Lampang Travel Guide
Introduction to Lampang
Situated little more than an hour south of Chiang Mai by road, Lampang offers a taste of life in Northern Thailand, minus the busyness of the former destination. With most tourist traffic going to The Rose of the North, you’ll be able to enjoy this town’s temples, museums, and markets without having to deal with the annoyances that arise when you have a ton of foreigners around.
Cultural Attractions in Lampang
While it is a smaller town in Northern Thailand, Lampang is home to a number of significant Buddhist temples. Start your tour by visiting Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Considered by experts to be one of the most beautiful Lanna-style temples in Thailand, this hall of worship was constructed out of wood in 1476, making it the oldest building of its kind in the entire country. Within, you’ll also find a relic of the Buddha, as it is said that a strand of his hair was encased in a chedi on the temple grounds when it was built centuries ago.
Once you have gotten all the photos you can muster at Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, move along to Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao. Founded in the 15th century when the Mon ruled the Lampang area, this temple was one of several which hosted the legendary Emerald Buddha image over the past five centuries. The design of this hall of worship takes inspiration from the Lanna, Burmese, and Shan styles, making visiting this structure a treat for fans of Asian architecture.
Looking for one more Buddhist sight to round out a day of sightseeing? Make time in your schedule for Wat Pong Sanuk. A more recent addition to the collection of temples in Lampang, this gorgeous structure was built in 1886 by Burmese teak loggers. Employing Burmese, Chinese, and Lanna styles of construction, the winner of the 2008 UNESCO Award of Merit will amaze you with design elements ranging from its golden pagoda to its Reclining Buddha.
Those wanting to visit something cultural that isn’t a temple while in Lampang will want to drop by the Dhanabadee Ceramic Museum. Throughout your travels in Thailand, you’ll come across many bowls emblazoned with chickens – while some are now made by other producers, the original maker of this style of bowl came from the Dhanabadee ceramic shop in Lampang.
During business hours, this museum will let you into their workshop with a guide. They will walk you through the history of their operation and the steps involved in making this iconic piece of tableware. Like the pieces you see during your tour? There is a gift shop on the way out where you can take home a bowl of your own – if you spend 1,000 baht or more, the 100 baht entrance fee will be used as a discount against your total bill.
Other Attractions in Lampang
While Northern Thailand is in the tropics, mornings during the dry season can be a touch on the chilly side. On days like this, warm up by paying a visit to Chae Son National Park. Here, you’ll find pools where you can shake off the chills, cook eggs in the ones too hot for humans, and waterfalls where you can cool off if you are visiting on a hot day.
Back in the town of Lampang, make time to see Ban Sao Nak if your schedule allows. A 100-year-old house owned by a Thai noble lady, its 116 teak wood posts, antiques, silverware, and other period furniture make it an interesting trek into how life was for the upper class in Thailand in the 19th century.
Make time to go on a horse carriage ride through the streets of Lampang. A romantic activity favoured by many Thais on holiday, it is a chilled out and relaxing way to see the streets of this underappreciated Thai city. Often found outside the Pin Hotel, these horse carts can be hired for a minimum of 200 baht for three kilometres, but if you want a comprehensive tour, 400 baht will give you an hour to take in the sights of this town with your partner or travel friends.
Finish off your time in Lampang by taking a stroll through the Kad Kong Ta Street Market. While it features many of the crafts, food stalls, and entertainment that you will find at the Walking Streets put on in Chiang Mai, the scene here is orientated more towards Thais, making it a great place to go if you want to experience a Thai market sans farangs.