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Buddha Statue
History | Population| Geography | Economy

Archeological study of pre-historic society and culture in the Northeast suggests that communitites who depended on rice farming, animal raising andpottery making for their subsistence, lived and travelled in this province 2,500 to 5,000 years ago. The discovery of bronze and rice tools in Khon Kaen and other parts of the northeast, is important evidence to support the theory that communities were well established here before contact with outside civilizations such as the Chinese and Indian. The discovery of dinosaur remains in 1983 at Amphur Phu Wiang was another exciting development that confirms this provinces's importance in the archeological study of Issans ancient heritage.

At the beginning of the Buddhist Era, there were agricultural settlements scattered throughout the region. Evidence of many of there communities remains today e.g. at Ban None Chai, at the moat in Ban Sithan - both villages are in Amphur Muang. The social beliefs and organisation of these communities came under many influences throughout the following centuries, particularly Indian Buddhist andBrahminist civilizations and that of the Chen-La State and Lan Chang Kingdoms.

Buddhism and Dhavaravadi culture spread to Issan from the 5th Century A.D., and was particularly pervasive among the Chi River communities as evidenced by boundary markers, Buddha images and sanctuaries. While it is not established if this area came under political control of the Khmer, their cultural and religious influence is evident in stone castle and temple ruins found in the province dating from 10th to 13th Centuries. From the 14th century onwards religious art tells us that the Lan Xang culture prevailed. This tradition was strenghtened during 18th and 19th century migrations of Lao Wieng people into Issan, when they helped form new towns such as Maha Sarakham, Kalasin, Chaiyaphum and Khon Kaen. Both the Siamese kingdom at Ayutthya and the Lao from Vientianne showed interest in the Khorat Plateau and tried to control the previously autonomous towns.

In 1783 Rajakruluang brought 330 people to settle at Ban Bung Bornnear Amphur Ban Phai now in Khon Kaen province. King Rama I, working to strengthenthe tenuous relationship between Issann and Bangkok bestowed the title of Nuang Kham Kaenon the town and Rajkruluang became the first governor. Between 1797 and 1879 the city moved six times before settling at Nuang Kaw on the west side of Bung Kaen Nakorn.

Marshal Sarit Thanarat is honoured for his work in establishing Khon Kaen as the administrative centre of the Northeast in the early part of this century. Most significantly he recommended the establishment of a university for theNortheast based in Khon Kaen, which has given great impetus to the education and development of this thriving commercial centre, the capital of a large and fairly arid province rich in cultural heritage.

The majority of the population of Khon kaen Province belong to the Phaw Thai (Issan Thai) ethnic group (subgroup Laos-Wieng) who migrated from Laos. Farming is their major occupation. The provincial population was 1,756,719 in 2009, most of whom live in one of the 1,732 villages. There are 12 rural centres and 8 resonably large urban locations.

In the city (population estimated at 147,579) people of Chinese-Thai origin dominate commerce and industry, with many people from other provinces attracted to work in the Public Service sector or at Khon Kaen University. Khon Kaen has the highest population growth of the Northeastern region.

The high level of literacy in the province (some 87% had completed complusory primary education in 1980) can be attributed to a well-developed network of educational institutions, with many institiutes of higher education available.

Thailand Population as of 2009 - 67,764,000
Out of 76 Provinces these have over 1 million people

Bangkok
Nakhon Ratchasima
Ubon Ratchathani
Khon Kaen
Chiang Mai
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Buri Ram
Udon Thani
Sakon Nakhon
5,712,213
2,566,665
1,796,001
1,756,719
1,661,643
1,514,197
1,542,842
1,534,008
1,115,539
Si Sa Ket
Surin
Roi-et
Nakhon Sawan
Chiang Rai
Songkhla
Chaiyaphum
Nonthaburi
Chon Buri
1,442,241
1,375,998
1,306,967
1,074,117
1,228,578
1,330,935
1,122,635
1,055,199
1,267,765

The province covers an area of 13,404 sq kms of the Khorat or northeastern plateau, situated in upper Issan and surrounded by seven provinces. Bordered by mountain ranges in the west, the topography is mostly flat with some undulating land and gently sloping areas drained by the Chi River basin. The Chi River, which rises in Chaiyaphum, and the Nam Pong River which rises in Loei, both pass through Khon Kaen province and join downstream in Maha Sarakham, Eventually flowinginto the Mun and Mekong Rivers.

The rainfall pattern of the province is largely dominated by the southwest monsoons and tropical cyclones originating in the South China Seas from May to October. Light rains brought by Bengal cyclones from the Andaman Seas may occur from February to April. The cold dry northeast monsoon brings a distinct cool and dry season from November to mid-February. Average rainfall is about 1300 mm/year.

Natural resources in Khon Kaen are plentiful, though most have not been economically developed. They include natural gas, petroleum, copper, phosphates, rock salt, and uranium. The forest area is said to be 23.7%, mostly located in the northwest corner. The ecological problems of deforestation are being recognised and many forest preservation projects are in progress.

Agricultural development is restricted by the inferior soils, high salinization, small landholdings, uneven and insufficient rainfall and inadequate waterr esources for irrigation. A typical integrated farm would consist of paddy rice, upland crops (such as cassava, kenaf, mung beans), and livestock, including poultry. The largest growth area in agriculture is livestock production, but silk worm rearing and fishing are developing activities.

Manufacturing and industry are attracted to Khon Kaen because of the advantages of the transportation network. Khon Kaen is one of four cities selectedd for accelerated growth, and with infrastructure improvements such as the planned upgrading of Nam Pong Airport, a new highway to the Eastern Seaboard and use of container transport, Khon Kaen's potential as an export centre for Indo-China increases. Currently fishnet factories, a liquor distillery, sugar and pulp and paper mills form the major industries located in Khon Kaen province.


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