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A province in Northern Thailand known for its Thai Elephant Conversation Center and horse-drawn carriages. The city dates back to the 7th century and is rich in archaeological evidence reflecting ancient civilizations of Hariphunchai, Lanna, and Burma.
Today, the horse carriages remain the city’s important means of transportation, as well as one of the city’s main attractions. Lampang is also one of Thailand’s major ceramics centers, reputable for its charmingly crafted cockerel-laden bowls, decoration sets, and handmade ceramic products. You can find many ceramics factories with outlets along highway 11, just be warned that your luggage could be overweight from all the ceramics goodies.
Lampang has a small airport with daily flights from Bangkok. Air-conditioned buses are a popular method of travel to Lampang; the buses leave from Mochit bus terminal in Bangkok and take about 8-9 hours, while buses from Chiang Mai take about 1-1.5 hours. The railway line from Bangkok to Chiang Mai passes through Lampang; the journey from Bangkok takes about 10-12 hours, and about 2 hours from Chiang Mai.
In the city the horse-drawn carriages are used as the main means of transportation. The songthaews (trucks with seating in the back) are more economical and better for more distant destinations. Bicycles are also popular and can be rented at many places.
Today, Lampang remains the only province in Thailand that still uses horse carriages as a means of transportation, with as many as 70 horse carriages in daily usage. During a horse carriage ride, visitors can admire the fantastic facades of the many teakwood houses. The especially impressive are the buildings of Ban Sao Nak and Ban Singka. There are commonly 2 city tours: the shorter trip is approximately 20 minutes with a 200 baht price tag, while the full city tour is 40 minutes at 350 baht. Visitors can also rent the horse carriages per hour, depending on the list of your itinerary.
The horse carriages are still made locally in Lampang, and if interested, you can visit the many villages where the carriages are produced.
Wat Sri Chum is the biggest traditional Burmese temple in Thailand, built in the year 1890 by Burmese craftsmen who were employed in the once flourishing Northern logging business. The main structure was a renowned beautifully crafted wooden pagoda. Unfortunately the building caught on fire, and only the original intricately carved entrance pillars remained. The temple’s most significant prayer hall seen today was restored to its original glory by craftsmen once again brought from Burma.
A fun fact of Wat Sri Chum is that the temple provides visitors with a lot of information in English, which is rare for most temples in Thailand, as well as having an English-speaking monk residing on site.
The significance of Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao is that the centuries old temple used to house the famous Emerald Buddha of Wat Phra Kaew for 32 years. The legend of the temple name had it that a monk found a large green gem in a watermelon and sculpted it into an emerald Buddha (watermelon in Northern language is Mak-Tao.) The sacred Phra Keaw Don Tao was later relocated and enshrined at Wat Phra That Lampang Luang until present day.
The large Burmese style chedi (multi-layered and cone-shaped) is believed to contain a strain of hair of Lord Buddha. In the big prayer hall of the temple, now a museum with relics from the Lanna Era, lies a large reclining Buddha statue.
The origin of the name literally translates to "Temple of Twenty Chedis" which is easy to understand once visitors see the 20 pagodas within in the compound. (You are considered to be in luck if you can count all 20 pagodas.) According to history, two monks paid a visit 2,000 years ago from India to spread the teachings of Buddha. The ruler then was so impressed that he asked for 10 strains of hair from each monk, placing one hair in each pagoda.
Besides the 20 pagodas, the temple is known for its highly priced 15th-century seated Buddha made of solid gold, the first golden Buddha to be enlisted as a national archaeological treasure. An interesting buy here is herbal medicines made by the residential monks, the most popular product being yah mòrng, similar to Tiger Balm.
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is a prominent historic temple in Lampang, and is considered one of the most exquisite and best preserved wooden temple in Thailand. A few of the elaborate original murals are centuries old, and the temple has a museum section which exhibits a remarkable collection of antique wooden utensils and rare valuable Buddhist artifacts. The temple also houses a highly sacred Phra Keaw Don Tao, the most significant jade Buddha statue in Lampang.
A very unique component of the temple is all the sand on the temple’s ground, signifies the importance of this grand temple of Lampang. The temple also has some delightful, yet quirky attractions to see: the upside-down reflection of the main shrine, and a footprint of Buddha (only to be visited by males.)
Located in a lush green forest, the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC) is more than just a touristy attraction. TECC is also reputable for its work in conservation and science, with a hospital facility dedicated to elephants.
Daily highlights of the visit are elephant riding, the elephant bathing show, and the elephant talent show.
The must-have souvenirs are goodies made by the elephants. One such souvenir is the paintings done by the gifted, well-trained elephants, a truly one of a kind keepsake where you also get the elephant-artist’s name, gender, and age. Another souvenir is handmade elephant dung paper ...yes, made from the elephants’ stool.
Chae Son National Park is a popular health destination, with beautiful waterfalls and natural hot springs. The most well-known hot springs is called Chae Son, with an average temperature of 73 celcius and a mild smell of sulfur. A fun popular activity for visitors at Chae Son pools is egg-boiling. There is also a pool area where the hot springs and cooler water from the waterfall meets, providing an ideal temperature for relaxation. The park also offers man-made mineral pools which uses the water from the natural hot springs. Soaking in the natural hot springs is known to have healing powers derived from its mineral content.
The national park provides 2 eco-system trekking routes, one is 1.5 hours and the other is 2.5 hours. The park also has many interesting caves to visit for leisure and educational purposes. Chae Son National Park is located 68 km north-east of Lampang and well worth a day trip for nature lovers.
The market was once a thriving commercial district with more than 100 years of history. The buildings in the area were a rich blend of Colonial, Burmese, Shan, and Chinese architecture due to the mix of nationalities living in the area. The impressive architecture is a big part of the market’s attraction, visitors come and admire the variety of classic buildings by day and enjoy what the market has to offer by night fall.
Gong Ta Market opens on the weekend from 5-10 pm and sells locally handmade products, local cuisine, and souvenirs.
Baan Sao Nak literally translating to “a house with many pillars” is a historic Burmese-Lanna structure built in 1895 with as many as 116 wooden teak pillars. If you want to appreciate the upscale living of the past, this beautiful Lanna teak house will take you back 100 years with its antique furniture and decor still intact.
Originally, the house used to be a place for welcoming honorary guests of the city. Now Baan Sao Nak is a private museum and also hosts dinner ceremonies, engagement parties, and weddings. The operational hours are from 10 am – 5 pm, with an entry fee of 50 baht.
Kiu Lom Dam has a scenic reservoir suitable for boating or rafting and attracts many visitors each year. Other than boating and rafting, things to see includes cliffs, caves, and a fishing village. Popular water activities like windsurfing and banana boat are also available. Kiu Lom Dam is also a famous place for fresh water delicacies, with a floating market and restaurants providing freshly caught fish, crabs, shrimps, and shell fish.
A day trip on a raft starts from 2,500 baht, while an overnight stay on a raft starts from 3,500 baht. Besides the raft, visitors can also stay at bungalows located on an island in the lake. If you want to see the scenery at a faster pace, you have an option of renting a long-tailed boat along the reservoir.
Over the months of November to February, during the night it is cool compared to the provinces of central Thailand. In contrast to other nearby provinces, Lampang is relatively dry, even during the rainy season. Therefore, the area can be visited without any problem throughout the year.