Thailand Painting Holidays

paint on the banks of the Mekong River

A wonderful combination of painting tuition and Thai culture in a small guest house on the banks of the Mekong River at Phon Phisai in NE Thailand.  During the dry cool months of October to January each year the guesthouse provides a combination of painting tuition and Thai rural culture experience to 4 guests each week.

The visits are individually tailored to provide the level of tuition and Thai experience that each visitor seeks.  This website contains details of the tuition, experiences and facilities together with prices and booking facilities. 

 

Isaan

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The NE of Thailand is called Isaan (ee·săhn) in Thai, it translates phonetically into English so sometimes it Isan, or Issan, or Issaan.  It is the rural backwater of Thailand and only 1% of foreign travellers come here, but it's the authentic Thailand where you can experience the real culture of this magic country. 

Spend even just a little time in this colossal corner of the country and you'll discover as many differences as similarities to the rest of Thailand. The language, food and culture are more Lao than Thai, with hearty helpings of Khmer and Vietnamese thrown into the mix.

And spend time  here you should because it’s  home to some of Thailand’s best historic  sites, national  parks and festivals. Thailand’s tourist trail is at its bumpiest here (English is rarely spoken), but the fantastic attractions and daily interactions could end up being highlights of your trip 

History

The social history  of this enigmatic  region stretches back some 5600 years, to the hazy days of the Ban Chiang culture, which, by at least 2100 BC, had developed bronze tools to till fields. Though Ban Chiang was a very advanced society,  the Khorat  Plateau, over which  Isan  spreads, was a sparsely populated region for most of its history  due to poor soils and frequent droughts, and no major powers were ever based here – it was usually under the control of empires based around it.

The name  Isaan  comes from  Isanapura (now known as Sambor Prei Kuk), the 7th- century  capital   of  the  Chenla  kingdom, which at the time included what is now northeast  Thailand  and  is  now  the  general term used to classify the region (pâhk ee·săhn), people (kon ee·săhn) and food (ah·hăhn ee·săhn) of the northeast.

Evidence shows that  the Dvaravati held sway here and then the Khmers came in the 9th century and occupied it for some 500 years. After the Khmer empire waned, Isan was under the thumb of Lan Xang and Siam kings,  but  remained  largely  autonomous.

But as the French staked out the borders of colonial Laos, Thailand was forced to define its  own  northeastern  boundaries.  Slowly but surely, for better and worse, Isan fell under the mantle of broader Thailand.

Long Thailand’s poorest area, the north- east became a hotbed of communist activity. Ho Chi Minh spent some years proselytising in the area, and in the 1940s a number of Indochinese  Communist  Party  leaders fled here from Laos and helped bolster Thailand’s communists. From the 1960s until  an amnesty in 1982, guerrilla  activity  was rife across Isan.  But  the  various  insurgencies evaporated as the  Thai  government,  with considerable help (and most of the money) from  the US, began to take an interest  in developing the region, resulting in an improved economy and increased opportunity. Despite rapid improvement  since then, the per capita income here remains only one- third  the national average. 

The full description of Isaan is available from the Lonely Planet website and I strongly recommend getting copies of their wonderful travel guides for your holiday at Thailand Painting Holidays