Khon Kaen is located in the heart of the Thai region of Isan, where according to many the best Thai food is prepared. Besides the Khon Kaen Museum, there are few places of interest in the city itself, but it's a good operating base for trips through Isan. The legacy of the Khmer (Cambodians) is still clearly visible in the form of temples from the time the area was part of the Khmer Empire.
In recent years the city has grown significantly and now has about 150,000 inhabitants.
Khon Kaen is located in the northeast of Thailand, on the Khorat Plateau. It's the heart of the Isan Region which in the north and east borders with Laos and in the south with Cambodia.
Khon Kaen is a regional center for education (there are two universities in the city), (financial) services and transportation. The regional government provides employment, just like the trade of silk and agricultural produce from the surroundings. Khon Kaen offers little for tourists, but the Isan Region all the more; because of its central location many tourists use Khon Kaen as an operating base.
Khon Kaen Airport is situated 8 kilometers west of the center, in Khon Kaen's suburbs. It's easily reachable by rental car via Maliwan Road (road number 12).
Songthaews (covered pick-ups with benches on both sides) run set routes through Khon Kaen. There are no stops: you raise your hand to stop them and you can get off anywhere you want. There's a set rate per ride. This isn't the case with tuk-tuks (motorbikes with a sort of coach behind it). Before getting in you need to agree on a price with the driver.
From the central bus station buses leave for other places in Isan (including Ubon, Udon Thani and Nong Khai), but also to destinations further out like Chiang Mai and Bangkok, and even Vientiane, Laos' capital.
Khon Kaen lies at the junction of two main roads with road numbers 12 and 2. The latter is the freeway from Bangkok to Nong Khai at the border with Laos. Through traffic is diverted via the city's beltway. The main road Klang Muang runs parallel to the freeway, while two other main streets run east-west: Srichan Road and Prachasamosorn Road. This clear street pattern allows you to easily find your way around Khon Kaen. Finding a free parking place is no problem.
Because Khon Kaen is a regional transportation center, many travelers stay at least one night. There's a large choice of accommodations ranging from accommodation for backpackers and basic guesthouses to some luxury hotels.
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