Thailand's North


Global Mark : 13.15

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 


3 2 2 4 3 3 3 2 2 10.67

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
8 100% (8) 38% (3) 100% (8) 14 to 19 15.63

Description : 
Referred to as the horse cart city, Lampang is a fairly up market relaxed kind of place by the Wang River, home of some impressive temples and a big Chinese community.

Comments : A bit off the backpacker track, people still turn their head here at the sight of a westerner. Even so it is possible to visit as a day trip from Chiang Mai, an overnight stay would be a better way to enjoy your relative isolation.

What to do ? On your way from Chiang Mai (1.5 hours away), stop at the Elephant Conservation Center (B80) for one of the daily tourist show (10 & 11am plus 13:30 on WE & holidays) / Once at the station, call TT&T Guesthouse for a free ride toward your nice room / See tourists having an expensive tour on colorful horse carts (around B100 for 15mn) / Visit Wat Phra Thart Lampang Luang, the most impressive temple of North Thailand, well worth the effort going to / Next door, see another Emerald Buddha House / Back in town, visit other impressive Wat, in particular Wat Prakaew Dontao, where the Emerald Buddha (now in Bangkok) was also once housed / Get up to Wat Mon Phraya Chae for a view of the town / Buy ceramics as Lamping, with 10,000 fabrics, is the ceramic capital of the world / Enjoy being one of the few traveler / Hike Wang Kaew Waterfall's mountain to meet Yao hill tribe people (130km away) / Also some distance away, impressive caves (Phathai Cave or a newly discovered one at Doi Pratupha with a 3000 years old 130 meter drawing) and the Jae Sorn National Park & Hot Spring (70km away) could keep you busy a few more days / Otherwise, just relax (maybe with a massage ?) 

What you may not like ? The accomodation costs and the shortage of travelers places / The cost of songthaews from the bus station (B10 to Center, B20 to TT&T) and the need to bargain / The busy main streets / Seeing that the ceramics you bought at home are much cheaper here... 

How long ? For the major sights, one busy day would be just fine. But to visit more remote places...

Where to stay ?  

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

Very easy to choose as there is only one real traveler guesthouse in town : 

  • TT&T (054 225361), 55 Pahmai Rd, on the north-east side of town, next to the river / Call Tom for a free ride from the bus station or pay B20 for a songthaew / Dorm (2) 80, Sgl 120, Dbl 200, Trpl 240 / Bikes 40, Motorbike 100 to 400 / Go there for the nice setting & atmosphere, the clean & comfortable teak rooms, the cheapest bed in Lampang (if not full, you should actually get a room for 80), to spot a huge resident lizard / What you may not like : not really having other choice, the distance from the bus station, the future bigger dorm (6 beds), the dim lights
  • Sri Sangar Hotel (217070), 213-215 Thanon Boonyawat, opposite Kim Hotel in the town center / Sgl or Dbl w. shower 100 or 180 / Go there for the cheapest Sgl in town (except if TT&T charges you 80 only), the well furnished big rooms, the central location / What you may not like : the noise from the street, the total lack of charm of the rooms and old concrete building, not communicating too well with the management
  • The Riverside Guesthouse (227005), 286 Talat Kao Rd / A more luxury alternative in a very nice teak house by the river / Room 200, w. HW shower 250, w. great terrace 350 / Belgium-Italian management / Good restaurant 

Backpacker's Tips : Tom, Thailand (April 07)
Please replace the old address of TT&T Guesthouse Lampang by this: 82 Phamai Rd. Wiang Nhua Subdist. Muang Dist. Lampang. Phone numbers are 6654-221303, 6681-4729827 and 6684-6178183. The price is 200-350 Baht/night with fan or air-condition. The location is on the same road of the old one, near the Chang Puek bridge and Pratoo Pong Temple. 

How to visit Lampang Luang ? If you stay at TT&T, they may have a map ready for you by the time you read this. Otherwise, Tom will nicely draw one, one more time : take a songthaew from Rachawong Rd in the market to Kor Kha (B15, 30mn). The temple will be about 4 km away. Motorbike taxi should cost B20 but you could easily get a free ride once you are on the right direction (cross the bridge, turn right, wave your hand down to stop a pick-up truck and say thank you)

 << Discover Lampang Luang 

Bus Schedules :

To Price Class Duration Time Nb Freq.
Chiang Mai 34 fan 2 24 hours a lot 30mn
Phrae 37/66 fan/ac 2 8 to 18:30 a few hour
Nan 71/100 fan/ac 2 8 to 18:30 a few hour
Chiang Rai 71 fan 5 5:30 to 17 a few hour
Sukhothai 81/146 fan/ac 3 6:30 to 21:30 a few hour

The trip to Phrae : SSS / R / B37 / 2 hrs / fan 
I had been told the day before that the bus was leaving at 8:30, bought a ticket for a 8:00 bus and eventually departed at 8:20. Better learn to be flexible with bus schedules in Thailand ! A nice ride on an old bus with very narrow seats, with a 20mn rest-time 20km away from Phrae...

See also the trip from Chiang Mai