TIME magazine names Phuket and Isan among World’s Greatest Places

TIME, America’s iconic global newsmagazine, has named Phuket province and Isan region to its list of the World’s Greatest Places 2023, with relatively untraveled Isan celebrated for its rich culture, cuisine, temples, festivals and musical traditions.
“Those who venture to this off-the-beaten-path region of Thailand teeming with rice fields are rewarded with national parks and historic sites, and now: Michelin-recommended restaurants,” TIME wrote about Isan, which is the local name for the northeastern part of the Kingdom.
Encompassing more than a dozen provinces, Isan borders neighboring Lao PDR and Cambodia, and many facets of life in Isan blend influences from those lands with native Thai traditions. Overtime, Isan has increasingly achieved a chic-ness among younger urban trendsetters in Bangkok during the past two decades.
This has been in part due to the rising popularity of luk thung, or Thai country music, and morlam, a rural based spoken music that is similar in its own way to rap. Adding to that, a growing taste for Isan’s unique and fiery cuisine and the region has essentially achieved a rebranding.
Isan “has given us such classic dishes as som tum (green papaya salad) and larb (spicy ground meat salad), and its diaspora is spreading this sour, spicy, herbaceous cooking style far and wide. The cuisine is becoming so ubiquitous abroad, in fact, that an Isan restaurant in tiny Randolph, Vermont, called Saap, earned last year’s James Beard Award for best chef in the Northeast,” wrote TIME.
In addition, the region’s natural beauty is undeniable. “Last year marked the 60th Anniversary of Thailand’s first national park, Khao Yai, which sits largely in Isan’s Nakhon Ratchasima province and is home to elephants, gibbons, and Asian black bears,” added TIME.
The island of Phuket has long been the object of international acclaim because of its wealth of white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, lush tropical landscape and fabulous array of hotels and resorts.
TIME remarked that other facets of Phuket besides is coastal beaches are increasingly attracting tourists. “Although the island is best known for its eponymous city, Phuket is drawing more visitors to its uncrowded countryside with an impressive landscape of modern luxury lodges,” wrote TIME.
Photo courtesy of https://www.tatnews.org/2023/03/isan-and-phuket-named-in-times-greatest-places-of-2023/