A one-day cultural tour of Nan old town on two wheels

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Nan is a charming mountainous province that captivates many visitors and keeps them coming back for its tranquility and hospitable residents. Although many of its popular attractions lie in remote areas, Nan town’s old quarter is also famous and easy to get around by bicycle. Throughout the day, you will have a memorable time visiting beautiful temples and taking photos in this cycling-friendly town.

Nan is a bicycle-friendly town that allows visitors to pedal their way around safely. Most attractions are easily accessed, and you will see no utility poles obstructing the scenery while capturing photos.

Getting there :

Nan is serviced by three airlines: Nok Air, Thai Air Asia, and Thai Smile. It’s a 1-hour and 20-minute flight to Nan Airport, which is about three kilometres from Nan town.

The province is 680 kilometres from Bangkok, and it takes about nine hours to drive there and about 12 hours on the Bangkok-Nan bus that leaves the Bangkok Bus Terminal at Kamphaeng Phet Road daily.

For more information, call the Transport Company at Tel. 1490.

Once in town, you can hire a bicycle from the hotel you’re staying at or from the Nan Tourist Centre.

  • 🚴 Itinerary
    • 1.Admire Nan’s most famous mural, “The Whisper of Love” at Wat Phumin.
    • 2.Pay respect to the city pillar at Wat Ming Mueang.
    • 3. Capture the grandeur of Wat Phra That Changkham.
    • 4. Marvel at the exquisite scripture library of Wat Hua Khuang.
    • 5. Learn about Nan’s history at the Nan National Museum.
    • 6. Enjoy a local lunch at Raan Nam Ngiao Khao Soi Mae Sunee – Northern food.
    • 7. Visit Thailand Tourism 2021 awardee Hong Chao Fong Kham – the Noble House, a learning centre for Nan’s cultural heritage.

🌟 Wat Phumin

If you have time to visit only one temple in Nan, Wat Phumin should be the one. Founded in 1596 by its ruler Chao Chetabutprohmin, the temple’s most distinctive feature is the combined function of its wihan, ubosot, and the principal chedi in one building with a cruciform layout. It is also the only temple in Thailand with such a multi-purpose building built using this layout.

Mural paintings cover nearly the entire surface of the interior depicting scenes from the jataka tales (the past lives of the Buddha) along with numerous scenes of daily life in Lanna during the late 19th century. The most famous among local visitors is that of a couple having an intimate conversation.

As the man is seen whispering to the woman, the depiction is famously dubbed “The Whisper of Love”.

It is said that any couple professing their devotion to each other in front of this particular scene will be blessed with eternal love.

🌟 Wat Ming Mueang and the City Pillar

Wat Ming Mueang is home to the city pillar. The temple’s ubosot was built in the Lanna architectural style, and its exterior stucco was exquisitely sculpted by local artisans in the Chiang Saen style of art.

Wat Ming Mueang is said to be the inspiration of the artist who created Wat Rong Khun, the famed white temple of Chiang Rai.

🌟 Wat Phrathat Chang Kham Worawihan

Wat Phrathat Chang Kham Worawihan, the “Temple of the Relic Supported by Elephants”, owes its name to its principal bell-shaped chedi whose gilded upper portion is supported by a square base, around which are the forequarters of 24 elephants’ sculptures.

The temple is one of the most beautiful spots in the old town for night photography. The sight and photos of the illuminated chedi are mesmerising.

🌟 Wat Hua Khuang

Wat Hua Khuang has been declared a national ancient monument and is located next door to the Nan National Museum. Its front gable is exquisitely carved in the shapes of plant and floral patterns.

Take your time to look up and admire these fine carvings created by local Nan artists. Also of note is its wooden ho trai – scripture library, which stands elegantly next to the chedi and wihan.

🌟 Nan National Museum

Nan National Museum is a perfect place to escape the rising heat while biking. It is housed in a former palace of Nan’s past ruler and also once served as Nan’s first provincial hall.

The flower tunnel at the entrance is both a welcoming sight for visitors and a lovely backdrop for taking photos.

  • Nan National Museum
    • 📍 Phagong Rd, Tambon Nai Wiang, Amphoe Mueang Nan, Nan
    • ⏰ Open : Wednesday – Sunday from 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.

🌟 Raan Nam Ngiao Khao Soi Mae Sunee – Northern food

Mae Sunee is a local food shop famed for its Nam Ngiao and Khao Soi, both rice noodle dishes, and very convenient for a lunch break before resuming your bicycle tour.

The shop has been in business for more than 30 years and has pre-packaged naem – fermented pork sausage – and sai ua – grilled pork sausage for sale.

  • Raan Nam Ngiao Khao Soi Mae Sunee – Northern food

🌟 The Noble House – Hong Chao Fong Kham heritage home

The 200-year-old teak house belongs to the descendant of the former Nan ruler. It is a Lanna-Thai traditional house with vintage household items on display. You can also watch a weaving and dyeing demonstration of Nan’s traditional fabric on the ground floor.

This last attraction on our tour is some 2.6 kilometres from the first stop at Wat Phumin. The Noble House has just been named the recipient of the Thailand Tourism Awards 2021 in the category of attraction: learning centre.

The display of vintage household items.

  • The Noble House – Hong Chao Fong Kham heritage home
    • 📍 Sumon Thewarat Rd, Tambon Nai Wiang, Amphoe Mueang Nan, Nan
    • ⏰ Open : Wednesday – Sunday from 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
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