I am off to Thailand and Laos this August and plan to spend a week or so in Isaan in northeast Thailand. Having never been north of Ayutthaya, this part of the country is all new to me. I plan to hit Udon Thani, Khon Kaen and Nong Khai (on the way to Laos).
Ban Chiang in Udon Thani province has an archaeology site that contains remains of prehistoric Thai life. UNESCO has designated it as a world heritage site and the great Robert Higham has written of it as well. Two big thumbs up in my book!
Many of the museum exhibits are of pottery from the region, but it also has skeletal remains of people from the region. My own interest was of the advent of the bronze age which catapulted the region into a more complex and connected society as they began to travel and build more tools.
As I understand it, this is also the point when the Indians and Chinese began travelling into the area for economic reasons. If you look at contemporary Thai culture, one can see a strong Indian influence ( Thai script and curry, Buddhism) as well as a Chinese influence mixed and shaping early Siamese society.
On a lighter note, I want to find some great restaurants and bars for my evening plans. I stumbled across a great site named Beyond the Mango Juice published by an Englishman who has spent a lot of time in Udon Thani and has done us travellers a great service in providing info on life in Udon Thani.
This wonderful site turned me onto Kao Soi, noodle dish from Chiang Mai. A dish with curry, noodles and a variety of meat sounds awesome and is now on my To Eat list. Although from Chian Mai, this noodle dish can also be found in Udon Thani at a popular restaurant named Khao Soi Tai.
I’ll leave you with a mouth-watering photo of this enticing dish.