Although geographically located in the northeast or I-San, Loei has many things in common with the northern region — namely its numerous high hills and mountains and its wintry as well as foggy climate.
Literally speaking, the province deserves its name “Loei” which means ‘beyond’ or ‘to the furthest extreme’ as Loei lies in the northernmost part of the Northeastern region. Most notable is that Loei is the only province in Thailand where the temperature can drop to as low as zero Celsius in winter while it can become hotter than any province during summer. In short, Loei‘s geography and climate is unique when compared to other I-San provinces.
Situated along the Phetchabun Mountain Range, Loei, a province that rises approximately 400 meters above sea level, is dubbed “the land of seas of mountains, the coolest in Siam”. Covering an area of 11,424 square kilometers (equivalent to 7.14 million rai of land), Loei Province, which is 520 kilometers from Bangkok shares a border with Laos to the north with the Khong and Heung Rivers forming the natural border, with Khon Kaen and Phetchabun Provinces to the south, with Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Nong Khai and Khon Kaen Provinces to the east, and with Phitsanulok Province to the west.
The province can be divided into three main areas: the high mountains in the west, the plains at the foot of the hills in the south and the east, and the lowlands in the basins of the Khong and the Loei Rivers.
Loei Province has an abundance of precious resources such as forests and natural resources. Of equal importance, however, is its unusual mix of northern and northeastern culture which is treasured by both locals and visitors. This remarkable cultural blend has produced more than one local dialect but only one local identity.
Attractions within the province that should be explored include Phu Kradung, Phu Luang and Phu Reua National parks, as well as Tha Li and Chiang Khan Districts. Administratively, Loei is divided into 12 districts (Amphoes) : Mueang, Wang Saphung, Phu Kradueng, Chiang Khan, Pak Chom, Tha Li, Phu Ruea, Dan Sai, Na Haeo, Na Duang, Phu Luang, Pha Khao, Erawan and Nong Hin.
History of Loei
Loei is a place where visitors can track down pre-historic remnants such as cave paintings depicting people, human hands, animals and various symbols. Eleven such caves have been discovered; two in Mueang District and the other nine in Phu Kradung District.
Fortunately, the province’s isolation has helped in retaining local traditions, while delaying and buffering against the intrusion of external changes. The provincial seal depicts the stupa at Phra That Sri Songrak, which was built in 1560 by King Chai Chetha of Sri Sattana Kanahut and King Maha Chakrapat of Ayuthaya as a memorial of the demarcation of the border between the two towns. The two kings ratified their common border at the site where the Oo Stream meets the Mun Stream (currently Dan Sai District).
Loei is a gateway to the exploration of both natural and cultural attractions. In addition, there are many traditions and festivals that are well known among tourists such as the Phi Ta Khon Procession, the Loei Cotton and Tamarind Fair and Homage to Phra That Sri Songrak Festival.
Due to its geographical diversity and soil composition, agriculture is the basis for the province’s economy. While the highlands in Loei are favorable to warm-temperature crops such as highland rice, macadamia nuts, passion fruit, and Arabica coffee, the plains at the foot of the hills are suitable for tropical crops like soybean, bananas, maize, sesame, rubber, grapes, and longan. On the other hand, other lowland areas are good for rice, cotton, mangoes, tamarind and flowers like roses, jasmine and Thai Gerbera. However, the main agricultural products are tamarind, rubber, mangoes, longan, bananas and lychees.