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Isan (or Issaan) is the region of Northeast Thailand. It was formerly a part of the Thai Lao kingdom of Lan Xang.

The ethnic, linguistic and cultural orientation of this region is Lao (Thai Lao) but its political incorporation into the modern Thai state has been largely successful. The cuisine of this region is popular all over Thailand, its music known as Lam or Mo Lam and is also very popular.

Due to poor soil and environmental conditions on the Khorat Plateau, agricultural output in this region trails that of Central Thailand. Isan is the poorest region of Thailand.


The name Isan dates back to the Mon-Khmer Isana kingdom, which ruled the area before until the 1st century. It was succeeded by the Funan (1st till 6th century) and Champa, until it became part of the Khmer empire of Angkor.

After the Khmer were overruled by the Thai in the 12th century, the Isan was part of the Laotian kingdom Lan Xang. After the fall of Lan Xang in the 19th century it became part of Thailand.

External links

Isan: The People and Region of Northeast Thailand