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Nan

Attractions > North > Nan
 

Attractions in Nan province in Thailand

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Extending over an area of 11,472 square kilometres, and with its provincial capital located 668 kilometres north of Bangkok, Nan is a remote province, yet one that is richly rewarding in both its cultural and scenic attractions. The town of Nan nestles in the verdant valley of the river of the same name, surrounded by densely forested hills, and was formerly an independent city state back in the 13th century. During its long history, Nan was initially influenced culturally and politically by Sukhothai, before coming under the influence of first the Lanna Kingdom, centred in Chiang Mai, and later the Burmese. With the expulsion of the Burmese in the 18th century, Nan continued to enjoy a semblance of independence until coming under the full control of Bangkok in the early 1900s.

Evidence of such a rich past is still present in a number of historic temples, while the scenic attractions of the surrounding countryside, home to numerous Thai Lue and other hilltribe peoples, add another dimension to touring the region.

 

Wat Chang Kham Worawihan

 

 

Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng

 

 

Wat Phumin

 

 

Wat Phayawat

 

 

Doi Phu Kha National Park

 

City attractions in Nan

Nan National Museum

Housed in what was formerly the residence of the ruler of Nan, the museum is an excellent starting point for a tour of the town, its displays highlighting the region's history and the evolution of the arts.

Wat Chang Kham Worawihan

Located opposite the museum, Wat Chang Kham Worawihan was originally built in 1406, subsequently restored several times, and is named after its chedi, which has elephant (chang) buttresses around its base. Enshrined at the temple is a superb 145-cm.-high statue of a walking Buddha made of pure gold.

Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng

Perhaps the most impressive of Nan's venerable temples, Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng lies about 2 kilometres from town on Highway 1168, east of the Nan River. This was the original site of the settlement until some 600 years ago when the king moved the town to the west bank in response to the promptings of a dream. Occupying an elevated spot, reached by a naga-flanked stairway, Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng is a walled temple dating from the 14th century and is dominated by a 55-metre-high chedi. Of equally awe-inspiring proportions is the image hall, a marvellous
structure of Laotian influence characterised by a three-tiered, five-level roof.

Wat Phumin

Situated nearby, Wat Phumin is a magnificent temple of exceptional beauty. The hall dates from the late 16th century and has an atypical cruciform pattern. The interior is as charming as the external architecture and is dominated by a splendid centrepiece of four Buddha statues facing the four cardinal points, while the walls are covered with fine mural paintings that depict the story of one of the Buddha's previous incarnations, as well as intriguing scenes of provincial life.

Wat Suan Tan

The temple, dating back to the 15th century, is dominated by a beautiful chedi, and is renowned for its important 500-year-old Buddha image known as Phra Chao Thong Thip, a 4.1-metre high bronze statue sculpted in the Sukhothai style.

Wat Phayawat

Located just before reaching town on Highway 101, Wat Phayawat is remarkable for its chedi constructed in the form of a steep pyramid with a stepped base of five tiers each with niches containing Buddha images.

 

Out of city attractions in Nan

Ban Nong Bua

This Thai Lue village is located about 40 kilometres north of Nan town along Highway 1080, and an additional 3 kilometres off to the left. The villagers are noted for producing a traditional tribal fabric, while the village's Wat Nong Bua is a good example of Thai Lue temple architecture and decoration.

Ban Pak Nai

Ball Pak Nai, about 22 kilometres along the road winding over the shoulder of the mountain some 96 kilometres from the provincial town, is a fishing village on the bank of the fresh-water lake above the Sirikit Dam in Uttaradit province. Local rafts are turned into restaurants and accommodation for visitors who prefer vacationing amid peaceful natural surroundings. The most famous food is the many kinds of fresh-water fish caught in the lake.

Doi Phu Kha National Park

To the north of Nan along Highway No. 1080 in Nong Bua district some 25 kilometres en route to Bo Kluea district lies the 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 and it is home to near-extinct flora, particularly the   Chomphu Phu Kha (bretschneidera ninesis hemsl.), whose pink flowers are in full bloom during February. In the morning, a sea of mist call be seen drifting across the valley. There are also several scenic waterfalls. Permits to camp can be obtained. Alternatively, tourists may choose to utilise the accommodation services in the park.

Si Nan National Park

The Si Nan National Park covers extensive forested and mountainous areas. Pha Chu is the major attraction in the park. 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

This is a natural geological phenomenon of earthen pillars formed by soil erosion, similar to Phae Mueang Phi in Phrae. It is located about 10 kilometres from Na Noi district on Highway 1083.

Tham Pha Tup Forest Park

Lying some 10 kilometres north of Nan town, this a complex of 17 caves in what is part of a new wildlife reserve.

Wa River Rafting

This exciting activity waits for tourists who like to shoot many rapids. Rafting can be accompanied by elephant riding. The suitable time for rafting is from September to February. Visitors can contact travel agencies in the town.

 

Special event in Nan

Traditional Long Boat Races

HeId in October or November, these are among the largest and arguably the most exciting of all the traditional longboat regattas held by many riverine communities around Thailand to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent.

 

Shopping in Nan

Textiles

Nan is noted for its quality hand-woven textiles in various patterns, the most famous being   lai nam lai,   "flowing water design", which depicts stepped patterns representing streams and waterfalls.

Handicrafts

Silverware, woodcarving and hilltribe handicrafts are popular souvenirs.

Musical Instruments

Nan is also known for its musical instruments, in particular the salo, a violin-like instrument, and the sueng, similar to a guitar.

 

 

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