If you find yourself or your friends complaining about how touristy the big cities are getting, we hear you!
We’ve recently gone on a trip to discover great places that will satisfy your appetite for real, authentic experiences – and Lampang and Lamphun is the answer.
We’ve gathered the top 19 things not to be missed, from beautiful blue lagoons filled with fish, to townships that are off the radar and plenty of things to do…
You’ll never see Thailand the asame way again.
Now, the next time your friends open their mouths to complain about how Thailand is boring – send this article to them and say: YOU’RE WRONG.
PS: If you’re keen to explore and experience the beauty and magic of Chiang Mai, Lampang and Lamphun, transport is key. We went on a roadtrip to explore several of them ourselves and rented a car for it!
How to get there?
One of the most reliable and affordable car rentals we found was Europcar Thailand. We picked up our car upon arriving at the airport in Bangkok, and started our road trip immediately! (Their rental prices start from USD $35 / approx. 1091 Baht per day)
Our tip: If you plan to drive up mountainous roads like we did to reach Khao Kho, we recommend renting an SUV with higher power to go up the mountain. We got a 1.6L Sylvia and almost stalled the car, and 2 of us ended up having to get out and walk up while our friend drove up!
16 Adventurous, cultural, and artistic things to do in and around Chiang Mai
25 Unique things to do in and around Chiang mai and Northern thailand
19 Unique and magical places to visit in Thailand with fairies, dragons and flaming cliffs
1. Get lost in the wonder of ‘floating’ temples – Temples in the Sky
Situated high up in the mountains, amongst the clouds, these temples are a testament to the faith and devotion of its followers.
1-a. Temples dotting the mountain, making for a magical view – Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat Phrachomklao Rachanusorn
A rather mythical view from afar, but requiring some effort to reach the top.
The hike is not hard, and there were even kids and a pregnant lady on the trail when we were there. You will need to take a shuttle to the starting point before going on the trek.
Ring the gongs for good luck, or just drink in the dedication of those who built the temples. (This temple was built by monks who climbed up and down the mountain on foot with construction materials!)
Make sure you take a few snaps before leaving, to commemorate your time at this temple in the sky.
Price: The entrance fee is 200 Baht. In addition to this, it will cost USD $2.80 / approx. 100 Baht for a round trip tuk-tuk ride from the first to the second level. There is no transportation provided between the second and third level; you will need to climb on your own.
Address: Thung Tong Village, Wichet Nakhon, Chae Hom District, Lampang (Coordinates here)
Getting there: From Lampang City Center, take Highway 1035 toward Chae Hom District (approx. 50 km). Then just another 1 km pass Chae Hom Village to the entrance of the temple
1-b. Beautiful sights of intricate designs and landscape – Wat Phra That Doi Phra Chan
Roughly half an hour away from Lampang, this temple provides a panoramic view over the hills of Thailand and the border of Myanmar.
The best part about this temple is that it doesn’t get very crowded, despite being newly restored where the old and new come together perfectly.
While you can take a free shuttle to the top, people who have been there suggest the walk – as you’ll be able to see sights that would go unnoticed, if you zoomed past.
Address: 207 ม.5 Tambon Pa Tan, Amphoe Mae Tha, Chang Wat Lampang 52150, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Getting there: From Lampang’s provincial capital, head south along Highway 1 until turning off for the temple.
Contact: +66 54 289 111
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM to 6:30PM
2. A blue lagoon hidden in plain view – Lom Poo Keaw, Lampang Emerald Pool (หล่มภูเขียว)
This delightful curiosity is believed to be formed during prehistoric times, and is also said to be immeasurably deep.
We know that you won’t be able to help feeling like you wanna dive right in – but it is believed by the locals to be sacred, so swimming is discouraged.
The best time to visit is in the afternoon, because when the sunlight hits, you can see schools of fish.
3. What are the Chinese doing, making ceramic bowls in Thailand? – Dhanabadee Ceramic Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์เซรามิคธนบดี)
It might be surprising for you to see these undoubtedly Chinese crockery all the way in Lampang.
Originally founded by a family who immigrated from China, the art has been handed down generations… And you can be a part of it too!
Pick up one of these bowls whose ancient designs have lasted the test of time – or try your hand at painting one Chicken bowl of your very own.
Stroll through the museum to see the history of the Chicken bowl and Dhanabadee, and watch the artists at work too. You’ll get to see how they create the designs and textures of the ceramic pieces, as well as explore the generations’ old Dragon Kiln.
Afterwards, if you’re on the lookout for homewares, we picked up quite a few ceramic pieces here… Including a huge Chicken bowl basic (that’s since been installed in our editor’s washroom at home :P). The prices are actually really good, and these are all handmade.
PS: Those designs you see, holds a secret about where it was made. For instance, the Thailand Chicken bowls are drawn with green grass, banana leaf and a violet peony.
4. An opportunity to educate yourself on elephant welfare – Thai Elephant Conservation Center
This center focuses on rescuing elephants, and lets visitors interact with them through gentle activities like feeding and bathing.
Although, they also offer elephant rides which can be exploitative, especially when a chair is involved.
The handlers seem to have close relationships with the elephants and truly care for them.
While you can get up close and personal with the elephant, bear in mind that you are a total stranger to them – and might be stressing them out unnecessarily.
Note: An easy way to gauge the treatment of the animals is to ask yourself, is the place designed to keep the animals happy or the visitors?
PS: There is a popular sheep farm in Lampang (Coco Lampang) where you can try sheep milk ice cream, but we were horrified at the treatment of the animals.
They were given no water or shelter from the blistering hot sun. We’d like to remind travellers that if you see something you are uncomfortable with – it’s okay to raise your concerns, or show your disapproval by walking away.
5. Learn about traditional garments and see them displayed on Barbie models – Komol Antique Textile Museum (Komol Fibreland)
An old fabric museum set in a house, with many aged costumes on display. Don’t be afraid to talk to the people there, they might be able to teach you the rich history of each piece of cloth!
An interesting display is their Barbie collection wearing traditional clothes from all over the world.
You might also spot a few familiar faces like the Na’vi from Avatar, surrounded by a hoard of Thai Barbies or Spiderman with a few new friends.
6. What would Thailand be without its signature night markets? – Walking Streets
These two are slightly different from what you are used to seeing in Bangkok, because they are infused with history and steeped in culture!
Even the roads they are built on are rich with stories of the past.
6-a. It’s a Friday affair of arts, culture and food! – Tha Mai Lampang Cultural Road (ถนนสายวัฒนธรรม ท่ามะโอ)
The flurry of activity on the streets will have you reeling from wonder. From performances to the lights and wares of the market, it is definitely one not to be missed.
Dig into local snacks you can’t find elsewhere and indulge the the culture of the locals, untouched by tourism or commercialisation. This, as one visitor gushed, is the real Thailand.
6-b. Vintage, art and basically shopping lovers will love this – Kad Kunta Walking Street (กาดกองต้า ถนนคนเดิน)
You will see an interesting blend of Thai, Myanmar, Chinese and European architecture and people. A Chinese tribesman playing native music, a Caucasian and his puppet.
This market is just as large and has as many things as the one in Chiang Mai, but with less crowds and lower prices.
There are different kinds of local food for you to sample, like this turnip cake in a bowl. You will also be able to pick up one of those Chicken bowls that Lampang is famous for here.
Kad Kunta Walking Street (กาดกองต้า ถนนคนเดิน)
Price: From 50 Baht / USD $1.50
Address: Talad Gao Rd, Suan Dok, Amphoe Mueang Lampang, Chang Wat Lampang 52100, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Weekends, 5PM to 10PM
6-c. An authentic jungle market with all kinds of wares – Thung Kwian Market
20 mins away from Lampang, you will find live water beetles and fried larvae to sample. For the creatively inclined, you might want to check out their craft and curio section.
They also offer ceramic wares, woodcrafts and other souvenirs alongside herbs, spices and wearables. You might even chance upon cow placenta and weird looking funghi.
Thung Kwian Market
Price: From 50 Baht / USD $1.50
Address: Wiang Tan, Hang Chat District, Lampang 52190, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 88 414 0812
Opening hours: 24/7 (you might find more shops opened if you visit between 8am to 12 noon)
7. Boil some eggs (and yourself) in these natural hot springs at – Chae Son National Park (บ่อน้ำร้อนแจ้ซ้อน และ น้ำตกแจ้ซ้อน)
These misty waters might look magical in the mornings, but beware! Some of the pools are hot enough to boil an egg. The eggs are cooked for 15 minutes and while the whites are still runny, the yolks would be firm. Quite a mystery.
Built with preserving its natural beauty, you’ll find that it is a comfortable place to visit with clean toilets and still be relatively unspoilt.
There’s also a resort (and camping sites) for those who would like to stay overnight and discover hidden waterfalls (like the 6-tier one!) around the park or simply to soak in the mineral baths.
8. Soak your feet and relax with a little ceramic painting – บ้านศาลาบัวบก Ceramic Workshops and Spa
You can join their homestay for a night and see a holy pond the next morning. But if you’re just interested in having a day experience, you can try your hand at painting on ceramic bowls – something that Lampang is famous for producing.
Before you begin, you’ll be offered a ceramic bowl of warm water for you to dip your tired feet into and served tea. There are also ceramic massages offered such as massages with ceramic used to make an herbal compress for the massage.
PS: Reservations are required.
Ceramic Workshops and Spa, Sala Bua Sik (บ้านศาลาบัวบก)
Address: 234 Moo 2 Sala, Amphoe Ko Kha, Chang Wat Lampang 52130, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Contact the village headman 3-5 days in advance to book a reservation.
9. Watermelon Rice Crackers and their origins – Khun Manee
Kôw đǎan (pronounced cow than) is a local sweet that is also popular in Chiang Mai but originated from here.
Watch the desserts being made – these candies/crackers are a mixture of watermelon juice, peanuts, raisins, palm sugar, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and sesame seeds.
It’s an interesting mix of flavours and you should definitely buy some for your friends and family back home.
Price: From 25 Baht / USD $0.80
Address: 37 Thanon Rasda Thesaban Nakhon Lampang, Amphoe Mueang Lampang Chang Wat Lampang 52000 Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: (054) 312 272
Opening hours: Daily from 7am to 7pm
10. What’s in a dam? Rafting, exploring isles, cliffs and a fishing village – Kiu Lom Dam
It is an ideal excursion for those who love to take a break from the hustle and bustle of civilisation – because there’s really nothing going on here except a quiet life of rafting.
You can rent one to overnight in, but if you’re just here for a day-trip – make sure you stay for at least half a day to properly see everything.
Kiu Lom Dam
Price: Rafts from 500 Baht / USD $16
Address: วัง, Mueang Lampang District, Lampang, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Daily, 6AM to 6PM
11. Visit the house of a historical figure from “Anna and the King” – The Louis T.Leonowens House Lampang
Anna was a school teacher who came to Thailand to teach English to the royal children of King Mongkut.
Louis T. Leonowens, her son, studied beside King Chulalongkorn, and this house served as his office and home until he eventually sold it.
While he was Anglo-Indian, this house is distinctly built in the Thai Lanna style. Despite being abandoned, you can still walk through the doors and daydream about when Thailand was Siam.
The Louis T.Leonowens House (บ้านหลุยส์)
Address: Pa Mai Khed Road (ถนนป่าไม้เขต), Tha Ma O, near Wat Pratu Pong (Coordinates here)
1. An emerald waterfall, and stalactites-filled caves – Koh Luang Waterfall
Mae Ping National Park hides this little-known waterfall that flows from lime streams into a pond of cerulean blue waters.
There are also a few caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites to explore, so If you’re feeling up for it – make sure you’re wearing the right footwear for some adventure.
The waterfall itself has 7 tiers and unlike the one in Lampang, you’re more than welcomed to jump right in!
Koh Luang Waterfall
Price: From 100 Baht / USD $3
Address: Li, Li, Lamphun 51110 Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +665354 6336
Opening hours: Daily from 8am to 4pm
2. See how clay is turned into art at this – Bann Phor Liang Meun, Thai Medicinal Plants Garden
Established years ago in 1982, you might feel like you’ve wandered into a lost world, frozen in time, but it is in fact an exhibition and factory all at the same time.
Have a drink in the shade or take a stroll around the garden filled with clay wonders. You might even be able to catch a sculptor in the act of creating his next masterpiece.
The terracotta displayed in their sister-shop in Chiang Mai, Clay Studio Coffee In The Garden, all originates from here.
3. What happens when a fruit tree and noodles have a baby? – Longan Noodles (ร้านก๋วยเตี๋ยวลำไย เวียงยอง จ.ลำพูน)
Basically braised pork noodles with longans in the soup. We tried this local dish and it remained one of our favourite dishes through the entire 3 week trip in Thailand! You simply MUST try it.
With a rich and flavourful pork broth, the longans added not only sweetness but made the soup more complex with different notes hitting your palate.
There are dimsum and other desserts there too.
When you’re done with your meal, you can hop on down the road to a cute shopping street (Bridge Market) not five minutes away.
Longan Noodles (ร้านก๋วยเตี๋ยวลำไย เวียงยอง จ.ลำพูน)
Price: From 40 Baht / USD $1
Address: Wiang Yong, Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun 51000, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: 053511240, 0895611120
Opening hours: Daily, 9AM to 3PM
4. Stay with a hilltribe and learn their way of life – Lamphun Cultural Village (ชุมชนพระบาทห้วยต้ม จ.ลำพูน)
Home to the Karen tribe (they call themselves Pga K’nyau), it is a good place to experience how the community strives to preserve their way of life, the culture and traditions.
Perhaps also one of the reasons why there is no accommodation available here, in this peaceful village of Buddhism. However, you may contact them and sign up for their 2D1N tour that includes a roundtrip from Don Mueang Airport.
5. If the word “organic” makes your heart beat faster, you’ll love – Chaisikarin Herbal (บ้านสวนสมุนไพร ชัยศิคริน จ.ลำพูน)
So popular, you can find their plant-based products scattered all over Thailand.
They’ve got you covered top to bottom: hair serums and treatments concocted from various plants, body scrubs and lotions, even skincare and sunscreen.
They also have herbal drinks to promote detoxification amongst other things.
Fun fact: Aloe vera blocks about 20% of the sun’s rays! Not practical for everyday use as a sunscreen, but if that’s all you’ve got… It’s better than nothing.
6. Bake those longans into cake! – Huai Gan House Longan cake (ของดีบ้านห้วยกาน: เค้กลำไย)
Since longans are a specialty of Lamphun, it only made sense that longan cakes originated from here. Taste their longan cakes for yourself and let us know if you loved it too!
You can buy them freshly baked, or packaged for your friends and family back home.
7. It’s an immersive textiles and culture experience – Baan Huay Hom
Find yourself something handwoven as a souvenir. Take your pick from wallets, sarongs, bags and many more at Baan Huay Hom. They also make fine silver jewelry.
Most importantly, take a peek behind the scenes at how the tribespeople weave their wares, and craft their silver at this locally-known secret tucked away in Lamphun.
8. See with your own eyes ancient artefacts from the Hariphunchai and Lanna periods – Hariphunchai National Museum
Cultural buffs will truly enjoy this museum. There are antiques belonging to lost golden eras of Thailand.
The 23 columns of stone inscription are also pretty awe-inspiring.
Other than that, there are displays of skeletons, ancient tools and religious figurines and statues.
Hariphunchai National Museum
Price: From 100 Baht / USD $3 for foreigners
Address: Inthon Yongyot Rd., Tambon Nai Mueang, Amphoe Mueang Lamphun, Chang Wat Lamphun 51000, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday 9AM to 4PM
How inspiring is it, to realize that Thailand still holds so many wonders?
Bustling cities with booming tourism, but upon closer inspection and a little sense of adventure – you’ll come across cultural treasures and magnificent sights.
Hopefully one day you’ll visit either Lampang or Lamphun (or both)!
If you do, I hope you’ll write in and share your experiences with the world.
PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
|PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you! |