3 Days Nan: the Hidden Gem of Thailand
3 Days Nan: the Hidden Gem
WHY THIS TOUR?
Nan stays well off the beaten path in Thailand: scenic and remote, the capital of the province bearing the same name is well-known domestically for its old architecture, it charming location inside captivating natural splendour, and for its tranquillity. The region has developed its own culture and often intricate values, after received its kingdom status that are omnipresent and can certainly boast as being unique.
It is particularly the ample presence of tropical lushness that draws an increasingly larger crowd to Nan – after all, the mountains and forest regions make up for almost 75% of the whole province. For 3 days, we will reward you with what’s best described as a step back in time, with Buddhist relics that are dotted around the ever-present Nan River.
Bangkok – Nan [L]
The approximately 1-hour flight in northern direction by a low-cost Thai carrier (excluded) will safely bring you to one of Thailand’s finest definitions of an authentic side of Thailand. Upon arrival at the quaint domestic terminal of Nan airport, you are warmly welcomed by an English-speaking guide who will be the ambassador for the coming days. From the airport, you’ll be driven to a local restaurant for lunch.
Nan is an expansive province bordering Laos and a great destination for ecotourism activities with a number of national parks, including Doi Phu Kha which contains a vast landscape of limestone mountains and waterfalls and Khun Nan National Park, which is heavily forested and home to abundant wildlife.
Lunch is included at a local restaurant
We commence our afternoon with visiting the abandoned Wat Ming Muang, founded by the former ruler of the Nan Kingdom, Chao Anantaworaritthidej, dating back to 1857. Home of Nan’s most auspicious city pillar (the name Ming Muang is translated as City Pillar), the Wat Ming Muang takes a prominent spot for locals and visitors in downtown Nan. With traditional Lanna-design elements, fine woodwork carvings and various Buddha images on display, this mid-19th century temple has its own story to tell for those interested. Next, Wat Phumin has to be the most famous temple of them all. Famed for its ancient mural wall paintings called Pu Man-Ya Man, in Thai Lu style, Nan’s Wat Phumin is one of the more striking temples in this small town. Considered to be highly valuable and depict legends concerning the Lord Buddha as well as local legends and the local way of life, 16th century Wat Phumin’s downtown location makes it also a revered place for worshipping for the local community.
Temples with a different vibe, such as the Sukhothai-inspired Wat Chang Kham Woravihan, inscribed in Nan’s history books as the town’s oldest temple and a fine example of how Lanna and Thai Lu temple styles blended together, and the mountain temple of Wat Pratardnoi, seen as the main landmark for Nan because 9-metre tall Buddha statue, standing on a lotus, permanently giving its blessing over the town, complete the first day.
Those with some energy left should definitely explore the town by bicycle before calling it a night. Nan is teeming with local allure: as the provincial capital, it is an attractive destination due to its riverside setting, ancient temples and a rich Tai Lue heritage. Dinner is on own arrangement.
Overnight in Nan
Nan [B, L, D]
Before the sun has set, it is highly recommendable to join your guide and the local community for an alms giving experience in Nan. Morning rituals nearby one of Nan’s main temples are amongst the most sought-after experiences when wanting to witness local alms giving in town. Located just a short distance away from your accommodation, alms giving is and remains the way to witness the austere lifestyle of monks and novices, living and learning according to the teachings of the Lord Buddha.
After breakfast at your hotel, day 2 starts with a visit to the Wat Nong Bua. This highly revered Buddhist temple is an ancient sanctuary built by Thai Lue who migrated from Sib Song Pan Na Province in South China and famous for its mural paintings which reflect the social status of people in that time especially in aspect of ordinary people. The temple also has the reproduce of Thai Lue ancient home where inside displays Thai Lue appliances in daily living, making it both a cultural and religious sight of importance. A visit to Nan will not be complete with entering the village borders of Nong Bua Thai Lue Village, famous for its handwoven fabrics. The hand-woven patterns in cloths, sheets and dresses are seen across the country. Aside from seeing these villagers practice their art, a walk through Nong Bua Thai Lue Village gives visitors an insight in the lives of these hospitable people.
With enough historical heritage now taken under the loop, the day will follow the path of natural beauty with visits to the primeval forests of Doi Phuk Ka National Park. Known for its expansive tapestry of trees and vegetation across the mountain slopes, Nan’s Doi Phu Kha National Park is a natural treasure in one of northern Thailand’s least-visited provinces. The largest national park in terms of size, it is located in the north-eastern part of the region, bordering with Laos along the Mekong River. Well-marked trails along some of the park’s scenic parts offer ample hiking activities for the more adventure-minded.
Lunch is included at a local restaurant
The afternoon starts with a visit to Bo Klua. Located 100 kilometres northeast of Nan, the mountain village of Bo Kluea is renowned for its salt winning techniques. For centuries, the villagers are using the salt water streams as a thriving business venture. Up until today, traditional and unique means to win the salt from the endless supply continues to bring a steady income for its inhabitants.
Late in the afternoon, we head back to downtown Nan for dinner at a local restaurant before ending another day in amazing Nan.
Overnight in Nan
Nan – Bangkok [B]
Breakfast is included your hotel
The final day of your Nan experience; after breakfast, we check out of the hotel and head straight to Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng. Seen as the town’s most important and respected temple, the 14th century Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng in Nan can be seen from afar. Located on the other side of the Nan river, the temple is said to contain a Buddha relic inside its golden stupa. With architectural elements from the Thai Lu and Lanna still visible, the Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng not only is visited to admire the temple from all corners, it is also offers a great vantage point for views over Nan’s lush surroundings.
It is time to head back to Nan Airport for your flight back to Bangkok (domestic air tickets not included).