Land and Nature
Location at the northernmost tip of the northeastern region of
Thailand, Loei possesses different geographical features from those
of other northeastern provinces. Up to two-thirds of its area is
occupied by mountains covered with manifold forests, while its
districts Amphoe are located on narrow agricultural valleys. A sea
of mountains encircles Loei on all but one side.
A sea of mountains encircles Loei on almost all sides. The Western
Phetchabun range separates Loei from Phitsanulok and Phetchabun,
from the west districts of Na Haeo and Dan Sai to the southern
districts of Phu Luang and Phu Kradueng. Well-known peak on this
range are Phu Luang, the first two of which have been designated
national parks, while the latter is a wildlife sanctuary. The Loei
River and The Man River, are the major sources of water supply of
the provinces of water supply of the province, originate from the
The Eastern Phetchabun range extends separating Amphoe Pha Khao,
King Amphoe Erawan, Amphoe Pak Chom from the provinces of Nong Bua
Lam Phu, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai. The Mekong and Hueang rivers
separate northern Loei from Laos.
Loei is famed for not only its expansive sea of mountains but also
it’s the coldest spot in Thailand. The northeastern monsoon, which
blows chilliness from Chaina blows Chilliness from Chaina derectly
onto the province through the open space in the north, creates the
phenomenon locally called Mae-Kaning, or frozen dew. Frost can often
be seen, especially in Phu Rues, which once made the coldest record
of -0.3 degrees Celsius in January 1974.
Turning Points in History
9000 year ago in this Paleoluthic age, wandering people survived
by gathering food and hunting. Pebbles tools and terra cotta pottery
were produced during this period can be found in Chiang Khan along
the Maekong bank.
5000 year ago This Neolithic period coincided with the world
famous Ban Chiang archeological site in present-day Udon Thani.
Things made of polished stone, especially axes and bracelets, are
scattered in almost 100 sites in Tha Li, Pak Chom and Chiang Khan in
the north and in the plains on the central and southern parts of the
districts of Muang Loei and Wang Saphung
4000-2000 year ago Evidences found from this Broze Age lead to
the assumption that iron and copper were mined in the districts of
Pak Chom and Muang Loei.
7-11 centuries A Bai Sema a sacred boundary stone of a
Buddhist temple from the Thawa-rawadi period was found at Wang
15th century People settled down in 3 sites in present-day Loei;
I.e. in Ban Se Lai in the central plain, Chiang Khan in the north by
the Mekong bank, and Dan Sai in the west. These 3 towns and environs
were under the rule of Lan Xang Kingdom in present-day Laos.
Somdet Phra Maha Chakkaphat, King of Ayutthaya, and Phrachao
Chaiyachetthathirat, King of Si Sattanakhanahut or Lan Xang kingdom,
joined hands to build Phra That Si Song Rak at Dan Sai. Literally
meaning “Sublime Love of Two”, the3 Phra That
(a pagoda with the Buddha’s inside)
was the symbol of a friendly relationship between Ayutthaya and Lan
Xang kingdoms at the time of Myanmar’s encroachment into the Chao
Phraya and Mekong Rivers.
Turmoil in Lan Xang broke the kingdom into two parts, centered in
Luang Prabang in the north and Vientiane in the south. Chiang Khan,
located in the left bank of the Mekong River, then became Luang
Prabang’s frontline state vis-a vis Vientiane
Lan Xang, including Chiang Khan, became tributary states of Thon
Buri, the capital of Thailand at that time
Loei was given town status
(called Muang Loei Thai),
under Monthon Udon or regional administrative region),
King Rama IV graciously appointed Tao Kamsaen to be the first
governor of Loei with the title of Luang Si Songkhram.
In the reign of King Rama V, the dispute between Thailand and France
resulted in Thailand’s relinquishing its political rights over the
left bank of the Mekong River to France. People in Chiang Khan
migrated from Chiang Khan in Laos to Loei, and called their newly
established town by the old name.
1933 Loei was upgraded to provincail status.
1961 Highway 201 ran from Khon Kaen to Loei, thus serving as the
linkage to this province and enticing many people to migrate to Loi.
1992 Loei was developed into a center for tourism in the Mekong
Indigenous people in Loei call themselves Thai Loei and call others
in the northeastern region Thai Tai, meaning Thais living in the
South and call people in Bangkok Thai Krung Thep. They have fair
complexion like peoples in the north of Thailand. Old women often
have long hair to make a topknot at the back of their heads. Their
unique dialect, called Thai Loei language, resembles those spoken in
Amphoe Lom Sak Phetchabun; Amphoe Nam Pat, Uttaradit; and Chai Buri
and Luang Prabang in present-day Laos. It is thus assumed that Loei
people had close relations with those in Luang Prabang, while had
closer relations with Vientiance, is that the carnival-like festival
in Dan Sai, call Phi Ta Khon, resembles Puyoe Yayoe festival in
Muang Kaen Tao, a town near Luang Prabang.
This group of people migrated from Laos in 1874 to settle down in
various areas, including the present-day provinces of Phetcahburi,
Ratchaburi, Saraburi and Nakhon Sawan. The Thai Dam community in
Loei can be found in Ban Na Panat in Chiang Khan.
At present most Thai Dam in Ban Na Panat have abandoned their belief
in spirits and converted to Buddhism. These people, particularly the
old-aged, still communicate in their own language, and keep close
contact with their compatriots in Phetchaburi.
Thai Phuan people live in Ban Buhom and Ban Klang in Chiang Khan. It
was recorded that they migrated from villages near Luang Prabang to
settle down in Ban Buhom. After Ban Buhaom becamedd too crowded,
some moved to settle down in Ban Klang.
Thai Phuan people, especially those in Ban Klang, still hold strong
beliefs in Nang Thiam, or a medium, who uses her extrasensory powers
to cure illness and to provide morale support to those in distress.