.

AddressYai Yaem Watthana, Thailand
Phone:  +66 44 666 251

Here’s an Isaan landmark that we recommend you visit when in the area. You’ll certainly enjoy your time strolling around this Park while at the same time learning about the history of the Ramayana and taking in the site’s majestic architecture. 

Temples and temple walls are intricately carved and there are religious ceremonies conducted in the park for you to experience and enjoy. You can also get a tourist guide to tell you more about this place and better appreciate the history behind it.

Which Areas to Visit in Isaan, Thailand

Nakhon Ratchasima


Considered one of the major cities of Isan, Korat (the shortened name of the area) is one city you shouldn’t miss when in this part of Thailand. It’s home to some of the most magnificent temples such as Wat Sala Loi and Wat Phayap. 

Korat will also allow you to immerse yourself in the interesting culture and history of the country. You can simply drop by the Mah Weerawong National Museum for some historical immersion and visit the Phimai Historical Park to have your pictures taken.

Make sure to bring your haggling skills as well as Karot also has the SaveOne Night market where you can score some of the best deals this side of Isan.



Buriram is another must-see and must-visit area here in Isaan, Thailand. There are a number of notable historical and architectural marvels here to marvel at such as the Buriram Castle and the Phanom Rung Historical Park.

Adrenaline junkies will also have a field day here as Buriram is home to the Chang International Circuit, a race track where you can practise your driving and racing skills. Get ready to suit up and rev your engine when in Buriram!



The province of Surin has a lot to offer travellers in terms of breathtaking spots and historical sites to marvel at. We’ve mentioned some of them earlier but there are still tons of activities to do and places to visit in this area.

You can learn more about Thai culture by dropping by Surin National Museum and the Ban Tha Sawang Silk Weaving Village. If you have young children travelling with you, you can also bring them to Saran Water Park for some well-deserved fun in the sun.

Ubon Ratchathani


Located in the northeastern part of the country, Ubon Ratchathani emits a rural and laid-back environment thanks to its small villages and surrounding rice paddies. However, Ubon Ratchathani has some notable landmarks and events for you to enjoy as well.

Near the border of Laos, you can check out the Pha Taem National Park. Here, you’ll find ancient cliff paintings created by the area’s early settlers along with some majestic waterfalls for some travel selfies or group photos with family and friends.



Sisaket is the ideal Isaan province for you if you’re raring to see ruins and ancient temples. Some of the most breathtaking tourist spots we can recommend include Wat Phrai Phatthana, Prasat Sa Kamphaeng Yai, and Wat Maha Puttharam.

Another highlight you shouldn’t miss is the Sisaket Aquarium. They don’t have a lot of exotic fishes but you’ll get to see a lot of aquatic wildlife varieties from both saltwater and freshwater environments from the comfort of an air-conditioned observation room!

What to Expect from Isaan Weather

Summer Season: The summer season in Isaan Thailand covers the months of February and May and will usually be very hot and dry. If you’re planning to travel during this season, we recommend that you go from February to April to avoid extreme heat.

Rainy Season: The rainy season for this area runs from May to October. If you have to go during this period, we recommend that you avoid visiting from August to September as these months have the highest rainfall which can lead to floods and landslides.

Cold Season: October to February is Isaan’s cold season. This is the ideal period for travel here as it brings with it cold winds and temperature to the area. 

We recommend travelling during the winter season specifically from November to April as there wouldn’t be much rain during these months plus the cold temperatures will be quite pleasant for you and your group while travelling in this part of Thailand.

Apps to Download for a Trip to Isaan

Grab: Ride-hailing, food, grocery, and delivery services
iOS| Android

Line: Call and messaging, file sharing
iOS| Android

Klook: Book tours, attractions, tickets, restaurants, hotels, and other activities
iOS| Android

Agoda:  Book hotels, flights, and other activities
iOS| Android

Google Translate: Translate various languages
iOS| Android

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