Lanna Kingdom HIGHLIGHTS
The ancient Lanna culture continues to be very much alive in many cities in Northern Thailand. Visit Lampang, a charming town in a region that is still dreamy with a rather turbulent history. Discover traces of diverse tangible and intangible cultural heritage aspects, that include British, Burmese, Siamese and other influences while soaking in the beauty of nature, small villages and friendly locals. Continue to Nan city, the last independent kingdom in Thailand and rich with tradition, character and natural beauty.
The must-do’s in this region
Lampang Legends & Impressions
Start your day by visiting the city pillar shrine, a walk through the local morning market and learn about the exotic products that are being sold by the villagers and farmers from the region. Only a few steps away is the Lampang Museum, which gives great insight to the history and legends of the town, and a former residence of the teak trader. After exploring the town, we will continue by car to the world’s first elephant hospital, where the majestic giants are taken care of – a much needed facility that does not include any riding or staged activities, but a very special learning experience instead. Enjoy a local lunch in a very quiet village setting, dress up like a mahout, learn about Thai herbs and understand the sports culture of Lampang.
The must-do’s in this region
Wake up with the Roosters – A Thai Morning
Early mornings in Thailand come with a soothing and relaxed vibe, while the locals wake up and start their day. You will meet your guide at your hotel for an early stroll at the morning market, which will already be surprisingly busy at an early hour. Purchase some tasty food as a morning snack and food to offer to the monks during their morning routine of receiving alms from the community. We will go for a short walk to Wat Phumin, where your guide will explain to you more about this ritual and how to respectfully perform the alms giving.
Lampang by night
This evening is going to be all in the light of myths and legends the town has to tell. Let’s get the night started with a stroll around the old town, listen to the stories from your guide and watch a traditional fire dance will be held in your honour. End your night with a delicious dinner in one of the towns foodie institutions, a selection of several local dishes in a very relaxed setting of an old wooden house.
Ranger’s Trek and Vodka Distillery
En route from Lampang to Nan, we will stop at a National Park often overlooked yet welcomes visitors with a scenic road through the mountains, soft trekking routes without the crowds, and enthusiastic forest rangers that will take you on a short patrol. Your simple lunch will be ready at the ranger’s station, where you will also learn more about the smart patrol and other monitoring the rangers do for conservation purposes. We will continue driving through country roads until reaching a local distillery, following the village tradition of producing “Lao Khao”, a rice spirit and taste some of their best drinks.
Countryside Vibes – A Rural Discovery
The real charm of Northern Thailand is often found in the rural regions, where farmers grow their rice and other crops, relax during the hot hours of the day and make use of natural produce as much as possible. You will be going on a rural discovery along local farms, hilly vistas and friendly locals, while your guide will explain to you more about the agricultural life and related challenges. Your picnic lunch will be served in one of the traditional farmer huts. In the afternoon we visit the impressive Nan Riverside Gallery, where contemporary art meets local artists
Getting to know the Nan people
Nan city was an independent state for a long time and has a rich cultural history. Today we take you out to get to know some of the inhabitants and their traditions. We start with a visit to an old wooden palace and learn more about one of the noble families of Nan. We continue for a stroll to downtown and then meet a local family at their home for an early home cooked dinner including a typically Nan dish.
History of Lanna royalty, hidden Doi Suthep temples, 90 years old Khao Soy and a prison break
An introduction to Chiang Mai including its royal history and a visit to the mausoleums of Chiang Mai descendants and a stunning stupa. During this half day the guide will tell you all insights on the colourful history and we visit some of the hidden temples on the Doi Suthep mountain including a short walk (30 min) through the forest over the ancient monk trail and a discovery of 600 years old ancient temple ruins. The old Chiang Mai palace was destroyed a long time ago and replaced by a prison; right opposite this spot we bring you for a relaxing foot massage given by female prisoners as part of a program to reintegrate them into society. A beautiful project that gives you and them a real prison break 🙂. We start or end the tour with typical Lanna noodle dishes in a restaurant that has been in business for over 90 years.
This evening you will be picked up by Songthaew, a typical Thai mode of transportation, to explore the town from different perspectives. Hop on and enjoy the ride through the old town, where we will talk with monks to give them an opportunity to improve their English and visit some of the ancient Lanna temples. We sample some of the best street food popular with the locals and stroll through the city with your personal local host. As the sun slowly sets, we will sit and sip a drink to welcome the night – which we will be spending in small hidden bars that are home to talented young musicians. A fun night out – as wild as you wish!
A day in the Chiang Mai country side
We take you out of the town area into the mountains and the national park area for an active day out exploring flora and fauna and a bit of history. We start with a temple built in the country side by the last princess of Chiang and still a popular visit spot for local people. Onwards we take a detailed look into the life of tropical Thai insects at the Siam Insect Zoo was set-up by a Thai entomophile. Our next stop is a visit to Khun Sathit and his 4 elephants. A few years back, he realised that shows or elephant riding was not sustainable, yet he didn’t want to abandon his family elephants. To ensure the elephants and their mahouts well-being we can nowadays walk with the elephants through the jungle, learn about their life and help the mahout washing the elephant to check for possible wounds. A typical local mahout lunch is served.