First of all, this Isaan trip wasn’t planned but it was indeed expected. This trip was more like “Let’s go! Let’s do it!” Annually, my family ALWAYS takes a trip to somewhere on the New Year’s week.
We have done a trip abroad, a trip to our grandma’s, TRIPS to Chiang Mai (countless times), a trip to the waterfall, a trip to the beach but we never had a trip to the Southern nor the Northeast regions of Thailand before. We have visited literally EVERY FAMOUS or TOURISTY places in the Northern region countless times. (It’s because we also live in the Northern region and they are the nearest and most beautiful places to chill out, take some rest and be totally free from the reality. If you have been in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang or Tak, you would know exactly what I’m saying.) It’s our family’s tradition to take some time off from the reality (leaving the house and away from work) during the New Year’s week. For this year, everything was perfect. The trip was wonderfully magical. It was a perfect timing vacation for everyone and everything. In Thailand, during this time of the year is the busiest, the most stressful and horribly exhausting for all 12th-graders. They have to study and be absolutely ready for up-coming examinations for entering their dream university and during the New Year is when they, including my lil sis, are waiting for the result. Luckily, she got the result a few days before our Isaan trip. She got accepted from one of the best medical schools in Thailand. I was utterly exhilarated, excited. Her hard work is finally paid off. I know exactly how hard all the 12th-graders have to study to get their dream faculty and university. It is highly competitive here in Thailand. I still remember how I happily screamed and cried in tears when I got accepted from the international journalism school. Oh, boy, it was a hard time for me.
Well, let’s get back to Isaan trip. So, it started with us having dinner and talking as usual. We always spend an hour eating and HOURS talking. Talking about anything. About everything. And the New Year’s trip was included. In the first place, we planned to go to the Southern provinces but all the hotels were fully booked. We didn’t make it in time. So, we were all basically just throwing places we want to go around and we ended up with visiting our grandma and then going to the China town in Bangkok to just have a great dinner, chill out, walk around, getting a wonderful simple vibe. THEN, my mom said we’ve never had a trip to the Northeast before, why not going there. Then, mom’s crisis of having four kids instantly kicked in right after she gave a wonderful idea. We four kids literally shot questions back at her. Where will we be staying? Which province? Where will we visit? What’s there to see? When? How many days? What will we do each day? Believe me, it was the longest dinner talk ever. The answers we received was that she has a great friend living in the Northeast which I have met her once and that we will be there for 2 days on the 6th and 7th. But, my dad still wanted to visit his mom and so do we, so we ended up going to visit our grandma on the 4th then leave to the Northeast on the 5th and back home on the 7th.
First day of the trip, we landed safely early in the morning at the Roi Et airport then we met my mom’s friend right in front of the airport. She was waiting for us with the kindest, sweetest, widest smile that I can honestly say it is sincerely and truly from her heart. She then gave my dad her car’s key and said to him, “You drive and you all can have my car for all the time you are here.” At that moment, my mouth was already wide opened and amazed with how compassion, kindhearted and sweet she is. She calls my mom as her own sister. She always says they aren’t friends, they are sisters.
We then headed to the downtown of Roi Et for breakfast. We feasted on huge bowls of rice porridge and each of us also had a cup of coffee and Thai tea. Then we headed to mom’s friend’s hometown, Yasothon province. It was a long drive and a lot of talking. The car was full of laughs and countless invaluable conversations.
The day went beautifully. The sun was shining. The weather was wonderful. We started the journey with visiting mom’s friend’s house, meeting her family. They are all utterly sweet and kind. They were wonderful people. Then we headed to the temple in Yasothon meeting a friend of my mom who is a monk there. We talked a bit, prayed and then left to another province, Mukdahan, to have a lunch. I feasted on papaya salad with heaps of peanuts and eggplants (Som Tum) and sticky rice, a very well-known local dish of Northeastern region of Thailand. And YES it was VEGAN so there were no dried shrimps and used soy sauce instead of fish sauce.
The restaurant was right next to the vast crystal blue Mekhong River and offers us a little house built with woods and rice straw as the roof to relax and enjoy their food. After feasting on the spicy and sour Som Tum, we cool ourselves down from the heat of chilies with ice-cream. I had a vegan coconut ice-cream. It was LIFE. Oh boy, was I happy.
Then we headed to Wat Phra That Phanom in the southern of Nakhon Phanom province. The temple was truly heavenly gorgeous. The sun was dancing. The temple was shining gloriously. The temple was breathtakingly beautiful. We prayed, admired the beauty of the temple, took lots of pictures, walked around, then just simply talked and talked.
Then we headed to the Yam bean farm. Mom’s friend knows the farm’s owner so she asked him to let us venture in his farm. He was very kind. He gave us tons of Yam beans and let us eat them freshly picked right off his farm.
The yam bean literally exploded in my mouth. It was virtually an explosion of a fresh and sweet juice.
We then headed back to the hotel in Yasothon province and we were all just exhausted and ready to be in bed. But it was just perfectly wonderfully exactly how we wanted to be exhausted. Man was I extremely HAPPY. It was just a genuinely lovely day.
Stay tune for the second day 😉