Maha Sarakham is the capital city of Maha Sarakham Province in Thailand's Northeastern (Isan) region. Sarakham, as it is known to its inhabitants, is located in a rice-growing area on the southern Korat plain, straddling the Chi River.The city has long been known as a regional education centre, the so-called Taksila of Isan (taking this name from the ancient Hindu centre of learning). It is home to six colleges, as well as Maha Sarakham University (MSU) and Maha Sarakham Rajabhat University. Sarakham has the feel of a student town with the younger, more cosmopolitan population much in evidence in the downtown campus area and near MSU’s second campus a few miles away at Kamlieng.For a time Maha Sarakham ranked with Si Siket as among the poorest cities in Isan. This is changing, partly under the influence of the rapidly growing student population. Today Maha Sarakham possesses two cinemas, a modern department store and market, and branches of the Tesco Lotus and Big C supermarkets. There has been extensive building development, especially on the eastern fringes of the city. Nevertheless Sarakham remains a place where bicycle rickshaws take the place of taxis, and where visitors can still observe many aspects of life in a traditional mid-Isan town.There are a number of important temples and religious sites in the province, notably at nearby Kantharawichai District and at Na Dun District to the south. The city and surrounding area contain a number of attractive parks. Maha Sarakham city has no railway station or airport, and the main transport links are via express bus, or by road connections to the airports in Khon Kaen and Roi Et. Recently the road link south was upgraded and is now mainly dual carriageway highway.