The Magnificent Northern Lanna Route Lampang – Phayao – Chiang Rai

| March 4, 2016

Northern Lanna. the northernmost part of the former glorious Lanna Kingdoms. is steep in history and culture with its proud heritage of over 700 years. Traces of past glories remain obvious wherever one looks. The region is resplendent with lush mountains covered with seasonal wildflowers and featuring balmy cool weather the whole year round. This magnificent route starts from Lampang or the ancient Khelang Nakhon. famous for horse-drawn carriages plying its streets. From here. you head north to Phayao and Chiang Rai. a distance of 288 kilometers on Highway No.1. a freeway throughout the trip.
We start the trip in Lampang with a simple but delicious meal such as Thip Chang Chicken Rice, on Thip Chang Road, or a typical Thai fast food or rice and spicy soup at Mae Yot Huean at the clock-tower five-way intersection. Thereafter, a temple tour in the ancient city Is in order, starting with Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao Suchadaram, on the right bank of the Wang River, on Suchada Road, one of the oldest temples in the city, dating back over a thousand years. It once housed the Emerald Buddha for 32 years. from 1436 to 1468. The most significant shrine in the temple is the Pagoda of the Holy Relics of Don Tao, containing the hair relic of the Lord Buddha. The pagoda measures about 25 meters in height, with elaborate golden tiered-umbrellas decorating the top. A niche in the front for devotees to pay homage to the holy relic is built of wood, in Burmese style. There is also a palace-topped shrine housing a Buddha image of the Mandalay art-form, known as Phra Bua Khem, along with the Hall of the Reclining Buddha, the Hall of Phra Chao Thong Thip, and the Grand Hall where the Emerald Buddha was once enshrined, and the Museum of Lanna.
Next, take the road in the front towards Chae Hom District, where an interesting temple is located, Wat Chedi Sao Lang, 25 kilometers from the town. There are 20 pagodas, thus the name Chedi Sao-20 pagodas- was given to the temple. The temple hall nearby houses Phra Saen Sae, a highly venerated Buddha image for the people of Lampang. Coming back to the city, you can find the Cemetery of Trai Laksana – the three characteristics of existence, the temple of the Venerable Kasem Khemako, a highly respected Buddhist monk of Lanna, where a wax figure of the monk is located. Other interesting temples built in Burmese art forms in Lampang are Wat Si Chum, on Thipwan Road, and Wat Si Rong Mueang on Tha Khrao Noi Road. Wat Pong Sanuk on Pong Sanuk Road, meanwhile, is an ancient temple in old Lanna architecture. The pagoda is on a high slope, with the path leading to it through an elaborate portal to the wooden temple hall built as a four-sided structure in Burmese style. Inside the hall are four Buddha images in meditation posture sitting back to back, similar to that found at Wat Phumin in Nan Province.

Turning back towards Ko Kha District, 15 kilometers from the city, the temple not to be missed is Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Turning right from Highway No.I into Ko Kha District, a side way on the right leads to the temple about 3 kilometers away. The temple is in the ancient Lanna style, built on a high slope. A wooden temple hall, aged over 500 years, houses Phra Chao Lan Thong, the presiding Buddha. Within the grand hall, old mural paintings of Lanna can be viewed, featuring Jataka and the Lord Buddha’s like story, painted on large planks attached to the upper part of the columns. To the back is the Pagoda of the Holy Relics of Lampang Luang, the relics for those born in the year of the bulL The pagoda is one of the finest in Lanna. An amazing phenomenon can be experienced within the Shrine of the lord Buddha’s Footprint, to the back of the pagoda, where the shadow of the pagoda, known as Ngao Phra That appears through a tiny hole in the dark as an upside-down pagoda when projected on a white cloth. It has been selected as an Unseen Thailand site. Another place where this phenomenon can be observed is Wat Phra That Chom Ping, about 10 kilometers from the town, on the way to Soem Ngam District.
Once in Ko Kha District, a delightful lunch at Khao Soi Ko Kha Shop is recommended. Local noodle in spicy soup is served, plus the views of the Wang River. Thereafter, continue the trip to Phayao Province, a distance of 131 kilometers on Highway No.1, running along Phi Pan Nam Mountain Range, rich in teak and mixed forest. A point of interest on the way is the Shrine of Chao Pho Pratu Pha, with prehistoric cliff paintings aged 3,000 years, the longest found in Southeast Asia, comprising 1,862 frames. Also at Tham Pha Thai National Park, is Tham Pha Thai, a limestone cave, over 2 kilometers in depth. About 20 kilometers after passing Ngao District you will reach Ban Khoi, Ban Rong Sub-District. the site of Mueang Ngao Community Art Center, run by Master Kham-Ai Dejduangta, a renowned sculptor of the country. It is otherwise known as Ban Chang Luang, with the collection of woodcarvings by Master Kham-Ai, serving as a training center for local craftspeople as well.

Phayao is a peaceful and charming city of Northern Lanna, with Kwan Phayao, a vast lake to the east, and Doi Luang Mountain Range to the west. Kwan Phayao is assumed to emerge from the movement of the earth plates 70 million years ago. It is the most important fresh water source for the region. At present, accommodations and restaurants are found around the lake. The most pleasant time is at sunset over the Doi Luang Mountain Range. Nearby is Wat Si Khom Kham, with the presiding Buddha, Phra Chao Ton Luang, the largest Buddha image of Chiang Saen style in Lanna. It is also the lookout site for the sunset. Located next to the temple is the Culture Hall, a local museum where the history of Phayao can be studied.
Another interesting site is Wat Analayo on Doi Bussarakham, about 20 kilometers from the city, traveling on Highway No.1 towards Chiang Rai for about 7 kilometers and turning left into Highways 1127 and 1193, for about 9 kilometers to the hilltop temple, with Bodh Gaya pagoda and Buddha images in various postures, as well as the model Emerald Buddha and a Chinese Hall or Goddess Kuan Yin. A panoramic view of Kwan Phayao is also afforded from the temple. As for souvenirs, products from water hyacinth of Ban San Pa Muang are recommended. The village has been selected as one of the 20 cottage industry villages for tourism in 2005 by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

From Phayao to Chiang Rai, follow Highway No.1 for just 94 kilometers, passing Phan and Mae Lao Districts to Chiang Rai. Major sites on the way include Pu Kaeng Waterfall, in Doi Luang National Park, about 39 kilometers from Phayao. Take the side road at Ban Pu Kaeng and continue for about 9 kilometers to the park office. A hiking trail of about 1.5 kilometers from the park office leads to the waterfall, a 9-tier waterfall, with water cascading down the limestone cliffs. Accommodation and camping, as well as food shop, are put up in the area. About 13 kilometers before reaching Chiang Rai stop to view Wat Rong Khun at the crossing with Highway 1208 towards Khun Kon Waterfall. The temple is being rebuilt by a top artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, a native of Chiang Rai. Khun Kon Waterfall is about 17 kilometers inside, with a hiking trail o f 1.2 kilometers to the waterfall, a 70-meter high waterfall in Kok River National Park
Chiang Rai itself is full of attractions, from the Monument to King Mengrai, the founder of Lanna Kingdom, Wat Phra Kaeo, the original site of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Sing, the original site of Phra Phuttha Sihing, now enshrined at Wat Phra Sing in Chiang Mai. Phra That Doi Thong, the site of 108 city pillars, and Up Kham Museum and Hill-tribe Study Center.
With time to spare, you can use Highway No.1 to Mae Sai District at the border with Myanmar, with sites to visit such as Doi Mae Salong and Doi Tung.

Lampang – Phayao – Chiang Rai Map Thailand

Category: Chiang Rai, Lampang, Phayao