The highlands of religion, philosophy, folk wisdom and tradition of Loei province in Northeastern Thailand is set to welcome some 300 cyclists from Thailand and around the world during the “Tour of I-san Loei Classic” on 7 June, 2015.
Organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in cooperation with the Loei Provincial Administration, Life and Living Bikenet, and Nok Air, the event is aimed at promoting green tourism in the northeastern region, or I-san, under the Tour of I-san Classic tourism promotion project.
Mrs. Somradee Chanchai, TAT’s Executive Director of the Northeastern Region said, “The Loei Classic is one of the five routes being planned under the Tour of I-san cycling tour campaign. Four other races will be organised in Bueng Kan, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Ubon Ratchathani. Each will feature a scenic and unique cycling course that highlights key attractions in the respective province. The ultimate goal is to entice more tourists and travellers to visit I-san, where an amazing diversity of traditional cultures await discovery.”
The 70-km Tour of I-san Loei Classic is open to everyone from professionals to amateur cyclists under two categories – A for road bicycle and B for mountain bicycle. The winners in both categories will be awarded with champion trophies and cycling jerseys. Applications for the race is open from now until 31 May, 2015, and for 300 cyclists only.
All race categories will start and finish at the Phu Pa Pao aka Loei’s Fuji Mountain, in Phu Luang district. The cycling route features a scenic, loop course that travels past lush nature and through cultural and ethnic communities of Loei, including Suan Hin Pha Ngam, a strangely beautiful limestone garden aged around 230-280 million years – similar to the stone garden in China’s Kunming; Phu Pa Pao and Phu Ho; and the Thai Dam community, known for the sacred Phi Ta Khon and Phi Kon Nam rituals.
Mrs. Somradee said, “The motto of Loei is ‘City of the Sea of Mountains, Coldest Place in Siam, with Beautiful Flowers of Three Seasons’ but there is a lot more to this mountainous province than meets the eye. Being the highlands of religion, philosophy, folk wisdom and traditions, Loei is home to diverse ethnic communities, and boasts something to see around every corner, from mist-shrouded mountains to historic sites, temples and local villages, all rich with cultures and traditions.”
Loei can be reached via road (car, bus and rail) or air transportation. The province is located about 550 km northeast of Bangkok or about an hour by air, or seven hours by car. Nok Air and Thai AirAsia currently operate daily flights between Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport and Loei.