The city of Lampang, or Nakhon Lampang is the third largest city in northern Thailand but with a population of less than 63,000, it still has the charm of other smaller cities in the north of Thailand. The fact that it’s bus station , train station and airport are all located less than 4 km from the city centre speaks to not only its accessibility but also to the compact size of this charming city.
This was my first trip to Lampang, prompted by a travel plan to get myself to Chiang Rai while avoiding the now commercialised Chiang Mai but without jumping completely over places I haven’t visited before. The slow pace, friendly people and inexpensive cost of living, combined with the number of local sites easily accessible by bicycle, it has turned out to be a good choice.
The accommodation options are appealing, my choice being the Pin Hotel which is centrally located and less than 1 minutes walk from Aroy One Baht, the most popular restaurant in town. I visited the Khao Soi place recommended by this Thai Foodie website but also found a better noodle soup in Kad Kong Ta Noodles located in Talad Gao Rd, lined with old wooden buildings and a very rustic and funky feel – Google Map link
The horse carts were very popular with domestic tourists but I opted for a rental bicycle to take in the scenes, including the site most recommended by the Thailand Tourist Authority staff (and most travel guides) Wat Chedi Soi Lang, located about 5 km out of town and well worth the ride. The more centrally located Wat Pong Sanuk is nothing spectacular but I was lucky enough to see a young man practising his dancing.
Wat Chiang Rai is a white coloured Temple with silver adornments and embedded mirors which, when viewed in the late afternoon sun can be quite dazzling.
Wat Sri Rong Muang is probably also worth a visit, just for the irony of the fact it was built by Burmese tree loggers (employees of a British Company) as a way of making merit after offending the forest by taking away its trees – but – it’s claim to fame is being built from wood.
The highlight for me though was to take a wrong turn and end up cycling along a river front path and coming across a Carriage Repair business where I could see a man building a wooden spoked and rimmed wheel for the local horse drawn carriages. I entered and asked to take a photo and this resulted in my being shown around and then given a ride in the wooden, horseless carriage (powered by a motorcycle engine) that the owner had built. It was just a delightful experience to see someone working to keep a dying art alive and to take such enjoyment out of someone being interested in what he was doing. Well worth a visit – Google Map link