Photo: Welcome to Northeast Thailand.

Two weeks in Northeast Thailand

Thais are often surprised when foreigners voice their like of the northeast -- predominantly flat and dusty, with rather less-than-charming prefab and featureless towns, this isn't a region that leaps out at the visitor. But take a closer look and you may find just what you're looking for. National parks, ancient Khmer ruins, lovely Mekong river vistas and the wonderful Isaan food -- we hope you like it spicey!

Itinerary map


Not everyone has the luxury of a month to explore northeast Thailand, so here's a short trip you could cover in as little as a few days. You'll get to see national parks, Khmer ruins and finish off with some sleepy Mekong River scenery.

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Pay attention to the weather! There's few things as miserable as two weeks awash in jungle floods. More climate information can be found here: Travelfish interactive weather map.

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Suggest trip length

The suggested minimum time for a trip like this is two weeks, though three to four weeks is far more comfortable.

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Sample plan

1) Bangkok -> Ayutthaya (historic centre, ruins)
2) Ayutthaya -> Khorat and do a side trip to Phanom Rung ruins
3) Khorat -> Phimai (Khmer ruins)
4) Phimai -> Udon Thani (singing orchids, museum)
5) Udon Thani -> Nong Khai (top spot, temple, river scenery)

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Save some time

One day: skip Udon Thani

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Take a side trip

Two days: From Nong Khai strike west to Sangkhom.
Three days: From Khorat, head east to Buriram and Si Saket to see more ruins.

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Combine trip plans

If you want to see the north of Thailand as well, combine this with the Thailand: Northern Explorer, joining it at Phitsanulok. For an island combination, take a look at Jungles and Islands.

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Sample Trip Times (in hours)

To help you work out how you'll get around, we've listed the trip durations for the various forms of transport available. Note that with the exception of flight times, these are average trip times, so no hate mail if you take the slow train.

THAILAND: Isaan taster - just a sample of the northeast of Thailand
Bangkok Ayutthaya - 1:30 1:45 -
Ayutthaya Khorat - 3:00 3:00 -
Khorat Phimai - 1:30 - -
Phimai Udon Thani - 3:00 - -
Udon Thani Nong Khai - 1:00 1:00 -
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More itineraries

Where to go, how long to stay there, where to go next, east or west, north or south? How long have you got? How long do you need? Itinerary planning can be almost as maddening as it is fun and here are some outlines to help you get started. Remember, don't over plan!


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The region

This is where itinerary planning really becomes fun. Be sure to check up on our visa, border crossing and visa sections to make sure you're not trying to do the impossible. Also, remember you're planning a holiday -- not a military expedition.