Isan also written as Isaan, Isarn, Issan, or Esarn; from Pali īsān or Sanskrit īśān "Northeast" is the northeastern region of Thailand. It is located on the Khorat Plateau, bordered by the Mekong River (along the border with Laos) to the north and east, by Cambodia to the southeast and the Prachinburi mountains south of Nakhon Ratchasima. To the west it is separated from Northern and Central Thailand by the Phetchabun mountain range.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, northeastern Thailand has been generally known as Isan, a term adopted from Sanskrit Ishan, meaning in a “north east direction”, while in official contexts the term phak tawan-ok-chiang-nuea (ภาคตะวันออกเฉียงเหนือ; "Northeastern region") may be used. The term "Isan" was derived from Isanapura, the capital of the Chenla kingdom. The Lao-speaking population of the region, who comprise the majority, distinguish themselves not only from the Lao of Laos but also from the central Thai by calling themselves Khon Isan or Thai Isan. The Khmer-speaking minority and Kuy (Suai), who live in the south of Isan, speak dialects and follow customs more similar to those of Cambodia than either the Thai people or the Lao people
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