Amazing I-san

Posted on October 19, 2011


Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has mapped out an extensive campaign of festivals and activities specifically to promote the Northeastern region of Thailand (I-san) during 2011 -2012.

Having branded the populous but culturally-rich Northeast region as a “Destination of Learning and Civilisation”, the TAT is planning to step up marketing and promotional activities for a region that is set to become a major future bridgehead between Thailand and the neighbouring countries of the Mekong Subregion.

Northeast Thailand comprises 19 provinces, many of which straddle the Mekong River and share a border with both Laos and Cambodia. The region is full of a variety of tourism products in terms of arts, culture and cuisine, religions, traditions, lifestyle, languages, folk music, local handicrafts, festivals, ancient civilisation and archaeological discoveries.

This unique combination, along with the beautiful landscape, makes it an interesting destination for special interest visitors who have been-there-done-that and are now keen to acquire new knowledge and grow their tally of “experiences”.

TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, “This is an important part of our national social and economic plan to better balance the economic benefits of tourism by more equally distributing visitor arrivals nationwide.

“At the moment, the vast majority of visitors to Thailand remain in the central and southern regions. The Northern provinces such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai also get a good share but the Northeastern region is clearly where we need to focus our future attention in terms of marketing and promotion.”

The Northeast Region is shaping up as an important part of the Asian Highway, and the East-West and North-South Economic Corridors, a huge network of highways which will link the South China Sea with the Bay of Bengal, and Singapore with Kunming.

In the next few years, these highways will make it possible to drive comfortably throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion. In addition, low-cost airlines are providing strong connectivity between the cities of this region.

Mr Apichart Intharapongpan, Deputy Governor for Administration, TAT, felt that the region is ideally placed to attract MICE events and golfers, especially from new markets such as China. At present, there are more than 10 international standard golf courses in two provinces.

In order to boost the trips to various destinations in I-san, the TAT has planned the following tourism marketing activities:

“Amazing I-san” Theme, during October – December 2011

To appreciate the Uniqueness of Amazing I-san such as the winter climate at Phu Ruea and Phu Kradung National Parks, Bua Dang Sea. Watching the first sunrise in Thailand, Rocket Festival, etc. Major events in 2011 are:

“Phimai Festival”, November 9-13, 2011 at the Phimai Historical Park, Nakhon Ratchasima province

“Long-tailed Boat Racing Festival” November 12-13, 2011 in Phimai district, Nakhon Ratchasima province

“Surin Elephant Festival” November 19-20, 2011 in Surin province

“Christmas Star Festival in Sakon Nakhon”, December 24-25, 2011 in Sakon Nakhon province

“Learning Local Cultures along the Khong River, Chi River and Mun River” Theme, during January – March 2012

To study geological sites along the Mekong River such as Sam Phan Bok (Mystic Rock), Ban Pha Chan, Kaeng Khut Khu (a large rock formation which obstructs a curve of the Mekong River, causing strong currents) and Hat Sai Thong (Golden Beach) in Nakhon Phanom. Visitors can interact with the people who live along the riverbanks via their festivals, religious and spiritual events such as Garland Festival, Wat Phra That Phanom Festival, etc.

“Taking Children to learn the I-san Civilisation” during April – June 2012

Inviting family groups to visit I-san during summer school holidays, learning the dinosaur world, Ban Chiang – Khao Yai world heritage sites, Khmer Civilization route and outstanding festival such as the Flower Festival, Songkran festival, Khao Phanom Rung festival, etc.

“Visit I-san in Green Season” during July – September 2012

Visit I-san during the rainy season to view the lush green landscape. In addition I-san has become the perfect place to organise CSR activities such as Go Green Tourism, visit the Krachieo flower field, shrimp parade, local communities which produce hand-made candles, Praewa Silk, etc.

Some major events in 2012 which should interest visitors:

“Beautiful Orchids”, January – March 2012, Loei province

“Festival of the Ban Chiang World Heritage Site”, February 10-12, 2012, Udon Thani province

“Wedding on Elephant Back”, February 14, 2012, Surin province

“Miracle Phanom Rung” April 3-6, 2012 in Buri Ram province

“Visakha Bucha”, May 5 – June 10, 2012, Nakhon Ratchasima province

“Rocket Festival in Yasothon” May 2012, in Yasothon province

“Phi Ta Khon Festival” June – July 2012 in Loei province

Posted in: I-san