Hotels maps Festivals Transportation Golf Isan Provinces Northern Region Northern Region

larger text smaller A Guide to Northern Thailand Welcome to Northern

The North abounds with many natural attractions such as mountain scenery, caves, natural forests, ridges and deep, narrow, alluvial valleys, waterfalls, and lakes. It occupies an approximate area of 170,000 square kilometers. The temperature in mountainous area is cool enough to cultivate temperate vegetation and also allows tourists an alternative to escape the heat of the big city. Its natural appeal makes it a perfect destination for a variety of activities such as adventure namely rafting, trekking or elephant trekking, a peaceful escape with a touch of nature or even sport such as golf or cricket.

It is also a gateway to the neighboring countries, Laos and Myanmar. The region is also home to a patchwork of hill tribes-the Musers, Yao, Meo, E-kaw, and Karen who each possess their own distinctive culture and way of life. A home to one of the former capital city of Thai Kingdom, the region inherits long-preserved traditions, rich cultures, fascinating architecture, significant historical sites, monuments and temples such as Sukhothai Historical Park, the Doi Suthep Shrine in Chiang Mai and the Phra Buddha Chinarat image in Phitsanulok. Unique tribal and regional handicrafts are available for locals and tourists to keep memories of the visit. Thanks to the international airport in Chiang Mai which allows travelling to the region convenient. There is a wide range of accommodation from home stay to luxurious hotels and resorts to choose from.

Nankhon Sawan Chiang Mai Mae Hong Son Chiang Rai Kamphaeng Phet Lampang Lamphun Nan Phayao Phrae Phetchabun Phichit Phitsanulok Tak Uthai Thani Uttaradit Sukhothai Norther Region map  
Chiang Mai Chiang Mai (เชียงใหม่):
Province, some 700 km north of Bangkok, popularly known as the Rose of the North, is a fascinating example of merging the city's 700-year tradition with modern development.

Visitors can find handicrafts of silk, silver and other jewels, umbrellas and wood produced locally as timeless souvenirs. Since a few years one can find as well masterpieces of Thai contemporary art. Just 20 minutes out of the city the legendary Doi Suthep is located on a mountain, a famous Buddhist site not to be missed.

The province is mountainous and Thailand's highest peak Doi Inthanon (2575m) can be found here. Hill tribes of unique cultures enhance Chiang Mai's distinctive diversity. From the end of the 70s of the last century, mainly backpackers started to discover the beauty of the city and the province of Chiang Mai. Still today backpackers can find low-priced accommodation, however, luxury tourists won't miss anything since the opening of the first 5* Star hotels in and around the city.
Chiang Rai Chiang Rai (เชียงราย):
Chiang Rai, some 785 kilometers away from Bangkok is the northernmost province of Thailand. Scenic dense mountains, river valleys, hot springs, waterfalls, ancient settlements and historical sites, hill tribe villages such as Karen, Akha, Lisu, Meo and Muser, all can be found in Chiang Rai. Once the province became famous because of the renowned "Golden Triangle" where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand converge at the banks of the Maekong River. During the past years it became the gateway to Myanmar, Laos and Southern China.

The northernmost town of Thailand, Mae Sai on the Ruak River is the border to Myanmar. Rich in tourist attractions Chiang Rai remains until today a heaven for people looking for a rather laid holiday close to nature. Of course trekking is a highlight in one of the many National Parks and roads are perfect for bikers. The city of Chiang Rai was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom but soon was conquered by Burmese and only belongs to Thailand since the 18th century. The city's most honored temple is Wat Phra Keo.
Kamphaengphet Kamphaeng Phet (กำแพงเพชร):
Province, located in the lower north on the Bangkok - Chiang Mai highway. To its east are Ping River flatlands while the western areas are made up of high mountains lush with fertile forests where a number of national parks have been established.

Smaller and calmer than Sukothai, Kamphaeng Pet Histirical Park is a Unesco Heritage site since 1991 and home to many well protected ruins from the Sukothai period.
Lampang Lampang (ลำปาง):
Province is famous for his many monasteries and temples built in Burmese and traditional Lanna Thai style architectures and the wellknown one is Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. The symbol of the town are the horse-drawn carriages and known all over the world, is the Thai Elephant Conservation Center.

Less well-known tourist attractions in Lampang are the Wang Kaeo Waterfall and the Chae Son National Park, a compact yet charming park which combine a natural hot springs with large waterfalls. Due to its relatively dry climate winter can be cooler here than in other areas of northern Thailand.
Lamphun Lamphun (ลำพูน):
Lamphun is just 26 km away from Chiang Mai with an enchanting ambience of an old community. It hosts one of the north's most important temples, Wat Phra That Haripunchai. It is believed that in its chedi (stupa) one original hair of Lord Buddha was enshrined, dated to be in 897, probably the founding date of the Wat.

Lamphun is the most famous producer of Longans and a Longan Festival (งานเทศกาลลำไย) is held each year in August to promote this hugely popular product. There are the beautifully decorated Longan parades and Longan contests.
Mae Hong Son Mae Hong Son (แม่ฮ่องสอน):
Mae Hong Son, is a northern province bordering Burma and is one of the remotest provinces in Thailand. High mountains and deep valleys with no roads protected tiny villages until recently from the outside world. A few years ago roads have been built and there are even flights now to Mae Hong Son's tiny airport.

Today, Mae Hong Son is one of the dream destinations for visitors looking for peace and nature. Tourists are attracted to the area due to its breathtaking sceneries, pristine virgin forests, spectacular mountains, lush valleys, waterfalls and caves, indigenous wildlife and unique hilltribes. The province offers unspoiled charm and soft adventure opportunities like trekking and rafting.

Mae Hong Son is home to some beautiful temples built in traditional Burmese architecture, unusual outside of Burma. Pai district has now evolved as Thailand 'hippiest' hang-out and during the dry season, young Bangkokians flock to Pai village.
Nakhon sawan Nakhon Sawan (นครสวรรค์):
The city of Nakhon Sawan is located about 260 km north of Bangkok. On the way to Chiang Mai, you pass the city. There is a good highway to Nakhon Sawan, and by car you can reach the city in about 4 hours. By train is also very comfortable, it takes about 5 hours to get there.

The province, also known as "Pak Nam Pho" is where the rivers of Ping, Wang, Yom, and Nan converge and form the Chao Phraya River, the most important waterway of Thailand. It was named, according to the site, "Muang Chon Ta Wan". It is surmised Nakhon Sawan was built in the Sukhothai period.
Nan Nan (น่าน):
Nan about 668 kilometers north-east of Bangkok, is a rather relaxed little town in the remote valley of the Nan River in Northern Thailand. The area is still covered with dense jungle but arable land is used for agriculture. It is an ancient city steeped in history with its long association with both, Lanna-Thai and Sukhothai kingdoms.

The people of Nan descend from the Lan Changs (Laotians). Their ancestors moved to settle around present-day Pua district which is rich in rock salt deposits, about 700 years ago at the time when Sukhothai was becoming the kingdom of the Thais. They subsequently moved south to the fertile Nan River basin which is much more extensive.

Nan's history is deeply involved with its neighbors, in particular Sukhothai which played an important role in both political and religious terms before Nan became a part of Lanna, then Burma and now Thailand. Today Nan is still the home of numerous Thai Lue (ไทยลื้อ) and other hill tribes who retain highly interesting customs and traditions.
Phayao Phayao (พะเยา):
Phayao, about 691 kilometers from Bangkok is a peaceful province completely surrounded by mountains and as a result it has many beautiful and remote small valleys fascinating religions and ethnic sites. Dating back more than 900 years, it used to be an independent state with its own rulers before it became a part of the Lanna Thai kingdom in mid-14th century.

Phayao town is located on the banks of Phayao Lake in the valley of the Ing River. Three big mountains surround the valley, Doi Luang (1697m), Doi Khun Mae Fat (1550m) and Doi Khun Mae Tam (1330m).
Phrae Phrae (แพร่):
Phrae, some 550 kilometers from Bangkok is an old and important community of Northern Thailand. Phrae was founded after Chiang Mai had been established as the capital of the Lanna Thai kingdom. With one of the largest reserves of teak forests in the country, it is located on the banks of the Yom River.

Phrae is surrounded on all sides by mountains with level plains in the middle.
Phetchabun Phetchabun (เพชรบรูณ์):
Due to the huge Pa Sak river basin with mountain ranges running along both the western and eastern sides of the province, Phetchabun has always been famous for it's fertility of the land, it is an agriculturally highly productive area. The name of the province actually means "The land of crops and foods".

Due to the natural beauty, mountainous forests and national parks, the province has high potential for tourism. Nam Nao National Park is one of Thailand's most beautiful ones. The ancient City of Petchabun has a long history and one of the highlight to visit is Wat Mahatat, the City Pillar Shrine and Wat Trai Phum.

Si Thep Historical Park
Si Thep is an ancient town where many architectural structures still remain to indicate its past prosperity during the 11th - 18th Buddhist centuries. Over one hundred ancient sites, all built with bricks and laterite, most of them have since crumbled. There are also remains of several ponds spread out all over the area.
Phichit Phichit (พิจิตร):
Province is situated in the lower North region of Thailand, accessible by both road and rail. Nurtured by two rivers, the Yom and the Nan running parallel to one another north to south, the land is agriculturally fertile with green valleys and picturesque wooded hills. It is the home of traditional boat racing competitions which became now an inter-provincial boat race taking place on every first Saturday and Sunday of September, at Nan River in front of Wat Tha Luang. The main features of the festival are boat races, boat processions, and beauty contests which are exciting, joyful and colorful events.

Phichit is known as well as the land of the crocodiles, it has been home long time to the wild reptiles which thrived and prospered in its waters. Nowadays several fresh-water crocodile farms can be visited.
Phitsanulok Phitsanulok (พิษณุโลก):
Phitsanulok, is a city in the lower part of Northern Thailand is rich in historical, cultural and natural attractions, featuring mountains, plains and forest. The Nan River, lifeline of the province runs through the heart of the city.

Most of Phitsanulok's province is flat, but one third of the area, the north and east is covered by mountain ranges. For nature seekers natural beauty, waterfalls, and National Parks make a trip to Phitsanulok worthwhile.

Furthermore, Phitsanulok is one of the main area of the historical sites, it even served as the capital for about 25 years in the 15th century. There are remains of an ancient community dating back between 2,000 - 4,000 years, an old stone ax had been found here. In addition, the old temple of Wat Chula Mani, located 5 kilometers south of the city, was built even before the Sukhothai Kingdom came into power.
Sukhothai Sukhothai (สุโขทัย):
Sukhothai founded by King Ramkhamhaeng during the 13th century, was the first capital of Siam. The province's temples and monuments from this glorious period have been restored and Sukhothai Historical Park has been created to protect the numerous sites of historical interest.

Today the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other interesting places are Sri Satchanalai National Park, Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, The Royal Palace and Wat Mahathat; for nature lovers Ramkhamhaeng National Park.
Tak Tak (ตาก):
Province, some 430 km northwest of Bangkok, is a place with long history.
Mostly forested and mountainous, natural wonders are magnificently matching ethnic diversity. Thailand's highest waterfalls can be visited here, Namtok Thi Lo Su and Namtok Thi Lo Re. Those who favor whitewater rafting must come to visit this area.

Tak province is furthermore an environmental and cultural center with magnificent forests, spectacular waterfalls and caves, fascinating hill tribes such as Karen, Lisu, Lahu, Akha, Yao and Hmong. The town of Tak is peacefully located on the Mae Ping basin.

Besides natural beauty, Tak province is famous for its agricultural products, both flowers and fruits. Its large Thapthim fruit (pomegranate) is now very popular.
Uthaithani Uthai Thani (อุทัยธานี):
Located in the lower part of northern Thailand. Most of the province consists of forests and high mountains. There are several tourist attractions and places of interest well shown and protected because the area is away from the main highway and only few visitors make the trip to this interesting province.

Rich in natural resources, such as forests and wildlife, "Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Reserve" was proclaimed a Natural World Heritage Site. Visitors can discover different lifestyles of the local people, join the rafts on Sakae Krang River, a waterway that aided the birth of the province and which has been a lifeline for its people since ancient times. It is also where provincial trading has flourished. Life revolving around the river eventually grew from a community into the major province that it is today.
Uttaradit Uttaradit (อุตรดิตถ์):
Uttaradit is a province in the lower north of Thailand. It has a long history even since pre-historic time. The site of the original town of Uttradit, formally called Bang Pho Tha, was located on the right bank of the Nan River. It flourished as a port for goods transportation. As a result, King Rama V elevated its status into a province and re-named it Uttradit, literally the "Port of the North".

Most of the province was once covered with teak forests, then the major product of Uttaradit. The largest Teak tree in the world is found at the Ton Sak Yai Park. The 1500 year old tree measures 9.87 meter in circumference and 37 meter in height - originally it was 48.5 m high, but it was damaged in a storm. Three National Parks are located in the province - Klong Tron, Lam Nam Nan and Phu Soi Dao.
List of North hotels

Getting there What to see Highlight Festival
● By Bus:
There is an extensive bus network with the main backbone being between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai, buses head north-west to Mae Hong Son and Pai, and further north to Chiang Rai. Time Table
● By Train:
Trains from Bangkok go regularly to Chiang Mai via Phitsanulok. Time Table
● By Air:
The main airport in Northern Thailand is Chiang Mai, which has connections throughout Thailand and some international links too. Time Table

The most popular attraction in North Thailand and very popular the last years.
Phanom RungChiang Mai National Museum
Doi Inthanon National Park
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Suan Dok
The Golden Triangle
Wat Rong Khun
Chaing Mai Songkran And Lannathai Festival
Featuring Lanna Thai New Year celebrations and festivities at temples, the city gates and around the city moat throughout the northern capital of Chiang Mai
Poi Sang Long
This is the celebration of novice ordination which the Thai Yai tribal people hold to be a highly meritorious occasion.
Yi Peng Festival
An amazing procession of hanging lanterns, Krathong design contest, light and sound presentation in Ping River, the ancient Thai Lanna Krathong activities, local cultural performances, and local handicrafts market in Lanna style.

Poi Sang Long Ceremony 2011

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