The Town and Province of Loei
Loei is a town and a province capital in Thailand's northeast, the Isan. The province is bordering Laos along the Mekong River. While the town lies in a plain, two mountain chains, who are aligned roughly into a north-south direction, border the plain. Loei River is a tributary of the Mekong. Some of the forests here are deciduous.
The province is one of the least populated provinces in Thailand; the town itself is home to officially 21,000 inhabitants. It's not very big and one comes well along here by walking.
Loei's economy is largely based on agriculture. Even vinyards are established in some mountain slopes. In the last years parts of the land has been transfered into rubber plantations.
The place is off the beaten tracks. Loei is not on any route of larger places where travellers or tourists usually come along. There is also practically no tourism in town and province. However, there is a national airport in the province.
Loei is one of the places in Isan where dinosaur footprints have been found (east of Phu Luang mountain; for dinosaurs in Isan see also: 'Kalasin Dinosaur Museum' and 'The Shell Fossil Museum of Nong Bua Lamphu'). At this mountain also grow pine trees of the species pinus merkusii (see: Kirirom Mountain).
The town was founded in 1853 as an administrative center for the surroundings and it's growing population. The province was established in 1907. There didn't happen much history here; in the middle-ages, the area was for a time part of the Laotion kingdom of Lan Xang (the land of a million elephants).
Interestingly, Loei seems to be one of the coolest parts of Thailand. Some of the cold winter winds from China pass through Laos and blow into Loei Province, favoured by the topography of the valleys who run from north to south. All the mountains in Southeast Asia are offsprings of the large Himalaya Plateau. The deepest ever measured temperature in Thailand, minus 1.3 degree Celsius, happened in Loei.