Located in the heart of northeast region of Thailand (Isaan), Khon Kaen community was experiencing one of the fastest growth rates in Thailand until the baht was devalued in 1997. In the last several years, construction has restarted within the city, including the widening of Mitaprahp Road on the West side of Khon Kaen (Highway 2 Bangkok-Nong Khai). The present population of the city is around 150,000. The government had endorsed Khon Kaen as the export center for trade into the Indo-China Region, but politics may play a role in preventing this
If you want to go to a place where you can experience some of the local people, customs, and traditions, Isaan is the place to be. The real Thailand is outside the popular tourist destinations. Northeast Thailand is often neglected by tourists so what better reason do you need to come. It is also a good starting point for excursions into Laos and border visits to Cambodia.
It is quite easy by bus, air, train, or car. Thai Air has 4 to 5 flights daily to and from Bangkok. If you have the time to take the train, some of the sights will be quite spectacular and some quite monotonous, but you will be traveling with the local population. The bus is more convenient for the shorter trips, while it is much cheaper it sometimes appears the driver has no concern for anyone's safety (including their own).
The Northeast cuisines are Isaan sausage, kai yang (grilled chicken), som tam (hot + spicy papaya salad), and mu phaeng (marinated grilled pork). In Khon Kaen it's refreshing to get outside of Bangkok's stagnate air and high prices. Prices in the Northeast are considerably cheaper for everything from hotels to food.