Isan, is the poorest but largest part of Thailand. It is located in the Northeastern part of Thailand and is very rarely visited by tourists because it is rural and poverty stricken, however I found the nicest people ever.
I boarded the train headed to the north east and quickly realized that I was in the car with a ton of kids. Now most people would think this would be a nightmare but I actually found it very entertaining. I was sat across from this adorable little boy and his mother who looked to be about 16, so I would guess she was probably at least 26.
The little boy made me laugh the whole 7 hour train ride and his mother had a great sense of humor. At one point the mother fell asleep and the little boy started eating the whole bag of snacks that the mother had brought. He couldn’t open his bag of pocky(yes the Japanese snack) so I opened it for him. The next thing I know the little kid hits his mother in the face with a piece of the pocky and gets a big line of melted chocolate on her. Most american mothers would freak out but she just started laughing, wiped it off and went back to sleep. The mother also made sure that I knew where to get off of the train, even in her sleep she woke up to tell me to get off and say goodbye.
Next I got onto a bus to go to Phi Mai, which is a tiny little town that is only on the map because it has ruins date back to before the building of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, which was modeled off of Phi Mai.
While on the bus the grandmother next to me took a little girl and let her sleep on her lap so that she didn’t have to stand. When the grandmother got off the bus she moved the little girl and leaned her onto my shoulder. This trust of a foreigner surprised me greatly.
I got to Phi Mai and wandered around for a big looking for a place to sleep. I knew that there were a few guesthouses in the area and that I would eventually find one that was clean and cheap. I quickly found one and agreed upon a price with the guesthouse owner. I then went out to a local bar to get some food and dinner. While I was sitting there a French women came up and asked if I was alone. When I said yes, she asked if I would like to join her and her boyfriend for a drink. I spent 3 hours drinking and hanging out with these lovely people. They were great fun to talk to and spoke great English.
The next morning I awoke early and went to go see the Khmer ruins in Phi Mai. These ruins were well worth the 7 hour train ride up and 6 hour bus ride back home. The grounds were large, and no where was off limits. Since I got there at like 8 am I was free to explore by myself for my first hour or so before loads of tour groups started showing up.
Next I started walking out of town to go visit the Bayon tree that is out of town. The tree is about a 20 minute walk out of town but about 5 mintues into my walk a mother and her son came by on their motorbike, they offered me a ride down to the tree. When I got to the Bayon tree I was very shocked at its size. It is said to be the largest Bayon tree in the world and I believe this, it was like a mini forest of roots and off shoots.