Long holding the title of Southeast Asia’s most popular vacation spot, Thailand is a paradise, with its tropical islands, lush jungle, and sun-bleached sands. But it’s not just the beaches that bring travelers back time and time again—Thailand’s most enduring asset is its people and their ever-present smiles and unabashed hospitality.
The north of Thailand also boasts several interesting provinces, such as Nan, where once held the Lanna Kingdom and from which originated a charming civilization. Nan has so much to offer, from natural beauty, delicious food, cultural sites, temples and amazing sunshine. We have arranged a heaven-sent list of the best things to do in Nan, Thailand, just for you:
1. Visit Wat Phumin
Do you want to discover rural authenticity and a spot-on depiction of life’s quiet moments? Then, come and visit Wat Phumin. This temple is the most famous landmark in Nan and a “must-see”. Because of Nan’s remote location, you will find it a relatively peaceful place, likely only sharing it with devotees and a few monks.
While the outside, with its naga railings, is quite dramatic, it is the Thai Lu temple murals which earn this spot five stars. The vegetable-dyed colours add to the subtle beauty of the frescoes, as do the naive folksy style in which they are rendered. Do not miss the ‘whispering lovers’ scene, the 'copulating monkeys’ panel or the vivid depictions of the tortures of Hell.
Address: Suriyapong Rd, Pha Sing, Amphoe Mueang Nan, Chang Wat Nan 55000, Thailand
Website: Wat Phumin
2. Go see the Blessing Buddha at Wat Phra That Khao Noi
A scenic 180-degree view of Nan will heighten your emotions, with its beautiful vista and tranquil light, in both the morning and evening. Go and see the whole of Nan and be impressed with the 9-meter (29.5 foot) tall Golden Buddha, also known as the Blessing Buddha – which sends good blessings to the people and town of Nan. The standing Buddha image looks forward to the city, protecting Nan’s people.
This temple is located 300 meters (984.3 feet) above sea level and has 303 steps leading up to the temple (although it is possible to drive up the hill). The Blessing Buddha and its view is a sight to be seen and worth the visit. It is free to visit.
Wat Phra That Khao Noi
Address: 89 มหาพรหม Pha Sing, Amphoe Mueang Nan, Chang Wat Nan 55000, Thailand
Website: Wat Phra That Khao Noi
3. See the beautiful temple in Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng
Across the river from Nan town is Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, the town’s most important temple. This 14th-century temple is located on a small hill, east of town, from where good views of the town and the surrounding valley and river can be had. The 55 meter (180.4 foot) high, slender chedi, known as Phra That Chae Haeng, enshrines a relic of the Buddha, as well as silver and gold votive tablets. The spiral-shaped chedi was rebuilt in 1454 and is set on a square base. You can find serenity in the temple’s meditation centre.
Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng
Address: 89 มหาพรหม Pha Sing, Mueang Nan District, Chang Wat Nan 55000, Thailand
Website: Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng
4. Be amazed at the Nan Riverside Art Gallery
แรงบันดาลใจจากมรดกน่าน โดย วินัย ปราบริปู ผลงานนี้จะจัดแสดงกึ่งถาวรอยู่ชั้น 2 ของหอศิลป์ครับPosted by Nan Riverside Gallery หอศิลป์ริมน่าน Arts Space on Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Nan Riverside Art Gallery is the large, private art gallery, which covers the area of 13 rai (5.1 acres/2.1 hectares). It is located on the bank of Nan River. The entrance is just in front of the highway (kilometre marker 20), about 20 kilometres (12.4 hectares) from Nan city. It functions as a centre of Nan province’s art and culture and was founded by Winai Prabripoo, a famous Thai artist and native of Nan, who loved art. You can listen to the birds and the slowly flowing river here and it is a mystic place to relax and think.
Nan Riverside Art Gallery
Address: 122 Moo 2, Bo, 55000, Thailand
Website: Nan Riverside Art Gallery
5. Savor the true taste of Thailand at Nan Art Cafe and Bakery
Need a break from sightseeing? Then, you need to replenish your energy with excellent pastry and cakes, made with love, at the Nan Art Cafe and Bakery. Try their high-end pastries and cakes, served with Swiss coffee, that will definitely give you some “get up and go”. The cafe provides a variety of drinks and pastries that you will surely love. The ambience here is relaxing and artistic and the aroma of espresso and the mouthwatering European-style cakes and custards will have your mouth watering.You can enjoy watching the chef making these delectable creations, through a window into the kitchen.
Nan Art Cafe and Bakery
Address: 74/4 Kha Luang Rd, Niwaing, Muang Nan District, Nan, 55000 Thailand
Website: Nan Art Cafe and Bakery
6. Unfold the story of Nan at the National Museum
*****ขอเปลี่ยนแปลง วันทำบุญ จากวันอังคาร ที่ ๔ ตุลาคม เป็นวันพุธที่ ๑๒ ตุลาคม ด้วยการไฟฟ้าส่วนภูมิภาคจะงดจ่ายกระแสไฟฟ้า ...Posted by Nan National Museum พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ น่าน on Thursday, 29 September 2016
If you want to find out more about the history of the remarkable Nan region and its most important landmarks, you should visit the National Museum. It features a full collection, including ethnological exhibits covering the various ethnic groups and items on display, like silverwork, textiles, folk utensils and tribal costumes. There are English labels for most items, making the exhibits easy to understand, even without a travel guide.
You can also see the archaeology, local architecture, royal regalia, weapons, ceramics and religious art of the region here and the museum’s collection of Buddha images includes some rare Lanna styles, as well as the floppy-eared local styles.
Address: 42 Suriyapong Rd, Pha Sing, Amphoe Mueang Nan, Chang Wat Nan 55000, Thailand
Website: National Museum
7. Great tasting coffee at Ban Tai Lue Cafe
Ban Tai Lue is a quaint café, serving up some fantastic local coffee, including great iced lattes. The company has built little huts, set amongst the rice paddies and each hut comes with a beautiful scenic view. It offers a great break from sightseeing and is so peaceful.The coffee shop has a great, rustic look with its wooden tables and a great barista with a real coffee machine will execute any of your requests, using only local coffee beans from the surrounding mountains. Amazing scenery and great prices - this cafe is definitely worth a taste!
Ban Tai Lue Cafe
Address: 164 M.4, Silalang Subdistrict, Pua 55120, Thailand
8. Explore Doi Phu Kha National Park
Doi Phu Kha National Park covers parts of 8 districts of the Luang Prabang Range, Nan Province, and Northern Thailand and is rich in natural resources. There are many caves in the park area, which is named after Chompoo Phu Kha, a tree with attractive pink bunches of flowers. Together, with the Caryota Gigas and Acer Wilsonii, this tree makes up the three rare species of plants, which in Thailand, can be found only in this park. There are natural rock formations here, as well, such as the 1,837 meter (6026.9 foot) high Doi Phu Wae peak. If you reach the summit, the astounding scenery of a sea of mist and the mountain range awaits you.
Doi Phu Kha National Park
Address: Tambol Phu Kha Sub-district, Amphoe Pua, Nan, 55120, Thailand
Website: Doi Phu Kha National Park
9. Make a pit stop at the Ban Huan Kon Border Market
When in Phuket, it’s best to check out the local street food and market scene. One of the most interesting markets to check off your travel bucket list is the Ban Huau Kon Border Market just opposite Mueang Nam Ngoen in the Sayaboury Province of Laos. This is the checkpoint where people from Laos and Thailand come to meet every Saturday. The market is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and sells hand made fabrics and authentic consumer from various parts of Laos and Thailand. The Ban Huan Kon Border Market boasts a lot of unique history and is definitely a place to visit when shopping around Thailand.
Visit the Ban Huai Kon Border Market
Address: Huay Kon Rd., Huai Kon, Chalerm Prakiat, Nan 55130 Thailand
Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturdays
10. Gaze the stars at Doi Samer Dao
If you’re into something other than the usual night-life scene in a tourist destination like Thailand, then check out the stunning night sky in Doi Samer Dao. Travelers who are fond of the stars and astronomy should make it a point to visit Doi Samer Dao in Sri Nan National Park which is an idyllic place to go stargazing with your friends and loved ones. Grab the chance to get a little active before seeing the stunning night sky and hike up to the famous Dao mountain. It usually takes two hours for people to get up to the best star gazing point in the city. Those who join the tour will be able to enjoy the 360-degree view of the scenic region just before sunset and where one can see even the depths of Milky Way from the gorgeous mountain top.
Star gazing at Doi Samer Dao
Address: Sisaket, Na Noi District, Nan 55150, Thailand
Opening Hours: 24 hours, Sundays to Mondays
Duration: approximately 2 to 4 hours
Contact: +66 54 731 714
Visit Nan, a godly place!
Nan was part of the Lanna kingdom and has a culture as ancient as that of the Sukhothai Kingdom (1238-1438). Formerly known as “Nanthaburi”, Nan was established by King Phukha, in the early 13th century. Thanks to its location in the embrace of the mountains, its traditional ways of life are well preserved, unlike other towns, which have been affected by modernization. Nan’s outstanding attractions include those of culture and nature, which many are longing for. Step out of your comfort zone and experience heaven on earth, in Nan.
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