17 of the Greatest Issues to Do in Nan Province Thailand

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Aerial view of several green and yellow rice fields all different shapes with a couple of small huts dotted between them. Best things to do in Nan Province Thialand.

From chocolate workshops to epic mountain views… these are among the greatest issues to do in Nan province, Thailand.

There’s quite a bit to like on this quiet nook of Northern Thailand. Largely rural and sparsely populated, Nan’s gradual tempo of life and huge swathes of lush countryside are its greatest attracts. You can come right here simply to flee into nature and chill out, or wander the quiet capital’s leafy streets in quest of cute cafes and hidden gems.

However there’s additionally loads of tradition and historical past to find all through the province – and many enjoyable actions to maintain travellers busy!

Discover dazzling temples and be taught native historical past within the province capital, additionally known as Nan. Lose your self on the winding mountain roads of a sprawling nationwide park – stopping off at roadside viewpoints and unimaginable espresso outlets alongside the best way.

Uncover the tradition and historical past of the world’s distinctive ethnic teams and hill tribes, or be taught concerning the former Lan Na Kingdom which as soon as integrated most of Northern Thailand.

emily wearing denim shorts and a white short sleeved shirt sitting on a brown bean bag on a wooden terrace overlooking green farmland and paddyfields with mountains in the distance. there is a golden retriever sitting next to her on the wooden terrace and part of a grass frond roof overhead.
Epic views from the Yud Wela Cafe in Sapan village

No matter you’re into, there’s a lot to entice on this fascinating and surprisingly underrated province close to the Laos border.

What follows is an expanded model of my information to Nan Province – delving deeper into all the highest sights and points of interest within the area.

In the event you head to this stunning northern province, these are among the greatest issues to do in Nan…

Fast Record: Issues to do for those who Solely Have a Day or Two in Nan, Thailand

In the event you’re quick on time – right here’s a fast listing of the can’t-miss points of interest in Nan Thailand. You’ll discover extra data on each within the subsequent part.

Emily wearing a long orange flowery shawl and holding a straw hat in one hand walking towards a small two storey temple with the exterior covered in green and gold gems and carvings against a blue sky
Wat Aranyawat in Nan metropolis centre
  • Take a tram tour of Nan’s Outdated Quarter for a fast overview of the principle sights.
  • Swing by Wat Phumin to take a look at the murals on the metropolis’s most well-known temple.
  • Head to the village of Pua (one hours drive from Nan) to take a look at Wat Phuket and the Doi Silver Museum.
  • Take a chocolate workshop at Cocoa Valley Resort – or simply swing by to eat chocolate!
  • Plot a street journey round Doi Phu Kha Nationwide Park. Cease at viewpoints, go to an historic salt properly at Bo Kluea, and take a look at the waterfall within the sleepy mountain village of Sapan.

8 Issues to Do in Nan Metropolis, Thailand

1. Take a Tram Tour of Nan Metropolis Centre

For the right introduction to Nan and a fast overview of the Outdated City, hop aboard one of many Tram Excursions of town centre.

emily sitting in the drivers seat of a bright green painted electric tram on a road with a moped passing and a large cream temple behind with orange tiles triangle road. emily is wearing a floppy straw hat and an orange flowery shawl. the tram tour of nan town centre is one of the best things to do here.

These cute little open-sided trams are a good way to see the highlights of Nan’s compact Outdated City centre in a single afternoon. They’ll take you previous many of the main metropolis sights and temples, generally stopping for a short while so you may get down and take images.

Good to Know: The tram excursions depart from the vacationer workplace (reverse Wat Phumin). Excursions run twice a day at 10:30am and three:30pm and value 30THB per individual. They’re solely accessible in Thai in the meanwhile, but it surely’s nonetheless a enjoyable approach to discover and also you’ll get a great overview. Drop pins in your Google Maps to remind your self which spots you need to come again to throughout your journey.

2. Discover Nan Outdated City

wide empty road in a city with a single tuktuk on it next to a white stone wall in front of a large golden stupa in the old city of Nan

Nan’s Outdated Quarter is compact and quiet, so it’s simple to discover on foot or by bike. Take a stroll across the metropolis’s huge, tree-lined streets in quest of vibrant temples, glittering gold stupas, and different historic buildings.

Two of the principle temples within the Outdated City space, Wat Phumin and Wat Sri Panton, are listed afterward on this publish – however listed below are just a few of the opposite prime sights to look out for:

  • Nan Metropolis Wall – the stays of a historic stone wall which as soon as surrounded town.
  • Wat Phra That Chang Kham Worawihan – the “Temple of the Relic Supported by Elephants” (pictured above) options an enormous gold chedi which stands on a sq. base embellished with 24 elephant sculptures.
  • Wat Ming Mueang – an intricately carved white temple dwelling to town pillar.
  • Wat Hua Khuang – a nationwide historic monument with temples and pagodas constructed within the native Lanna artwork model.
  • Wat Aranyawat – my private favorite; a vibrant temple advanced which homes an enormous assortment of Buddha sculptures carved from wooden.

3. Uncover the Well-known Murals at Wat Phumin

close up of a section of an old mural with a mostly red background showing a group of women in traditional Thai dress whispering and talking to each other in front of a wall with part of a city visible behind

Wat Phumin is probably the most well-known and historic temple in Nan – and one of the crucial essential in northern Thailand. It was in-built 1696 by Phra Chao Jettabutrabhrama, then ruler of the Nan Kingdom, and was depicted on the outdated 1 Bhat banknotes (not in circulation).

The within of the temple is totally lined in intricately detailed Nineteenth-century murals depicting on a regular basis life in Nan, native folklore, and Buddhist legends.

Most well-known is the “Whispering Lovers” scene, an outline of a person whispering into his lover’s ear. You’ll see copies of this picture ALL over Nan Province, from wall decorations to cute cartoon variations on t-shirts. Native legend says that for those who declare your like to your associate in entrance of this mural, your love might be everlasting.

white thai buddhist temple with red tiled roof. in front is a statue of two lovers with the man whispering to the woman. the statue is surrounded by pink flowers
Statue of the Whispering Lovers at Wat Phumin

One wall of the murals exhibits scenes from the Buddhist Hell Realmwith some brutal punishments being dished out, presumably warning folks away from sure sins (like adultery). See for those who can work out which crimes match the punishments!

4. Admire the Golden Temple of Wat Sri Panton

emily wearing a long orange shawl with flower pattern walking towards a large temple completely painted bright gold in Nan Thiland.

Don’t miss the gorgeous gold temple of Wat Sri Panton when you’re exploring Nan. 

The temple is totally lined in intricate gold carvings, and the entry steps are flanked by two statues of seven-headed nagas (legendary dragon-like creatures).

close up of a section of a statue of a dragon like creature with several heads all carved from gold with a golden temple behind
Seven Headed Naga

Within the courtyard in entrance of the temple, you may also see a conventional lengthy boat. Held within the Nan River, the annual Nan Lengthy Boat Competition is likely one of the greatest cultural occasions within the province.

5. Expertise the Thai Ritual of Giving Alms

two thai women kneeling down at the edge of the street to pray after giving carrier bags filled with offerings to three thai bhuddist monks in bright orange robes. there are market stalls and a cyan coloured building behind them. things to do in nan thailand.

In the event you’re up and about at daybreak in Nan one morning, you’ll probably see quite a few Buddhist monks strolling the streets barefoot of their vibrant, saffron-coloured robes and holding small bowls or baskets.

That is a part of the Thai Buddhist ritual of every day Alms-Giving. Believers make choices of meals and different helpful objects, which the monks take again to their monastery to be shared. Flowers are additionally given for use as choices on the shrine.

Alms-giving is seen as a approach to make benefit and earn good karma on this life. On the similar time, supporting the monks means they don’t should work and may focus all their consideration on the pursuit of enlightenment. It’s a ritual that dates again to the time of the Buddha, so it’s definitely worth the early begin to witness.

Good to know: One of the best place to watch alms-giving in Nan is on the morning market within the city centre between 5am and 7am. If you wish to participate your self, purchase some meals or helpful home goods to provide as an providing. Locals guarantee me that international guests are welcome to take part, so don’t really feel uncomfortable. The monk I gave alms to was completely happy to see us all and didn’t appear to thoughts in any respect that I’m not a practising Buddhist.

6. Study Extra at Nan Nationwide Museum

paved walkway with pink-grey stone tiles running between a tunnel of twisted frangipani trees with twisted branches curling over the path and a dense layer of green leaves overhead
Don’t miss the attractive Frangipani Tunnel in entrance of the museum

Delve slightly deeper into native historical past on the Nan Nationwide Museum. Sadly, this was closed throughout my go to – but it surely appears to be like like an incredible place to find the fascinating historical past of Nan Province and its folks.

It’s housed in an imposing yellow-painted constructing which was as soon as the residence of a neighborhood nobleman, and later the city corridor. The grounds of the museum are significantly pretty – particularly the beautiful tunnel of frangipani bushes (a well-liked photograph spot!).

7. Don’t Miss the Smallest Temple in Thailand!

tiny stone shrine or temple with a carved triangular roof and a tiny gold statue of a buddha in the opening. the temple is in front of a large leafy tree

Additionally on the grounds of Nan Nationwide Museum, don’t miss the smallest temple in Thailand: Wat Noy. This tiny construction on the foot of a banyan tree is so small you’ll be able to’t even go inside.

It was constructed for King Rama V when he visited town within the late 1800s. The story goes {that a} nobleman instructed the king that town had another temple than it truly did, so this tiny one was rapidly thrown up to make sure that the king had the proper quantity!

Inside are a number of rows of tiny carved monks. My information instructed me it’s the presence of those monks that makes Wat Noy a temple moderately than a shrine.

8. Step Again in Time on the Noble Home

Thai woman in front of the Noble House, a large wooden two storey house build from dark teak wood and surrounded by green leafy bushes and trees in Nan province, Thailand.
Inventory picture as I sadly didn’t have time to go to the Noble Home.

Hong Chao Fong Kham – aka the Noble Home – is a 150-year-old mansion constructed from teakwood within the conventional Lanna model. At this time, it homes a small museum that includes a set of antiques and artwork, and many desirable items of Lanna tradition comparable to costumes, weapons, and jewelry.

Sadly, I didn’t have time to go to the Noble Home on my journey, however from what I’ve learn it’s positively price popping in for those who’re fascinated with native tradition and historical past.

9 Issues to do in Nan Province, Thailand

9. Take pleasure in all Issues Chocolatey at Cocoa Valley

close up of a white square plate with a small pile of square brownies on it drizzled with chocolate sauce with a large blob of whipped cream next to them

In the event you love chocolate as a lot as I do, you NEED to go to Cocoa Valley Resort within the Pua district. About an hour from town of Nan, this makes an incredible day trip.

Cocoa Valley is a beautiful lodge and resort set on its very personal cocoa farm. You possibly can go to the farm to be taught all about the place chocolate comes from. See cacao pods rising, style the fruit, and watch employees hand-sorting the dried cocoa nibs from the husks. You possibly can actually have a go at this your self.

hand with turquoise nails holding a large yellow cacao pod cut in hald to reveal the white fruit inside with troical trees out of focus int he background

Subsequent, head indoors for a chocolate-making workshop. Use melted chocolate and pure toppings to craft your very personal distinctive chocolate bar!

Don’t miss the restaurant and lodge

Even for those who don’t do the workshop, it’s price visiting the Cocoa Valley restaurant for some scrumptious chocolatey treats. I’m nonetheless occupied with these brownies! There’s additionally a small store promoting all-natural cocoa butter magnificence merchandise.

You possibly can even spend an evening at Cocoa Valley to actually indulge your inside chocoholic! The boutique resort has a number of stunning rooms boasting epic views of the plush countryside. Some actually have a bathtub on the balcony so you’ll be able to unwind beneath the celebs… maybe with a bar of chocolate or two?!

LEARN MORE: Click on right here to observe my Instagram reel of Cocoa Valley – together with contained in the lodge rooms.

10. Join With Nature in Doi Phu Kha Nationwide Park

Complex mountain ranges and clear sky on a sunny day from viewpoint 1715, Doi Phu Kha,Pua district,Nan, Thailand
Viewpoint 1715 (inventory picture because it was utterly misty once I visited)

Nan’s gorgeous pure landscapes are what makes this province so particular. And among the best locations to understand them is within the mountainous Doi Phu Kha Nationwide Park.

Sitting proper on the border with Laos, this sprawling nationwide park is dwelling to the tallest mountain in Nan Province: Phu Kha, at a top of 1980m above sea degree. The park can also be the one place in Thailand the place you’ll be able to see Chomphu Phu Kha, an extremely uncommon pink flower after which each the mountain and the nationwide park are named!

In the event you don’t have lengthy to discover, strive a mini street journey round Doi Phu Kha’s winding mountain roads*. Cease off at viewpoints such because the 1715 Viewpoint on the facet of Phu Kha Mountain, or the favored photograph spot on the snaking Road Quantity 3.

When you have longer, take into account spending an evening within the nationwide park to go stargazing. Rural Nan has fairly epic darkish skies anyway, so the sparsely populated nationwide park is a superb stargazing spot. There are a number of campsites inside the park – some even have small cabins for those who don’t have a tent (or simply favor an actual mattress).

*In the event you get journey sick, I like to recommend taking movement illness tablets earlier than heading into the park.

11. Go to the Sleepy River City of Pua

emily in a long navy blue dress with white flowers walking on a wooden bridge with green paddy fields beyond and mountains in the distance, there are two colourful silk decorations with long tails hanging up above the bridge in the foreground.

Take a day journey to the sleepy, sprawling district of Pua, an hour’s drive north of Nan. Sitting on the confluence of two rivers – the Pua and the Khwang – and surrounded by lush inexperienced countryside, it is a slow-paced, tranquil city that’s a pleasure to wander round.

Pua’s relaxed vibes are attractive sufficient, however the district additionally has a number of prime points of interest to get pleasure from – together with the hilltop Wat Phuket temple (see the following part).

Working from the foot of Wat Phuket, Phuket Strolling Road is a riverside avenue lined with outlets and stalls. It’s an incredible place to select up some yummy avenue meals or native souvenirs.

DON’T MISS Ban Tai Lue Cafe – a cute, shabby-chic riverside cafe with nice espresso and gorrrrgeous views of the sleepy paddy fields and distant mountains of the Doi Phu Kha Nationwide Park. The iced coconut latte is scrumptious!

12. Absorb the Views at Wat Phuket

two large pink heartshaped frames in front of a view of green countryside with distant mountains in Nan Province Thailand

One of many prime issues to do within the Pua district of Nan Province is to go to Wat Phuket. This vibrant, Lanna-style temple sits on the prime of a hill, having fun with glorious views over the inexperienced rice fields with mountains behind.

The views are so good that there are even some heart-shaped, Instagrammable frames on the temple grounds! Contained in the temple are some vibrant murals exhibiting scenes from the Buddha’s life.

13. Uncover Yao Tradition at Doi Silver Museum

close up of part of a large silver shield with several circles carved one inside the other and intricate carvings of flowers and landscapes in between each ring
Defend at Doi Silver Museum

Additionally in Pua district, don’t miss Doi Silver Manufacturing unit and Museum. The manufacturing unit was based by Mr Somchai Rungrachatawanit, who discovered the artwork of silver making from his father and grandfather.

Somchai opened a small museum at his manufacturing unit to showcase the tradition and heritage of the Yao folks, a tribal ethnic group discovered within the hills of northern Thailand.

Silver performs a major function in Yao tradition. Jewelry is given as items to infants at beginning, and should later used as a dowry for marriage. The museum is full of such jewelry, in addition to Yao costumes and different artefacts. Somchai instructed me that each time he sees a conventional design, he takes a photograph and tries to recreate it at his workshop – serving to to protect his tradition.

Don’t miss the manufacturing unit store at Doi Silver too! You possibly can decide up beautiful silver jewelry at glorious costs so it’s nice for purchasing presents and souvenirs!

14. Unwind within the Mountain Village of Sapan

wide slow moving river with calm water in between two banks covered with lush greenery and tropical trees with green mountains in the distance on a sunny day
Sapan is a sleepy river village with deliciously chilled out vibes!

On the far facet of the Doi Phu Kha Nationwide Park lies the sleepy riverside village of Sapan, surrounded by rice paddies and rolling inexperienced mountains. In the event you’ve been to Pai, close to Chiang Mai, it’s an analogous vibe – however with out the crowds of drunk backpackers!

One of many greatest attracts is Sapan Waterfall – a brief hike of about 20 minutes or so from the village. The summer time rains hadn’t kicked in but once we visited, so it wasn’t its typical spectacular self, however within the wet season (normally Could to October) this waterfall is properly definitely worth the stroll by the forest.

looking between gren bushes towards a small river with a grey rock cliff and a small waterfall emptying into th eriver
Sapan Waterfall isn’t fairly as spectacular within the dry season!

If you wish to actually get away from all of it, there are a number of glamping resorts and homestays dotted round Sapan village. I significantly liked the look of Sapan Dee View, the place cute safari tents had been tucked round a small rice paddy.

In the event you go to Sapan – DON’T miss Yud Wela Cafea wonderful hilltop espresso store overlooking the village and surrounding farms. There’s even a superbly Instagrammable picket terrace (see my photograph close to the highest of this publish!). Flop on a beanbag together with your espresso to get pleasure from what would possibly simply be the very best espresso store view I’ve ever seen on my travels!

small wooden terrace with a grass roof above a few brown beanbags on the edge of a hill overlooking a small village surrounded by farmland and rice paddies with green mountains in the distance
Yud Wela Cafe’s terrace is the right photograph spot!

15. Uncover Bo Kluea Pure Rock Salt Nicely

One of many extra distinctive points of interest in Nan is the pure rock salt properly within the village of Boi Kluea. Yep; salt – excessive within the mountains of landlocked Nan, miles from the coast!

large wood burning oven built from earth or clay with two metal pans filled with white salty water on top and two woven baskets hanging above that with large piles of salt in each
Conventional salt extraction course of

The principle properly within the village is 800 years outdated: a rickety contraption constructed to tug up the salt water from an underground spring.

The water is poured into massive metallic pans and boiled over a hearth to extract the salt. You can too purchase desk salt, salt crystals, and salt-based magnificence merchandise within the village. I picked up some lime-scented bathtub salts for an at-home Thai-style foot spa!

16. Take a Picture at Road Quantity 3

emily wearing denim shorts and a white short sleeved shirt walking away from the camera down the double yellow lines at the middle of a tarmac road which winds away over the hills into the distance
Road #3 is a superb photograph op within the Nationwide Park

Doi Phu Kha Nationwide Park is thought for its dramatically snaking mountain roads, and one of the crucial winding is Freeway 1081. Cease off on the viewpoint, known as Road Quantity 3 on Google, to snap a photograph of this iconic street.

You possibly can see visitors coming from far off – however PLEASE take care once you’re posing. It’s positively not price risking your life for this shot!

17. Attempt Northern Thai Delicacies

white china bowl filled with a yellow curry broth and cripsy fried noodles
Khao Soi is a must-try in northern Thailand

Followers of Thai delicacies will completely love Nan Province! The delicacies within the north of Thailand will be fairly completely different to the south – so there are numerous new discoveries to be made. These are just a few of the highest dishes to look out for…

  • Khao soi – egg noodles and hen (or pork) in a coconut curry broth, topped with crispy fried noodles. A must-try once you’re in Northern Thailand.
  • Lan Na-style Laab – a Lan Na tackle an iconic Lao dish: a chopped meat salad flavoured with floor chillies and different spices comparable to cumin, star anise, and cinnamon. There’s additionally a uncooked meat model known as laab dib, made utilizing chopped uncooked beef, blood, and chilli.
  • Sai Oua – a spicy pork sausage flavoured with pink curry paste and chilli.
  • Nam Prik Noom Kab Moo – pork crackling served with a inexperienced chilli dip.
  • Freshwater shrimp – seafood might not be simple to search out in landlocked Nan, however the abundance of rivers means you’ll find a number of freshwater fish and shellfish dishes. King River Prawns are a well-liked alternative – and, because the title suggests, they’re fairly big.
  • Freshwater fish – fashionable fish in northern Thailand embrace catfish, trout, and the bizarre-looking snakehead fish (I’ve to admit: I wasn’t a fan of that final one!).

Map of Issues to Do in Nan Province

Remaining Ideas

Escaping to a lesser-visited a part of Thailand isn’t at all times clean crusing. Employees and signage at points of interest could have restricted or no English, so figuring out what you’re will be difficult! That’s why I’ve made this information to the very best issues to do in Nan as detailed as potential.

That mentioned, there are numerous rewards to getting barely off the overwhelmed path. On the entire, I discovered Nan far more reasonably priced than the better-known components of Thailand. We barely noticed every other non-Thai vacationers throughout our journey, hardly ever had crowds at points of interest, and normally had the very best views all to ourselves.

Thailand is thought for its distinctive hospitality and welcoming folks, and Nan isn’t any completely different. It’s a ravishing, peaceable province with laid-back vibes, dramatic mountain views, tranquil rivers and luxurious countryside – in addition to a wealthy heritage and distinctive tradition to find.

Don’t miss Phrae

When you have extra time within the space, I strongly advocate visiting the neighbouring province of Phrae. If something, this distant little area is ever extra underrated than Nan.

Phrae is a superb place to find northern Thailand’s wealthy heritage and conventional crafts – comparable to Mo Hom indigo dye, bamboo hat making, teak buildings, and textile weaving.

Learn Extra

All the things you Have to Know About Visiting Nan Province

What to Eat in Chiang Mai

12 Issues to do in Phrae Thailand

Are there any extra nice issues to do in Nan Province, Thailand that I’ve missed off this listing? Scroll right down to share within the feedback!

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