is the northeastern region
of Thailand. It is located on the Korat Plateau, bordered
by the Mekong River (along the border with Laos) to the north
and east, by Cambodia to the southeast and the Prachinburi
mountains south of Nakhon
Ratchasima. To the west it is separated from Northern
and Central Thailand by the Phetchabun mountain range.
the beginning of the 20th century, northeastern Thailand
has been officially known as Isan, a term adopted from
Sanskrit Ishan, meaning in a “north east direction.” The
term "Isan" was derived from Isanapura,
the capital of the Chenla kingdom.The Lao-speaking population of the region,
who comprise the majority, distinguish themselves not
only from the Lao of Laos but also from the central Thai
by calling themselves Khon Isan or Thai Isan.
Khmer-speaking minority and Kuy (Suai), who live in the south
of Isan, speak dialects and follow customs more similar to
those of Cambodia than either the Thai people or the Lao people.
Agriculture is the main economic activity. Production lags
behind the rest of the country due to the socio-economic conditions
and the exceptionally hot, dry climate. Isan remains Thailand's
poorest region. The main language is Isan, which is a dialect
of the Lao language. Currently written with the Thai alphabet
(instead of the slightly different Lao alphabet), Isan belongs
to the Chiang Seng and Lao–Phutai language groups, which along
with Thai are members of the Tai languages of the Tai–Kadai
language family. Thai is also spoken by almost everyone. Khmer,
the language of Cambodia, is widely spoken in areas along
the Cambodian border: Buriram,
Surin, and Sisaket.
The people are aware of their Lao ethnic origin, but Isan
has been incorporated into the modern Thai state. Several
Thai prime ministers have come from the region. Prominent
aspects of Isan culture of include Mo
Lam, an indigenous type of folk music, Muay
Thai boxing, cock fighting, and celebratory
processions. Isan food, in which Sticky Rice (Khao
niew) and chiles are prominent, is distinct from Thai cuisine.
Sticky rice is a staple of Thai Northeastern cuisine, and
it accompanies most meals.