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.

Wat Phra That Chae Haeng

about 2 kilometres from town on Highway No. 1168, is an ancient religious site of the province. 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.

Nan National Museum

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

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.

Wat Phumim underwent a major restoration in 1867 since it was built some 27 years ago. It is believed that the wall murals were commissioned during this time. The wall paintings, in Thai Lu style are considered highly valuable and depict legends concerning the Lord Buddha as well as local legends and the local way of life, which include native attires, weaving and commerce with foreign countries.

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.

Wat Chang Kham Woravihan

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.

Wat Suan Tan

built in 1230, features an old, beautifully-shaped chedi and houses a huge bronze Buddha statue, Phra Chae Thong Thip cast by a king of Chiang Mai in 1450.

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.

Hom Chom

is a natural geological occurrence located about 10 kilometres from Na Noi district on highway no. 1083. The site is characterised by a large earthen mould eroded by the elements through the ages, leaving only hard eastern columns, whose exotic shapes and forms can be interpreted as differently as the imagination goes.

The Thai Lu Village-Ban Nong Bua

is about 40 kilometres to the north of the town on highway no.1080, with an additional 3 kilometres after the left turn into the village in the Wang Pha district. The Thai Lu people living at Ban Nong Bua are noted for producing the traditional tribal fabric, an art handed down from generation to generation. It has also been improved in the designs but still retaining the original patterns. The native woven materials have now become a highly popular buy among tourists.

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.