Head to the northern-eastern reaches of Thailand and discover the unique natural, cultural and historical charms of the region known as Isaan. First, you’ll hike through the lush jungles of Khao Yai on the Khorat Plateau, then journey through stunning countryside to Angkorian sandstone temples, an elephant village and to the breathtaking natural landscapes of Pha Taem National Park on the Mekong River. Isaan is famed for its cuisine, and this trip will lead you on a culinary journey through Buriram Night Bazaar to taste the region’s most authentic flavors.
Get an early start on the first day of your trip with a morning drive from your hotel in Bangkok to Khao Yai, a scenic three-hour journey. At Khao Yai National Park, you’ll embark on a leisurely hike through impossibly verdant evergreen and deciduous forests, spotting wildlife such as gibbons and muntjac deer. In the afternoon, a wine-tasting tour will take you to a local vineyard to sample Khao Yai’s own varietals. At night, you will head out on a night safari to spy wildlife in their natural habitat.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing for Khorat. On the way, you will stop at the ancient Prasat Hin Phimai temple site, dating back to the 11th century. The largest sandstone Khmer temple in Thailand, this Angkorian relic recalls the iconic forms of Angkor Wat. After exploring the complex, you will head to your hotel in Buriram, then head out on a food tour of Buriram Night Bazaar where it will become apparent why Isaan cuisine is world renowned.
Today you will explore the province of Buriram, visiting the Phanom Rung Historical Park and Prasat Muang Tam, where you will discover more fascinating Khmer temple relics from the 10th-13th centuries. After that, see a more modern architectural wonder - the New I-Mobile Stadium - a 32,600-seat football stadium - the largest club-owned stadium in Thailand.
After breakfast, you will travel to Surin via Ban Ta Klang Elephant Village in Tha Tum, part of an ethnic Suay township, where elephants are an intrinsic part of daily life. After meeting these gentle giants and learning about the Suay people, you will continue on to Ubon Ratchathani, four hours away by car. In Ubon, you will see the beautiful Wat Thung Sri Muang, a wooden temple constructed in the early 19th century in ornate Rattanakosin style. You will stay in Khong Chiam tonight, at a serene resort on the bank of the Mekong River.
Today’s explorations will treat you to some of the region’s most spectacular landscapes. First you will head to Pha Taem National Park on the Mekong River and see the striking rock formations of Sao Chaliang, mushroom-shaped figures embedded with shells. Within the park’s borders are 4,000-year-old cave paintings, jagged shale cliffs, towering dipterocarp trees, waterfalls and colorful local wildflowers. Next, you will see the Two-Color River, Mae Nam Song Si, where the Mun River and the Mekong converge. Afterwards, you will visit Sang Chan Waterfall, which glows like a sunbeam as it flows through a rocky overhang.