The Wild Northeast
The Isaan/ Isan is the northeast region, with an area of about 160'000 km2 and a population of over 22 million the largest of the 5 regions of Thailand.
The Isaan lies on the Khorat plateau and is bordered in the north and east by the Mekong as a border river to Laos, in the south the Isaan borders on Cambodia. In the west, the Phetchabun Mountains, the Dong Phaya Yen Mountains and the Sankamphaeng chain separate Isaan from northern and central Thailand.
In the Isaan agriculture is predominant, because of the unfavourable circumstances (hot-dry summers, deforested rain forests) the yield lags behind that of other parts of the country. Isaan is considered to be the poorest region of Thailand, but it has grown strongly in recent years.
In the region Isaan is spoken mainly (about 16 million speakers), which can be called Lao dialect and partly differs strongly from the national language Thai. All people in Isaan also speak the national language Thai of course.
Most of the inhabitants are Lao (Isan), but the integration of Isaan into the modern Thai state was largely successful due to the common ethnic roots of Lao and Thai.
Typical representatives of the regional culture are "Mor Lam" music, Muay Thai boxing and sticky rice dishes (Khao Niaw) with chili, which are eaten with the fingers.
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