The East - Surin, Si Saket & Ubon Ratchanthani

The area of present-day Surin has a long history of human settlement, which dates back to prehistoric times. Historically the region has been ruled by various powerful kingdoms including the Angkorian Khmer Empire, the Lao Kingdom Lan Xang, and the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Surin is an ethnically diverse province and the primary language is the Issan dialect of Lao, though Khmer is also widely spoken. The northeastern provinces have traditionally been isolated, both physically and culturally, from the rest of Thailand, and Surin is no exception. The vast majority of the province is rural and relatively poor, and today, tourism is important to the economy. Wildlife and beautiful scenery are increasingly seen as potentially lucrative, making Surin a more and more popular destination for international ecotourism. Within Thailand, Surin has a reputation for its fine silk and silver beaded ornaments.

Si Saket province borders both the Oddar Meancheay and Preah Vihear provinces of Cambodia to the south, and it is not surprising that many temples dating back to the Khmer Empire can be found in the area. The Dangrek mountain range, which also marks the border between Thailand and Cambodia, offers great hiking and wonderful views over the plains of Si Saket.

Ubon Ratchathani borders both Laos and Cambodia and is a major transit point between the countries. The area where the three countries meet is also known as the 'Emerald Triangle' due to the largely intact monsoon forests there. The main draw for tourists to the province are its many temples, historical sites and national parks.

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