This map of is colour coded to display South, Central, North and Northeast Thailand. Below the map is an overview of each region.
The orange section is the Northeast, more commonly know as “Isaan” (sometimes spelt Isan or Esarn). This region is often referred to as “the real Thailand”, due to the fact that the people are extremely hospitable and the region houses the backbone of the rice production industry.
Archaeologically, the bones of the first people to grace the land spread now known as Thailand were found here over 4,000 years ago. The region is huge, taking up nearly half of Thailand’s land mass and housing a population of approximately 25 million. People to the north speak a mixture of Loas and Thai, known as Thai-Isaan, and in the South of Isaan (in Korat, for example) a a mixture of Khmer and Thai. Home to Great temples, great food, epic scenery and a cross section of culture, no part of Isaan fails to charm.
The yellow is the South of Thailand, which, in many parts, like the northeast, has its own dialect, not always understood by Thais in other areas of the country. Here you will find many a traveller heading to the fantastic beaches on one of the many islands such as Phuket, Samui, Koh Phangan, Krabi, etc. Don’t spend all your time sipping coconuts on Maya Bay though, you don’t want to miss the treats to be had in and around Surrathani mainland. Check out Khanon, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang.
In the pink section is the delightful North of Thailand, which is deep set in history of kingship , war and cross territory trade. The north is home to a diverse mix of blood, including Burmese, Yunnan, Thai, Laotian and numerous tribal peoples. Visit Chiang Mai for a great balance between city and rural life, and as a great alternative to Bangkok.
Check out Chiang Rai for peace and tranquility, and Pai for an extraordinary vibe quite unlike any other part of the country. If you have time, treat yourself to Ayutthaya, which holds the key to ancient Thailand, along with Sukhothai, of course, where King Ram Khamhaeng, the third king of the Phra Ruang dynasty, is said to have created the Thai alphabet.
Central Thailand is highlighted in green, and here you will find the city of Bangkok and the old city of Chonburi. Bangkok isn’t for the feint hearted, but a city that must be experienced for its anything goes atmosphere and delightful sights, markets and fusion of Thai culture. Just a 4-hour drive from BKK is the divine Kanchanaburi – where the Railway Man was filmed, or head 2 hours south for a quick beach break to the quaint town of Hua Hin.