Traveling to Nan province where live is still slow and tranquil
A weekend with the Little Elephant in North Thailand
Nan province, tucked away in the most eastern part of North Thailand, once a sleepy off-limit area, is still one of the most remote & off the beaten track province's of Thailand, where nature blends well with culture and ancient temples.
Nowadays Nan has an airport, comfortable boutique hotels and trendy coffee shops, along with picturesque villages in the mountains, but 40 years ago Nan was considered a wild region and sometimes even off-limited for traveling.
Time has changed however and the centuries old temples built in Tai Lue architecture style with beautiful murals, green mountains and ethnic minorities are now starting to attract Thai tourists and even slowly some foreigner tourists are coming to Nan province.
While living in Thailand, Nan makes a great escape from the hectic city of Bangkok to the slow life of Nan. The main destination in Nan province is its capital Nan and nearby surroundings. It is however not the only place of interest, especially those who love outdoor activities might find their way to places like Pua, Bo Klua, Thung Chang, Na Noi and Mae Charim.
Upcountry Nan offers nature, mountains and culture from the famous Ancient Salt Pits of Bo Klua and the Yellow Ghost Hill-Tribe to waterfalls, coffee plantations, markets and rivers.
Of course the real highlight of Nan province is not a building or a place, but the authentic way of life in Nan province. The signature of Nan is the slow life of Nan.
The main destination for visitors is Nan town with its historical center and centuries old temples like the famous Wat Phumin with its beautiful murals and the quite unusual Buddha statue with 4 faces.
Upcountry outdoor adventure is the main attraction and the main destination is Bo Klua in the mountains of Doi Phu Kha National Park with the famous Ancient Salt Pits of Bo Klua. Another highlight of Nan province are the National Parks, mountains with waterfalls and small hill-tribe villages of Hmong and Tai Lue. A great destination for hiking and bicycling.
After a smooth 1 hour flight from Don Muang Airport we arrived at Nan Nakhon Airport and we took a taxi to Nan Seasons Boutique Resort, our home for the next few days. Our small but luxury resort is located just out of town between the teak trees of a former teak plantation.
The next day in the very early morning we took a bicycle and headed to Nan town to visit the Morning Market where you will still see hill-tribe people in their traditional dress. After a delicious breakfast at Hot Bread we continued in the historical center of Nan town to visit the famous Wat Phumin with its beautiful old murals, the Nan Rangsri Kasem Museum in an 100 years old Christian school building and Nan Noble House a 150 years old family house that is converted into a showcase of the old life of Nan. If you can not ride a bicycle you can always use a samlor, who are awaiting you at the Wat Phumin or at the Morning Market.
The next day it was time to explore the country side of Nan province where small villages are hidden in the green mountains, so we rented a scooter and took off to the Bo Klua in the mountains of Doi Khu Kha National Park.
After a stunning ride over the mountains and stunning views we arrived in the small village of Bo Klua where a enjoyed a delicious lunch at Bo Klua View Resort and visited one of the ancient salt pits that are still operational.
Unfortunately we did not planned to stay overnight here so we will have to come back a next time to visit the waterfall of Ban Saphan and Khun Nan National Park. From Bo Klua we headed to Pua while passing the entrance of Doi Phu Kha National Park and making a stop at Viewpoint 1715, from where you have a stunning view over the green lush jungle of Nan province.
After 2 days in Nan province our weekend was over and it was time to fly back to the Big Mango but we will be planning a longer trip soon at the end of the raining season so we can see much more of what the beautiful province Nan has to offer like the green rice fields of Pua, rafting in the Wa River at Mae Charim, Hmong village at Manipruek and a sunrise view at Wat Khao Noi.
Nan province is easily reached by air from Don Muang Airport in Bangkok, but also by bus from all major places in Thailand. And of course when traveling by car or motorbike Nan makes a great destination while on the way to/from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai. And via the International Border of Huai Kon it is a great gateway to Luang Prabang in Laos.