When thinking about places to visit in Thailand, the first places to come to mind , especially by most tourist would be Phuket and Bangkok. A very few, not even myself, would even think of going to Nan, Thailand have I not been invited by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Council for a multi-country fam trip.
Nan is a province of Thailand located at the northern side and near the border of Laos and very close to Luang Prabang. The Thailand and Laos border via Nan is a 3 1/2 hour drive about 150 kms from the city. If you plan to do multi-country/ cross country trip to Thailand and Laos this is the place to be, just make sure to have your passport ready and cash to pay your Entry Visa to Laos if you are not from any ASEAN country (US$35.00).
The provincial capital of Nan has a relaxed charm that can lure tourist in for adventures into the countryside or sightseeing in town . Here are some of the things we did in the province that you may want to look in to when you pay the town a visit.
Things to do in Nan, Thailand:
EXPERIENCE REAL LIFE TEMPLE RUN!
What’s Thailand without their culture rich Temples? Admire century old architecture, religion and art and find which of the temples you like best. Here are some of the temples you can check out:
Temple 1: Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng
This was the first of a couple of temple we visited at Nan in Thailand (there is about 200++ temples in the city!). This temple is said to represent the Year of the Rabbit and you will notice a lot of rabbit figures all over the place. It also features a 55 meter-high golden chedi containing holy relic from Sukhothai. Over the viharn’s door frames and on parts of the roofs are sttucco designs in the shape of Naga, the greatest serpent, which represent an artistic best in local architechture.
Temple 2: Wat Phrathat KhaoNoy (or Khao Noi)
If you want to have a 180 degrees view of the entire city of Nan, this is the place to be. The remple was construced in 1487. The Phrathat is a chedi made of bricks and cemebt reflecting a combination of Burmese and Lanna arts. It contains the Lord Buddha’s hair and was renovated in 1906-1911 by Burmese craftsmen. It features a 9-metre Buddah image in giving blesing posture on a lotus base. The head finial of the image was made of gold with total weight of 27 Baht and cast during an auspicious occassion of his Majesty the Kings 6th Cycle Birthday Anniversay on December 5, 1999.
Temple 3: Wat Phumin
Among the temples we visited, I think the Wat Phumin Temple is the best in Nan, Thailand because of the beautiful mural paintings inside and the four faced/sided buddha in the main hall. Wat Phumin, It is a royal temple located in the old city called Tambon Nai Wiang and is next to the Nan National Museum. The temple was constructed in 1569 and renovated in 1867. What I love best about this temple was the painting inside the assembly hall. The mural paintings or Hup Taem depict the Buddhist Jataka stories. There are also interesting depiction of the lifestyles of the people in town during this time in the paintings. The most popular painting in the temple was the Nan Couple “whisper into my ear” the couple is said to be not of Nan heritage but are actually foreigners as the costume / clothes they wore in the painting reflects the popular styles in Europe during that time. This Nan couple image can be seen all over the city and is now an iconic symbol in town.
Temple 4: Wat Nong Bua
At the Nong Bua Village, Pa Kha sub-district is Wang Bua an ancient temple where mural paintings on the ordination hall depict the story of Panyasa Jataka, the past life of Lord Buddha created by Thit Buaphan, a Lao Phuan painter. The temple was built in 1862. The paintings is close to those displayed at the wall of Wat Phumin . Apart from the murals , at the base of the main Buddha image is enshirned many tiny Buddha images in Lanna style, as well as a Butsabok , a movable pavilion with a pointed roow. A replica of the Thai Lue house can be seen there.
APPRECIATE LOCAL ART
The Nan Riverside Art Gallery is the largest private art galery in Nan , founded by WinaiPrabirpoo, the Nan Riverside Art Gallery also functions as a contemporary art center to showcase artworks of local artist .
At the second floor you will see artworks of the Royal Family and also modern interpretations of the famous Nan Couple from the Wat Phumin temple .
LEARN HOW THEY MAKE SILVER JEWELRIES
We also visited the Doi Silver Factory where we personally saw how they make gorgeous silver jewelries from scratch. Everything is carefully handcrafted, amazing.
PIG OUT: HAVE A FOOD TRIP
All the temple running / sightseeing/ picture taking and admiring the beautiful architecture, history and culture surrounding it can make one very hungry! There are different options to try in Nan.
You can grab a quick bite and find something to munch on while looking around for something to buy as souvenirs at the NAN CITY NIGHT MARKET which is only open on weekends from 5pm onwards. This night market is just a few walks away from the Wat Phumin temple. You can find so many local eats from the market from the most exotic to the conventional ones. However, there’s this one stall that got our attention, te Gai Ob Ong, perfectly roasted chicken with mouth watering flavor. The chicken was roasted in a big clay jar , something we don’t see often!
If you’re tired of all the walking you can try the authentic Thai dishes at the HUEANHOM RESTAURANT , this is just a block away from the night market. When your done having your fill grab deserts at the most popular desert place in Nan, AUNTIE NIM!
At the outskirts , an hour away from the Thailand – Laos border is a coffee shop with a view of the lush mountains and a bed of cat whiskers, the THAI LUE CAFE. A few minutes away from the cafe is the PUAPIROM BAR AND RESTAURANT , their Tom Yam Goong is soooo good!
REST and RELAX
We stayed for one night at the NANTURGJAI BOUTIQUE HOTEL Nan, Thailand. They said it is one of the best boutique hotels in the city. You may book here for your hotel needs in Thailand and get Php600 credit on your first booking :
HOW TO GET THERE/ TRANSPORTATION
Thai Air Asia flies to Nan, Thailand from Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok daily. They have fight to Yangon (4 flights a day), Mandalay (1 flight daily) , Hanoi (1 flight daily) Ho Chi Minh (3 flights a day), Phnom Penh (2 flights a day) and Siem Reap (3 flights a day) and Luang Prabang ( 1 flight a day). Nan from Bangkok is just an hour flight away . For more flight details you may visit www.airaisia.com
If you would like to experience or visit the same places as I did, you may contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand www.tourismthailand.org who assisted us by arranging our itenerary during our Nan, Thailand leg of this #TourismMekong trip.
This sponsored travel for the blog gig happened last May 21-27, 2016. I dubbed the trip #EarthAsianAdventure as I was at three countries (Malaysia, Thailand and Laos) in a span of one-week which is an incredible experience. Malaysia was my lay-over country, while Nan, Thailand and Luang Prabang, Laos was our main destination. Air Asia was our carrier ergo dubbing my trip #EarthfliesviaAirAsia as well.
This trip was part of a familiarization tour organized by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. I was with fellow bloggers from different parts of the world
Dwight from Bangkok Fatty, Robert from Another Traveler, Maciek from Skok W Bok, Edgar from EazyTraveler and Soraya from Hello Raya.
Did you find this post helpful? Do you have some other tips about things to do in Nan, Thailand? I would like to hear your thoughts! Please leave your comment and suggestions at the comment section below!
Stay gorgeous everyone!