From Nan Province

A quiet and tranquil province, Nan nestles in a valley in Northern Thailand. About 668 kilometres from Bangkok, it covers an area of 11,472 square kilometres and is made up of the following districts: Muang, Wiang Sa, Na Noi, Pua, Chiang Klang, Tha Wang Pha, Thung Chang, Mae Charim, Ban Luang, Na Mun, Santisuk, Bo Klua, Chaleom Phra Kiat, Song Kwae, and Phu Phiang.

The people of Nan descend from the Lan Changs (Laotians). Their forebears moved to settle around present day Pua district which is rich in rock salt deposits, about 700 years ago at the time when Sukhothai was becoming the kingdom of the Thais. They subsequently moved south to the fertile Nan River basin which is much more extensive. Nan’s history is deeply involved with its neighbours, in particular Sukhothai which played an important role in both political and religious terms before Nan became a part of Lanna, Burma and Thailand in that order. Today Nan is still the home of numerous Thai Lu and other hill tribes who retain highly interesting customs and traditions.

Nan Riverside Art Gallery

Nan Riverside Art Gallery

THAI NAME: วัดหนองบัว
LOCATION: Amphoe Mueang District in Nan Province
GPS: 18.940337 100.767709

Nan Riverside Art Gallery is a large private art gallery on the banks of the Nan River, about 20 kilometres North of Nan city. It functions as a centre of art and culture for the province. It was founded by Winai Prabripoo, a famous Thai artist and native of Nan, who loves art. His intention was to build a new art gallery in a nature-friendly atmosphere.

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Wat Phra That Chae Haeng

Wat Phra That Chae Haeng

THAI NAME: วัดพระธาตุแช่แห้ง
LOCATION: Phu Phiang District in Nan Province
GPS: 18.758381 100.791247

Wat Phra That Chae Haeng is about 2 kilometres from town on Highway No. 1168. Once the centre of the old town, it was moved to its present location in about 1368. It features a 55 metre-high golden Chedi containing a holy Relic from Sukhothai. Over the Wihan’s door frames and on parts of the roofs are plaster designs in the shape of Naga, the great serpent, which represent the artistic best in local architecture.

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Nan National Museum

Nan National Museum

THAI NAME: พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติน่าน
LOCATION: Amphoe Mueang District in Nan Province
GPS: 18.776243, 100.770885

The building of the Nan National Museum was actually constructed in 1903 and once the residence of a ruler of Nan. It displays exhibitions concerning the town’s history and major structures, evolution of arts in different ages, and numerous ancient objects, the most eminent of which is the black ivory. lt also provides anthropological information on the northern indigenous people including the several minorities residing in Nan. The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from nine in the morning until four o’clock in the afternoon.

Wat Phumin

Wat Phumin

THAI NAME: วัดภูมินทร์
LOCATION: Amphoe Mueang District in Nan Province
GPS: 18.774527 100.771633

A uniquely designed and the most interesting temple in Nan is Wat Phumin which has a 4-portico, single building housing both the Ubosot and Wihan. Four Buddha statues with their backs against one another are installed in the main hall facing the four directions. The doors are delicately carved in splendid designs by Lanna craftsmen.

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Wat Chang Kham Woravihan

Wat Phrathat Chang Kham Woravihan

THAI NAME: วัดพระธาตุช้างค้ำวรวิหาร
LOCATION: Amphoe Mueang District in Nan Province
GPS: 18.776238 100.772102

Opposite the Nan National Museum is Wat Chang Kham Woravihan. Its main features are the sculpted upper halves of elephants adorning around the Chedi, a Sukhothai influence. Here have been found stones with ancient Thai scripts relating to the alliance between the kings of Nan and Sukhothai when Nan was still and independent state. An ancient golden Buddha is enshrined in the Wihan.

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Wat Nong Bua

Wat Nong Bua

THAI NAME: วัดหนองบัว
LOCATION: Tha Wang Pha District in Nan Province
GPS: 19.088706 100.786088

Wat Nong Bua, in Nong Bua village of Tha Wang Pha district, was built by Thai Lu craftsmen who had earlier migrated from southern China. Apart from the Wihan which is adorned with elaborate carvings, there are also wall murals painted by Thai Lu artists some one hundred years ago. Their artistic value and degree of perfection equal those at Wat Phumin.

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Doi Phu Kha National Park

Doi Phu Kha National Park

THAI NAME: อุทยานแห่งชาติ ดอยภูคา
LOCATION: Nong Bua District in Nan Province
GPS: 19.085168 101.061459

To the north of Nan in Nong Bua district lies Doi Phu Kha National Park. The terrain is mainly forested lands on limestone mountain ranges, the source of several streams which merge into the Nan River. The elevation is about 1,900 metres above sea level. Here are found several rare and near-extinct flora, particularly the Chomphu Phu Kha, whose pink flowers are in full bloom during February.

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Wat Phaya Wat

is located just before reaching the town on Highway No. 101. An ancient religious site, it has rectangular Chedi bases on which Buddha statues are placed around the Chedi structure. Combined artistic influences of Lanna, Lan Chang and native Nan can be detected.

Pha Chu or Pha Cheot Chu

is a cliff located within the Si Nan National Park which covers extensive forested and mountainous areas. The cliff can be reached by taking the Nan-Wiang Sa-Na Noi route for 135 kilometres, then turning into highway no. 1083 and on for another 22 kilometres. The cliff-top offers an excellent viewing point to enjoy a panoramic vista of the mountains. A national flag pole has a lanyard running all the way down to the foot of the hill, the longest in the country. There are camping areas for visitors in the park.