I-San - Thailand's Distinctive Northeast Corner
By Patricia Earnest
The northeast corner of Thailand's is not only the least changed part of the country, its the largest of the five major regions. I-San offers a distinct lifestyle, a delicious and spicy cuisine, vibrant music, beautiful national parks and some interesting local sights.

Getting Around I­-San
Udon Thani, one of the four larger cities in the region, is a perfect center point for a tour of I-San (pronounced Ee-Saan). The city bustles with taxis and its own brand of "tuk-tuk," distinctive motorcycle-powered vehicles, locally called "Skylabs." Brightly painted, they burst at the seams with passengers and goods.

Of course, there are also local rental cars and tour offices than can guide visitors if they wish to drive themselves around.
  Ban Chiang Pot
Ban Chiang Dig Site
In & About Udon Thani
About an hour's drive east form Udon Thani through undulating rice paddies are the archeological remains of Ban Chiang, with its traces of a Bronze Age civilization.Now a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage site, visitors can tour the museum with its fine collection of pots decorated with distinctive orange swirly patterns, and watch the continuing excavations.

Just over an hour's drive northwest of Udon Thani is the Phu Phra Bat Historical Park with its bizarre rock formations and shrives built around and sometimes within the rocks. A number of caves contain primitive, beautiful rock paintings and a small museum displays interesting artifacts.

Close to the park entrance is a Buddhist shrine containing the imprint of the Buddha's foot, This is a peaceful place to wander amongst ancient temples with local Thais and mingle with the monks at their daily work and worship.
  Phu Phra Bat
Shoppers will love Nakha Village a short way out of Udon Thani where you can purchase silks and cottons at unbelievably low prices. The already low prices are negotiable.