A guide to the unknown: going to the north of Thailand

Summer is a great opportunity to explore the north of the kingdom, where nature reaches its peak. And most travelers associate this region of the country exclusively with Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, although some will definitely remember Mahongseong with its Burmese Lanna temples and hot springs. What about a full immersion in the North with the provinces of Nan, Phre and Phayau?


A measured life flows here as usual: a quiet and peaceful province is located in close proximity to the border with Laos. The province is considered one of the most underrated places in the region: despite its special charm, most tourists choose more developed locations in terms of infrastructure. The undeniable advantages of Nana are its rich culture and unique history, influenced by neighboring kingdoms, including Sukhothai. Speaking of culture, it is definitely worth coming here for those who want to live in close contact with local communities and tribes to look at their way of life and observe how rice and fruits are grown.

There are many impressive temples waiting for you in the center of Nana. After a walk through the sights, you can stop at one of the restaurants on the riverbank (for example, at Huen Chao Nang). After tasting the cuisine of the North, head outside the city to see the famous relics of the Buddha, which are kept in Wat Phra That Khao Noi at the top of Doi Khao Noi. The temple was built in 1487: from its observation deck there is a breathtaking view of the city.

Art lovers will love the Nan Riverside Arts Space, and those who prefer outdoor recreation in the Xi Nan and Doi Samer Dao National Parks. Sports fans should also get ready: fans of an active lifestyle come to the Wa River to practice rafting.


From the late 1880s to the 1940s, Phre was famous as a teak supplier province. During the logging boom, many houses and mansions made of valuable wood were built here — guests of the region should definitely see with their own eyes the house of Governor Khum Chao Luang, the Wong Buri Mansion and Ban Pratup Tea. Fans of military history will be interested in visiting the Seri Thai Museum, which in former times was the home of the leader of the Siamese resistance during World War II.

For those who have managed to be fascinated by the atmosphere of Phuket’s old town, it is definitely worth seeing the old town of Phre: take a day to stroll through its atmospheric streets with beautiful wooden buildings. Don’t forget to try street food at the Pratu Chai Night Market and take a look at the craft workshops on the outskirts of the city where tin chok fabric is produced.

An interesting fact: The locals believe that you have not been to Phre if you have not visited Wat Phra That Cho Hai Temple, where the relics of the Buddha are also kept. In spring, an annual festival is held here, during which the inhabitants of the province make offerings to the monks.


The popularity of Phayau among tourists is due to its location on the lake shore and convenient transport accessibility to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. There are not many architectural and cultural attractions here, but there are many picturesque hills and valleys in the vicinity of the city.

The main attraction of Phayau is considered to be Kwan Phayau, the largest freshwater lake in the north of the country. Loi Krathong festivals and Buddhist festivals are held here. At the bottom of the lake are the ruins of the ancient Wat Tilok Aram temple, built in the 14th century, long before the lake was formed on this site. It will not be difficult to find the temple due to the small island with relics and a statue of Buddha located above it: you can get here by boat. There are several decent establishments on the shore: gourmets are advised to try tilapia fish cooked with herbs and salt on the grill.


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