Many people have visited Chiang Mai in Thailand, but did you know that there are other interesting cities and regions in Northern Thailand that are often overlooked by tourists. We were recently invited to join an International group of Expat Ambassadors to discover the charms of the Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Son Provinces of Northern Thailand for a Northern Thailand Tour.
This 4-day tour was hosted by a group of Thai Government and Non- Government agencies to promote Northern Lanna Long-Stay.
What we discovered were regions of stunning beauty, impressive attractions and friendly northern hospitality.
- Northern Thailand Tour – Lamphun – Lampang Provinces
- Thai Elephant Conservation Centre
- Lampang Cardiac Center, Lampang Hospital
- Dhanabadee Ceramic Museum
- Lampang Carriage Ride
- Welcome for Expat Ambassadors of Northern Thailand Tour
- Getting to Lamphun and Lampang
- Where to stay in Lampang
- Summary of Expat Ambassadors for Northern Thailand Tour
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Northern Thailand Tour – Lamphun – Lampang Provinces
We began our journey by driving south of Chiang Mai, to the city of Lamphun, here we visited the Wat Phra That Hariphunchai.
The Wat Phra That Hariphunchai is a Buddhist temple complex that dates from the 9th and 11th century and is said to enshrine Buddha’s hair.
The main hall is richly decorated with colourful Buddhist wall paintings. The red and gold roof and blue and gold pillars reflect the light that shines on the golden Buddha’s giving them an ethereal glow.
The complex has many fine pagodas that are intricately carved and decorated and frame Wat Phra That Hariphunchai’s main attraction, a spectacular 46 metre high golden Chedi.
The Wat Phra That Hariphunchai complex is a haven of peace, tranquillity and beauty.
Thai Elephant Conservation Centre
Our next stop was the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre.
The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC) is under Royal patronage and is known for its pioneering work in conservation and science. With its own onsite hospital and mobile clinic, sick elephants are given treatment then returned to the forest to make a full recovery.
The elephant show demonstrates the strength, agility and fun side of these majestic creatures. Our favourite part of the show was watching an elephant relaxing and enjoying himself in a pool of water, he was having so much fun while being hosed down by his handler.
The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre have overnight homestays for guests who would like a one on one experience with the elephants.
The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre is in a lovely setting of lakes, picnic areas, souvenir shops, restaurants and is surrounded by thick forest.
We had an enjoyable lunch at the Thai Restaurant where we got to spend more time with the other Expat Ambassadors.
Lampang Cardiac Center, Lampang Hospital
Our tour not only promoted tourist attractions but services for those considering a long stay or retirement in Thailand.
Our next stop was Lampang Cardiac Center at Lampang Hospital. We had the pleasure of talking to the Hospitals Assistant Director Atistarn Wangyai and were given quick tour of the hospital.
Before Lampang Cardiac Center opened, 3 people a day would lose their lives before reaching a hospital in Chiang Mai 1 ½ hours away.
The Rotary Club of Lampang stepped in and raised funds to buy equipment and with additional funding, Lampang Cardiac Center has now become one of the leading hospitals for open heart surgery and cardiac care in Thailand.
We found the tour informative and welcome news for anyone considering living in Thailand.
Dhanabadee Ceramic Museum
From the traditional chicken bowl to the more modern ceramics, I love the Dhanabadee Ceramic Museum!
Lampang is famous for its ceramics, when you drive down the streets of Lampang you will find Lampangs famous chicken bowl everywhere.
The chicken bowl is a noodle bowl that has been popular in Thailand for generations. The bowl is decorated with a flower, banana tree and rooster that is said to symbolise hard work and fighting spirit.
If you are into something more modern, there are a range of ceramic home-wares in different styles and textures that would suit any home, and best of all are the prices.
At the Dhanabadee Ceramic Museum you will see demonstrations of ceramic moulding, painting and firing which are fascinating to watch.
Lampang Carriage Ride
Arriving in Lampang we were taken for a ride in brightly decorated horse drawn carriages. Lampang is the only city in the world to use horse drawn carriages in everyday life.
It was a lot of fun and a great way to see Lampang. Passing schools, markets and shops, friendly locals waved and smiled as we made our way through the streets.
We were impressed with what we saw of Lampang, its wide roads, easy flow of traffic and first class medical facilities, make it an attractive long stay destination.
Welcome for Expat Ambassadors of Northern Thailand Tour
Our group met in the function room of the Lampang Wiengthong Hotel, where we were welcomed to Lampang by local dignitaries from Lampang Province.
We discussed tourism with local businessmen and discovered an area with a wealth of attractions.
Whether you are interested in culture, local handicrafts, hot springs, waterfalls or national parks Lampang should be on everyone’s list for places to visit in Thailand.
Getting to Lamphun and Lampang
Tours from Chiang Mai to Lamphun and Lampang can be booked at most hotels. Lampang is well serviced by bus, train and plane.
Where to stay in Lampang
Lampang Wiengthong Hotel
Our hotel for the night during our Northern Thailand tour was the Lampang Wiengthong Hotel. The lobby was welcoming and decorated in the Thai style.
The rooms were large and comfortable and had sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. The shower was hot and strong and there was a western toilet. The Hotel has a pool and room service.
We enjoyed our stay at Lampang Wiengthong Hotel.
Summary of Expat Ambassadors for Northern Thailand Tour
We had a fantastic day, we visited interesting attractions, learnt more about healthcare in Thailand, discovered breathtaking beauty at the Wat Phra That Hariphunchai and made new friends.
We couldn’t wait to see what the second day of our tour from Lamphun and Chiang Mai to Pai had in store for us…