One of the least visited areas of Thailand is the North-East, or Isaan as it is referred to by the Thai people. This is a shame as it has a lot to offer such as its art and culture, ancient traditions, local cuisine, indigenous crafts, folk music, song and dance, and traditional festivals. In order to address this problem, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have decided to shift their focus to Isaan this year.
To kick off the year long promotion, the TAT are holding the “Amazing I-San Fair 2011” from 27th-30th January 2011, at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok. There will be cultural presentations, folk performances and demonstrations of art and craft such as silk weaving and pottery making. In addition, in the exhibition zone, there will be a full range of products and services which include package tours, discounted accommodation and airline flights.
The Fair is divided into 4 main zones — an exhibition zone, seven Amazing I-san zones, a live demonstration zone, and a dedicated area for cultural performances. Each of the seven Amazing I-san zones will highlight a different theme namely- 1) Charm of the Mekong River 2) Destination of Natural Ozone 3) The Guiding Light of Buddhism 4) South I-san Civilization 5) Magnificent World Heritage and Ancient Civilizations 6) Impressive Dinosaur Skeletons and Footprints 7) I-san Boutique (trendy and chill out).
The fair is open from this Thursday until Sunday. It is free to enter between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The Queen Sirikit National Convention Center is conveniently located next to the MRT subway station of the same name. Free parking is available but is not always convenient on busy days. I will be going early on Sunday morning when it will be easier to find somewhere to park. Even if you are not planning on going somewhere in Isaan this year, it is worth going to take a look at the cultural shows.