Bueng Kan is the name of a city and its district in the very northeastern corner of Thailand. This district is the newest one in Thailand, made in 2011. One can get to the city of Bueng Kan by driving northeast from Nakhon Phanom (187 kilometers for so) or east from Nong Khai. Bueng Kan is quite near the Mekong River, but the city is not as scenic as Nakhon Phanom because the river is not wide and the area is relatively flat. That said, Bueng Kan is developed, friendly, and has modern facilities. Bueng Kan is surprisingly developed. It has a Makro and modern accommodations ("The One" hotel is very decent and comfortable). But keep in mind that Bueng Kan is truly at the end of the road. One notices a sizeable Vietnamese population, and that is good for development. I spoke to some Americans who have been in Isaan since 1970. They told me that this area was extremely primitive at the end of the Vietnam War. Today it is modern. In fact, it is quite nice. This area does not see much tourism--another reason to go live there. Another amazing place hidden away in Isaan is Wat Kham Chanot. It is an important site in the northeastern corner subdistrict of Udon Thani Province (this is called Ban Dung Subdistrict). This site is sacred for respecting the Naga, a mythological serpent. The Naga is not a topic for light discussion in Isaan, or in the rest of Thailand, for that matter. For many people, the Naga is central to their lives and thinking. It is believed that the Naga lives near Wat Kham Chanot. Here is the Wikipedia entry for Wat Kham Chanot: (Thai: วัดคำชะโนด) is a buddhist temple near Ban Kham Chanot, Amphoe Ban Dung, Udon Thani Province in Northeastern Thailand. It is located in the Wang Nakhin area at a lake where the Nāga, a mythical large snake, is supposed to be living. How in the world did I ever find out about this, you may ask? After one lives in Thailand for a while, the way of things starts to creep into one's mind. The reality or presence behind what is not said starts to precipitate and leak into one's consciousness (or maybe it was the heat). I noticed representations of the Naga in many places, but no one talked about it. It dawned on me that the Naga would have a temple somewhere. One day I inquired of my better half: is there a temple for respecting the Naga? Somewhat surprised, I got a real answer: "Oh... yes there is." I didn't hesitate, "let's go." It was a strong experience that started with driving for a long time on empty little roads that seemed to lead to absolute nowhere, but suddenly arriving and seeing thousands of people. The forest surrounding the temple area has been preserved; one walks through the quiet of the forest to get to the temple complex. The beauty of the forest and the solitude of the area are very striking. I saw several thousand folks and no other farang. I paid my respects to the Naga and felt that I had experienced something deep and central to Thai life. Of all the things I have learned about Thai life over the years, this one stands out.