Normally, people who plan to travel to the Northern part of Thailand might look over Nan province, a small city in Northern part. However, when time passes, life style and tourism idea have been changed, a great number of people start to feel bored with the rushing life in big city; therefore, they travel to seek for the easy relax time. In the result of that, at the present time Nan province has become a dream destination for traveler. The city that is not crowded, full of history and many stories surrounded with pure nature, mountain, mist, stream and local friendly people with their truly smile awaiting traveler to visit them.
And it is about time for our journey to whisper our love at Doi Samer Dao, take a deep breath of a fresh air on the top of the mountain over the sea mist that slowly move below. I would like to invite everyone to pack your bag and travel to Nan province, the pleasant city that cannot be missed with any reason along with us.
Speaking of Nan province, I think it is pretty well-known and most people already know about this province. However, when coming to the question that what is the interesting attractions in this province beside it is one of the provinces in northern part of Thailand which surrounded by the mountains, I also don't know much about Nan either, I just know that this city has a beautiful natural landscape. Moreover, It is quite suitable for person who love taking photo like me due to this province is good for travelling especially in rainy season to the end of winter. Additionally, It is one of my dream destinations that I would like to explore for quite sometimes. And since today I have an opportunity to visit here, therefore, I search for more information and find out that there are many interesting things in this place that I didn't know before.
The starting point of the trip is when I have a chance to participate in "The Amazing Journey" campaign, one of the promoting Thailand Tourism campaigns which is "12 must-visit cities" that supported by "Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)". This campaign will consist of 12 teams exploring and traveling to 12 provinces apart from the main tourism city which they might be overlooked. Though, these cities have their own fascinating spots that hidden whether it is natural attraction, way of life of the locals and the uniqueness culture which is the origin of "the city that shouldn't be missed out".
And this time I am rather lucky as my teammate selected the lucky draw to travel to "Nan" which is the destination that I would like to travel very much. The main reason is that I have heard a lot about this city and it is kind like the adventurous journey like my style. However, If this trip doesn't have "Uncle Deng & Aunt Kai" who invite me to join in this trip, I definitely do not have a good experience to tell everyone.
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"Get ready for a journey"
Before this road trip, we have been preparing a lot of things. In the beginning, I have heard that it will be raining during this time and the weather on the mountain must be very cold, therefore, I prepare a sleeping bag with me (Conversely, I didn't use it as the weather is not that cold). I as well prepare a lot of navigation devices such as GPS and cell phone with map application program / camera with memory card / computer and External Hard disk / shoe (wear when raining) / clothes, rain coat, sunglasses and personal effects such as toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, shaving kit/ charger for devices as well as connecting plug (in case of need)/ lighter / necessity document such as hotel reservation which can also save in cell phone or IPad. Normally, I do have my checklist for preparing things in every trip.
For this trip "Keen" a shoe brand is the sponsor – http://www.keenthailand.com #keenthailand#newporth2 – I am a fan of this brand for quite sometimes. At first, I knew this brand from my wife's cousin; he bought Keen shoe from America for my son. Keen shoe is convenient for wearing in our daily life. And If it is dirty, you just only throw it into a washing machine. Since my son usually get it dirty easily and we are afraid that the shoe will have a stuffy smell, thus, we usually wash it and we do wash it around once a week for about a year already and it is still in a good condition. And now I have got one Keen shoe to wear with my son as well, I bought it from a shop on second floor in Central Festival Chiang Mai. Frequently, I like to shop Oakley glasses in this shop but didn't know before that this shop also has Keen shoe selling inside.
"To get there "
Well, not to waste anymore
time, we rather get back to our journey. Since I have been agreed on a mission, hence, I will discuss with team leader “Uncle Deng and Aunt Kai" about the travelling
method and the plan. I am base in Chiang Mai which is another main tourism city; therefore, I plan to travel to Nan province by a car. For those who travel from
Bangkok, you could drive all the way here otherwise the most convenient choice is to
fly here. For this trip, we are supported by Thai Rent A Car--
http://www.thairentacar.com – a car rental company which is a sponsor in
this trip, they as well upgrade the car to Mitsubishi Pajero for me which is
very convenient for a winding and steep way. Moreover, it is a diesel car so it
is pretty safe. A high power car like this is quite helpful when driving up on
the mountain; the speed is not slow during driving on the steep way.
For those who travel from Bangkok, “Nok Air" which is one of main sponsors for this campaign, also has direct flight from Bangkok to Nan that depart from Don Mueang Airport .I feel a bit pity that I didn't use their service as there is no direct flight depart from Chiang Mai. Therefore, If I would like to fly to Nan, I will have to start traveling from Bangkok.
“Route to Nan"
As soon as I know that Nan is our destination in the campaign of “12 cities that not to be missed for any reason", I start to do some research for more information and ask my friends which route should I take? Although I am northern people but it is my first time to Nan. Most of my friends said that I have to drive to Lampang and then pass by Phrae and it is the exact idea as mine. However, I have another destination add up in this trip; this place is one of dream destinations located in Phayao province which is next to the border of Nan province. There is the legendary view point of “Phu Lang Ka Resort" as well as “1148 highway route" which I have heard that the scenery is spectacular. In conclusion, I will have to drive into cycle for visit all the attractions within a limited time.
In searching of the direction and route information, I use many kinds of applications such as Google Maps (which I think it is better than those online maps because of its precise destination spot and travel time. Moreover, Google Maps can apply Thai language for searching and their data base cover most of the areas. Meanwhile, an Apple fan like me using a map in Iphone by searching in Thai language to find the destination but it is somehow cannot find the right place. During the journey, I also have GPS, Gamin with me which I frequently update its data but its navigation feature is lesser precise than Google Maps. This car GPS sometime likes to lead us to take a roundabout route and its data may not be up to date when comparing with Google Maps. Anyway, I use all navigation devices with the highway map as well; I bought a new map with updated data and it somehow is the best way to look for the shortcut way or the small route.
Day 1 – From Chiang
Mai city / Head to “Highway No.118" / Turn right to “Highway No.120" – Mae Khajan
district, Chiang Rai province / Turn left to “Asia Highway AH2 – Phahonyothin
Road" / Turn right “Highway No.1021" / Turn right “Highway No.1186" / Turn left
“Highway No.1179" / Turn right “Highway No.1148" / Arrive at destination “Phu Lang Ka
Resort" – Pong district, Phayao province.
Day 2 – Head South “Highway No.1148" / Turn left “Highway No.1080" / Turn right “Highway No.1256" / Arrive at destination “Boklua View Resort" – Bo Kluea district, Nan province.
Day 3 – Head East “Highway No.1256" / Turn right “Highway No.1081" / Turn left “Highway No.1169" / Arrive at destination “Phu Kha Nan Fah Hotel" – Muang district, Nan province.
Day 4 – Head South “Highway No.101" / Turn right “Highway No.11" – Den Chai district, Lampang province / End the journey at Chiang Mai province.
Kwan Phayao (Phayao Lake) view point – Chiang Muan district, Phayao province.
-- Day 1 : Dream destination “Phu Lang Ka Resort"
In our first day, we have a long distance journey from Chiang Mai city to the destination at “Phu Lang Ka Resort" which located in Phu Lang Ka Botanical Park area, Pang district, Phayao province. It takes approximately four hours; therefore, I start my journey in the early morning to reach the destination rather not late. I rent a car from “Thai Rent A Car" in the evening one day in advance for convenient in tomorrow journey. I drive on the route which I am used to that is “Highway No.118" to Chiang Rai province, pass Doi Saket district, until get in Chiang Rai city, turn to “Highway No.120" in Mae Khajan area to continue heading to Phayao province. The weather today does not seem good, the weather forecast shown thunder and lightning sign which can assume that it might be raining throughout the trip. Furthermore, it rains during the morning as well. I would suggest everyone to stop by at a gas station around Mae Khajan district as there are a lot of food shops, convenient stores and coffee shops such as popular coffee shop “Black Canyon". Moreover, there is clean restroom provide as well. The reason that I suggest everyone to stop by here is because it will difficult to find the stop spot when passing this area as it will be small route ahead.
Before arriving Phayao province, there is Kwan Phayao view point located on the mountain and you could watch wide view of lake scenery from the mountain. However, since it is fairly cloudy, thus, I am not sure that could I take a nice photo for this trip or not. There is clean restroom provide around this area as well. It might be the cold air conditioner and I drink a whole cup of iced coffee so I feel like going to restroom again. I stop by at the view point not for long as the rain start to fall down.
Kwan Phayao : The word “Kwan" means huge pond or lake, it is a local Lanna language which particularly use in Phayao province. Kwan Phayao comes from the collapse of the earth's crust with an age approximately 70 million years ago, it is the water source which consists of 18 streams together. Later on, Department of Fisheries has launched inland fisheries station here, the dam construction was built here making this area becomes to be the renowned water source and attraction of Phayao province at last. Moreover, it is also the most important freshwater fisheries resource in upper northern part of Thailand.
You could find greenery field along the way from Chiang Rai to Phayao. However, some area just starts to plant rice seedlings as rainy season is quite late this year; it starts raining during end of July already. I take longer time than I thought it will be as I have seen beautiful rice field and I cannot help myself to stop by and take some photos. I stop around Chun district area for lunch which located in Phayao province. The city is not too small, you could find something to eat and shop.
Car rental for this trip from “Thai Rent A Car" – engine energy is pretty speedy and the driver is good looking as well / LoL.
It takes approximately an hour from the city that we stop for lunch and then we will reach our destination. However, before we reach our accommodation, the car GPS confuses the way, therefore, I have to stop at the view point for a while and search for the route from Google Maps instead. I guess that GPS is rather inaccurate; it shows that we have arrived at the destination already, however, I could not find the resort entrance anywhere nearby. Google Maps help me to confirm the route showing that we have to drive straight a little while to reach our destination.
In conclusion, the navigation device for this trip, I would say Garmin GPS is quiet good. It is convenient and easy to use and you could search almost all destinations over the country by using Thai language. There are also bad points in that as it sometimes guides us to the detour route and the destination spot is not accurate as Google Maps does which I think Google Maps is pretty accurate. Although Google Maps is the most accuracy navigation device at the present; however, it is not convenient as car GPS so I use it as a support navigation device only. As for highway map, I keep it with me for assurance, for those who are able to read the map, you could gradually look the map and drive along.
Ps. I hardly use the map in Apple's Application in iphone as it cannot find the destination when searching for some not renowned places in Thai or English languages such as Phu Lang Ka Resort.
Canon EF 8-15 F/4L Fisheye USM -- Canon Image Square - Chiang Mai
-- Phu Lang Ka Resort--
Finally, we arrive at our accommodation around late afternoon. I forget to tell everyone that my father travels with me in this trip as well. It is kind of make me think about my childhood time when my father likes to take me to travel a lot and I feel pleased that now it is my turn to take my father to travel too. It has been two years already after I took my father to travel in the adventurous trip along Kong River from northern to southern part of Laos. If there is any chance, I will find pictures of this trip and post here for sure. However, for this trip we change the atmosphere to road trip in Thailand and it is kind of fun in another style. Actually, I would like to take my wife and children with me in this trip but I am afraid that my child might have to absent from the school for quite sometimes so I change my plan a little bit.
The accommodation price starts from hundreds (in low season) which will vary according to the room size, view and season. When rainy season passes which is around end of October, the price will be higher. The popular room for the tourist is “Phu 1", the name comes from the view from the balcony which you could watch the panorama beautiful legendary scenery which do not have any trees blocking the view from the balcony. However, when the most popular room “Phu 1" is fully booked, the resort will recommend “Phu 3" for their guest instead. During the time I went there, both types of the room are available which make me feel waver for sometimes that whether to choose the room that the resort recommend or the most popular room, and at last I choose to stay in the first one. The room can accommodate 4 people and it costs 1200 baht with breakfast (Boiled Rice, Coffee and Ovaltine).
The path from the resort along a road to the view point and tent yard.
From guest room and dining room, you could see the wide view. However, the most spectacular view that no tree blocking the view is in the tent yard area which located next to the resort entrance (walk along a road around 50 meters). For those who take their own tent, there will be the area cost at 120 baht or the resort also provide the tent for guest in reasonable price and you could lie and watch the star in surrounded view (breakfast inclusive). Tent for one person costs 300 baht / Tent for two people costs 450 baht.
During the time I stay at Phu Lang Ka Resort, it is in the low season period which starts from summer and the scenery is getting better with a green color all over after raining; it will get into peak season again in the end of rainy season to beginning of winter which is around end of October. It is very cloudy all day during I was there, but there is still sunlight shines on the ground around 10 minutes. It gives me hope that I might have chance to see the beautiful light in the evening.
After dinner, I walk back to tent yard
again in hope that I could take photo of the last light of the day during
twilight time for my first day in this trip. However, the weather is precisely
according to the weather forecast which said that it will be a cloudy day, I
take photo for a while and the rain is suddenly falling down. I run back with
difficulty as I have to hurriedly run up a hill and it is almost 100 meters to
my room. When I get back to my room, I am drenched and tired; and I could not
see anything when I look outside. Since it is heavy rain outside and there is
thunder for sometimes, my intended plan to wake up in the middle of the night
after taking a shower for taking photo of sea of stars and watch The Milky Way
has to be canceled. I have borrowed Fisheye lens from “Canon Image Square,
Chiang Mai" for taking photo of sea of stars but then again I could not use any of those.
Before going to bed, I try to be optimistic thinking that normally if there is a heavy rain during the night time; the sky has to be bright after the rain. Therefore, I hope that tomorrow morning I could have a chance to see a beautiful sea mist.
Route conclusion: From Chiang Mai city / head to “Highway No.118" / Turn right “Highway No.120" - Mae Khachan district, Chiang Rai province / Turn left “Asia Highway AH2 – Phaholyothin Road" / Turn right “Highway No.1021" / Turn right “Highway No.1186" / Turn left “Highway No.1179" / Turn right “Highway No.1148" / Arrive at the destination “Phu Lang Ka Resort" – Pong district, Phayao province.
Day 2 : The sky route to Baan Bo Kluea
The next day begins with the cock sound mix with the alarm clock sound from my mobile phone around 5 o'clock. Although my eye doesn't want to open, I try to wake up and hurried to change clothes and then walk alone among the dark with the flashlight in my hand to watch the sea mist. The resort staff told me that there is the beautiful mist in the morning yesterday and I hope that I will have a chance to see it today as well. However, I am not that lucky as there is no mist showing up today.
During hopeless waiting, I deeply hope that miracle will happen. However, as I wait there for almost an hour, the sunlight still does not shine through the cloud to the ground below and there is only the thin mist which looks lonesome. During the winter time, when look at below, you could see the beautiful mist cover all over places and flow through limestone mountain below. And that is why this place has been my “Dream Destination" that I would like to visit for years. However, I have to give up this time and tell myself that I will be back again to watch my dream atmosphere scenery for sure.
-- The scenic route “Highway No.1148" --
After breakfast, when I assure that there is
no mist to watch, then I hurriedly to pack my bag and head to Nan province
which is away from our accommodation only a while as the resort that I stayed
is located near the border between Nan province and Ph
a Yao province.
highlights that I intend to travel in Nan trip is driving along the scenic road
“Highway No.1148". It is a road that link between “Chiang Kham district, Phayao province" and “Tha Wang Pha district, Nan province". It takes approximately
115 kilometers, this route is namely as one of the most beautiful scenic roads
in Thailand that most people named it as the sky road that you must try to
drive through this road once. For those who like to drive and watch the
beautiful view, this place has it all for you. The zigzag way cut across the
mountain ranges and during the way when I get into Nan province, there is a
thin mist appears. The higher level I drive up, the mist is gradually thicker.
I feel a little bit failed why this mist doesn't appear around the resort in
Since it is a rainy season, therefore, the atmosphere will have a beautiful mist and greenery scenery from both sides. However, there will be rain for sometimes as well. But if it is in around the end of rainy season to the winter, the atmosphere from both sides must be superb. I have seen pictures of the scenery here during that time, the trees from both sides change to golden yellow color, moreover, when the sunrise and sunset time, the gold light of the sun will shine to add up the colorful to the area; making the area looks gorgeous.
There are a lot of yellow signs here, for those who drive a car; they might have to slow down as well as people in the car might have to prepare their inhaler. However, I am really confident that this route must be suited for biker. Since there are a lot of zigzag ways and I think it must be pleasant to ride on the bike and pass all those zigzag ways; especially in winter season while there is cold wind blows with the mist that flows by, it must be awesome.
When pass through those zigzag
way from the mountains way, it will be the smooth straight pain way and then you
will fine “Highway No.1080". Then when you drive to the south, it will be Nan
city. However, I will head to north to Bo Kluea district. For this point, I
could drive back on the main road again, so I take a chance to visit the gas
station for adding car oil and go to restroom again as later I need to ride up to
the mountains way again and both ways are the rice fields which some of the
area begins to have green color, but mostly they still begins to plant the rice
I could not resist going down to capture the
picture as usual. At first, I did not expect anything more except to capture
the nascent rice seedlings, moreover, I see the sunshine shows up, therefore,
I do not procrastinate to stop by. I do not know that the rest of the day will be like
this or not as the weather forecast says that it will rain and thunderstorm across approximately 80% of the area like in the morning that there is heavy rain along the way.
While I wiped the sweat off due to the very hot weather, I heard someone call and when I turned at the sound of the guy, he stand with the smiles on his face. He told me that I better take his picture, not just take a picture with the crops. Hearing that, I did not hesitate to press the shutter accordingly.
It is a little friendship during the way while I expose the local people way of life. Hearing local people talk and laugh when harvesting, you could not help but smile. I would like to thank you my new friends for their friendly smile and the cold water that allows me to quench my thirst before our next destination.
Driving further on the
1080" , we finally reach Pua District.
This is a lovely little town, if you have time; I recommend you spend the night
here. Unfortunately, I have a limited time, we have only three nights on this
trip, therefore, I have to choose to sleep at Bo Kluea instead. Thus,
we just pass by Bua District only.
Pua District: It's a small city surrounded with mountains. From what we have seen when driving through, it is ideal for a relaxing to do a home-stay here. When planning a Nan trip and search for the information, I have found that there are a lot tourist attractions and many good restaurants here. At Homestay, when looking outward you will see a wide field beyond your eye sights. It is a suitable place for enjoying a leisurely life in "Slow Life" style and I personally feel that this place is similar to Mae Hong Son province.
From Pua city, we will drive along the "Highway No. 1256", which is a narrow route. When we pass downtown, the path will start to winding uphill. The road is considered to be one of the beautiful sky roads. Unfortunately, the route is pretty narrow that we could hardly find a place to stop to watch the scenery. If I ride a bike at that time, I could park along the
road and take photos as I like. Some of the way, it is like we are driving on the ridge of the mountain, you could see the road up and down in the front. I feel like the nature is so cruel to me today a
s we begin to spot the beautiful scenery and the rain begins to fall down hard. Therefore, I have to cancel the plan to "Doi Phu Kha National Park" due to the rain and heavy fog blocking the visibility and I could see not more than 10 meters ahead. It just only a short distance from Pua city but we spent almost an hour to Bo Kluea. Since there are many landslides occur here often, therefore, you need to be extra careful when using this route during the rainy season . I have heard not long after I came back less than a week, the landslides are falling down the street that they could not use the road for quite a while.
Doi Phu Kha National Park: The national park is one of the famous attractions
in Nan Province which located mid-way between Bo Kluea and Pua district. The
highlight is the
Chompoo Phu Kha which is rare specie of plant. Its pink flower will blossom during the
month of love and can be found only here exclusively.
- Baan Bo Kluea -
Finally, we have reached one of the main attractions of Nan city , "Baan Bo Kluea" which is located in Bo Kluea district. For tonight, I will stay at the "Bo Klua View Resort", which is a very comfortable accommodation. The highlight of this place is the dining room. Earlier, I also been confirmed by my friend that the food and desserts are really good here and I really agree with them.
I arrive at the resort pretty late due to the heavy rains; it took us more time than we planned. The tours stop by at the restaurants and I have to wait for a seat, I feel exhausted as I traveled quite a long distance and I am now very hungry. This meal, we order a lot of food because we are very hungry. From what I have heard from my friends who've been here before, most of them telling me that the food here was delicious. Personally, I would recommend that you should try "Fried Pork Leg" which is not as popular as "Fried Chicken Ma Kwan" but I think Fried Pork Leg has a crispy, aroma smell and tastes delicious; it served with sweet and sour sauce. However, I saw that other table ordered the Fried Chicken and it looks good as well. I regret that we should have many people so we could choose many more menus to enjoy different food together.
Ps. The food in the resort is a little too expensive.
After finish our meal and take
some rest for a little while, then it is time to take off once again. Our destination is
visit the famous Sintao Salt Pit. Currently, they have only
two pits left. Drive from the resort less than 5 minutes away, it is located at
the "Baan Bo Luang (ancient salt pit)". The salt pit here is the only one pit in the world that located on the mountain. In millions years ago, this area is the sea area; therefore, in an ancient time Nan city is the area that mainly export salt.
For this salt pit, it preserves ancient ways and the tourists can visit and explore closely. This pit is like a household industry, they do not use the high technology for example the fireplace still use charcoal and firewood as the tinder.
During the visit to Salt pit, the rain is falling down hard. However, I'm not worry because we focus on indoor-tour only. Since while I take photo in boiling salt area, the fire place making me feel warm. It is the low season now and there are not many tourists. Anyway, during the rainy season, these salt pits are closed for three months, I was fortunate to visit this place in time.
I would like to say that in sometimes that we lost the way; it may not always been bad. This morning when I got to the salt pit, my GPS direct me to a detour way and I accidently drive around the small field which located farther into Bo Kluea local village. Therefore, in the afternoon after finish the visiting at ancient salt pit, we stopped by the village and take some photos once again.
Highlighted attractions: from our conversation with the resort owner, "Khun Tan". As he saw that I am taking baggage to the room so he came to ask and have the staff to help me; therefore, we have a little chat. He advised that when the ancient salt pit is closed, it will be a problem for tourists, especially foreigners as they have nothing to do during that time. I was told that on the way back to Nan city, I should try driving on a detour route to Chalermphrakiat district. There will be a rice fields to watch during the rainy season. Now I could not say much because I have not yet seen with my own eyes and the place is still the Unseen and has not been popular. But from the conversation it doesn't seems to be bigger than the one in "Ban Mae Klang Luang - Chiang Mai".
This is the road that we drive through in the morning. The straight road is just only a little distance, the rest is the winding road that if there are rains and heavy fog, we could drive only up to 25-30 km / hour. It is quite slow like the turtle.
- Bo Klua View Resort -
After come back from taking photo in the rain and we are exhausted. We would like to add a little sugar into our blood. As for the menu here, they are mainly focused on a pretty decorative appearance that sometime it takes quiet a long time to prepare the food which I almost forget my order. The impatient guests may have murmured about the service but I assured that when the food comes, the guest's feeling will change. I order crepe, "Salted Crepe", it sounds like a weird menu but it tastes delicious. The crepe top up with salt, which is popular here. The recommended dessert menu are "Cream Caramel" or Custard. Anyway today they have a tour visits, therefore, the recommended menu are all sold out.
After we are full, it is time for a rest. Our room at "Bo Klua View Resort" tonight is very spacious and comfortable to stay. I have a room with a balcony to breath in the fresh air. But then again, if it is winter, it will be better than this. My father likes it here and says that next time we should bring my mom along too.
The atmosphere at the dining room tonight is very superb.
We will dine at "Pong Sa dining room". As we are half full by the dessert, therefore, we didn't eat much. We arrange our dinner with a simple menu like "Rice
Basil Chicken Top with Fried Egg".
As I have mentioned before that the food here is pretty slow, hence, we recommend that you should come a little early before dinner time. For me, I do not have a problem as I was busy taking photo that I forgot the waiting time.
The route conclusion: From "Phu Lang Ka Resort" / Heading south "Highway No.1148" / Turn Left "Highway No.1080" / Turn Right "Highway No.1256" / Arrive at the destination "Bo Klua View Resort" – Bo Klua district, Nan Province.
- Day 3: - Last day at Nan -.
The next morning at Bo Klua district, the weather is very nice. It rained throughout the night and it was cool and nice. We had breakfast together at the same place. "Pong Sa Restaurant". The food line is pretty satisfied for all the guests, it's including salad, fruit, fried egg and boiled rice, etc., most of them are included in the room rate.
The awesome part is the toaster set. It gives you the mood of countryside. A toaster model is "Unglo" known by the locals as "Ang Lo" special order directly from OTOP, it saves the electricity and the fire is quiet strong, we do not need to wait for a long time. Some people forget to look at a toast for a while and it gets burn. The tongs are in unique design and made from bamboo. There are homemade butter and jam which are put on a rattan basket; it gives the unique presentation. For me I give it five stars.
- The scenic corn field route / Sky road "Highway No.1256" -.
In order not to waste any more time, after I finish my breakfast, I quickly pack all my belonging and continue our journey. The weather today doesn't seem so nice and clear again. I will drive on the popular, "Highway No.1081", a winding path, as always, but the road will be wider than yesterday. At first, if I am not in a rush, the resort recommends to drive around to watch the landing stairs fields on Chalermphrakiat road. During the rainy season, if anyone interested, you could try to drive on this route and please share the experiences.
The distance of this route is approximately 70 kilometers, but it is not as difficult as yesterday. The winding section is only 40-50 kilometers but the steep and winding road takes us sometime to drive. Therefore, it's no surprise that most people like to drive on the "Highway No.1081", or known as "Santisuk District" route.
The scenery from both sides is very spectacular. In the rainy season, villagers began to plant corn on
the mountain almost in every square meters. Every time I see the space in the
side of the road or a spacious road shoulder which we could stop the car, I
will stop by and look for the outstanding views. It takes me sometimes to get the
picture as there is a little rain along the way. There are fallen trees
blocking the road in some part that it left only one lane for driving. Therefore,
if you drive up the mountain during rainy season, you must be careful as there
are landslides or other things fall and might have blocked roads anytime.
When the rain stopped, the fog was gone as well. But the sky was still not clear along the route. Every time we park, we could see the different scenery of the corn fields. When we see the beautiful view, we will take a little while there. Especially a walk on the ridge which is the gravel path, this takes me around half an hour. The weather is really refreshing and I would like to come back here again in the winter time which is the period after harvest season and the area will be covered with yellow color all over places. Actually, I would like to walk farther and stay longer than this but my father is waiting for me in the car.
On the contrary, I couldn't help but thinking that where is the forest? All the mountains become bald. When summer time comes, they will burn the forest in preparation for planting corn in the next round and it becomes a severe smoke pollution across the northern part every year.
After finish from this beautiful area which I enjoy the ride very much, I then drive into town to connect with "Highway No.1169", we will let the GPS navigator lead us the way. We arrive at the hotel and it is not the time for check-in yet, therefore, we ask for some recommended restaurant. At last we got a restaurant names "Huen Hom", which is in a travel book that I carry with. We have to try it then. This restaurant sells local food and it seems to be one of famous restaurants here as there are many tourists here and moreover, it has been recommended in a guidebook as well. As we come and sit here, I see two groups of people that we have breakfast together; feel like we have the same road map.
Sometimes I do not know what to order because I eat northern food often at home and I want to change the menu. However, I will try the northern food, Hung Lay Curry and Fried Chicken Ma Kwan which I failed to order at "Pong Sa Dining Room/ Bo Klua View Resort". From my point of view, my favorite dish is fried chicken as it is very crispy and has a good smell. I regret not ordering it at Bo Klua because we were too full. For the Hung lay Curry, personally I think, it's a bit too sweet. But the tourist might prefer this taste. I like Hang Lay Curry at my home which my mom or the cooker at home cooks it (same recipe), it's more enjoyable for me.
- Whispering love at
“Phumin Temple" -
Explore "Love Whispering" - reflection pictures and stained glasses.
After the meal, we have a little more time and the temple is not far away, therefore, I would like to visit "Wat Phumin" before we went to the hotel. This temple is considered as a highlight of Nan province. Besides, they have famous ancient wall murals called "Pu Man, Ya Man" which is a source of "The Whispering". This image is used for the decorative pattern on one baht banknote during the World War I.
I take sometimes to walk and
take photos and it looks like my father got tired so he went back to wait for
me at the car. I continue to go to make the merit and worship the Buddha image for more than
half an hour. When the time that I went back at the car, it seems that my
father really would like to take a rest at the hotel.
Phumin Temple: Originally named "Wat Phrom Min" is an important temple and is the most famous temple in Nan province. In the history of Nan wrote that the temple was built in the year of 1596 by King Chetabut Phrom Min, the ruler of Nan and it was named after the creator. The main chapel is in cruciform shape which is the only one in Thailand. Inside were situated 4 large Buddha images in the attitude of subduing Mara that turned his faces to the four gates facing the four directions by turning their back to each other; therefore, you can see Buddha Images' faces in any direction when you are in the main chapel. Moreover, there are valuable ancient murals which are divided into three categories; allegory of life and folklore. The most famous mural called "Pu Man, Ya man". The painting is about a young man with flirting eyes, he is whispering words to woman's ear. The painting is also known as "Whispering" and is a major symbol of Nan city as well.
After check-in at hotel, my father would like to relax and watch TV. Today, the program was not too tight as I want to focus on a Slow Life time. Then I wanted to drink some coffee, thus, I look on the book I purchased and suggestions from the hotel that should not be in a long distance. We found one café which is only a block away from the hotel. Therefore I will take a walk there but when I arrived, I found that the store was closed on Sunday. At that moment, I went back to the hotel for some suggestions and this time the hotel lends me bike to ride around. I think they saw me came back with the sweat so they lends me a bike, the bike is in cute color tone with the basket in the front. Normally the hotel has the bike for lending free of charge, anyway, I did not know at first so I did not ask for that.
This time I bike around with the hotel's bicycle to suit with Nan local atmosphere. Driving is a waste of time looking for parking spot, moreover, each places are not too far to bike. The hotel recommends the "Coffee Sound", which is not closed on Sunday and it is only one traffic light away. The name comes from the owner that owns a cars audio shop. Later he divided the shop into the coffee shop. I like the crepes taste and I ordered Iced Mocca to drink with, I feel like being a hipster for one day. Slow Life and grab a book "Hi Nan" for reading -- http://www.hinanmagazine.com – Free popular book of Nan city. There are many interesting places to visit that recommend in the book such as restaurant, accommodation, car rental and map. Do some reading to kill the time during late evening. The book is mostly placed in the coffee shop and I took this book from the hotel.
-- Wat Phra That Chae Haeng --
After the time for relaxation and have a sip of a cup of coffee, it is time to bike back to get the car at the hotel to head to worship Phra That Chae Haeng, the temple of Nan province.
Before getting around the temple and taking photos, I will go to worship and pray the Buddha image first. Making a merit and make some wish for myself and family before start walking to take a photo.
It is already late afternoon right now, therefore, there are not much people there. I feel very lucky that the sky is brighter than morning time; at first I think that it will be raining all day.
Wat Phra That Chae Haeng : is a sacred place and holy things that being with Nan city since ancient time; the temple has more than 600 years of age and it is location on the small hill in the west side of Nan river. Phra That was built in bell shape which might be received the influence from “Phra That Hariphunchai – Lamphun Province". Phra That Chae Haeng is the temple of year of the rabbit. Since ancient time, Lanna people has a belief that for those who was born in this rabbit year and come to worship Phra That of each zodiac could get a great blessing.
-- Wat Phra That Khao Noi –
It is time for today's last attraction; we will visit“Wat Phra That Khao Noi" to take photos of the last light during evening time. The temple is located on the mountain, when watch below, you could see the 180 degrees spectacular view of Nan city.
From above view, you could see “Wat Phra That Chae Haeng" in the far distance. This area is pretty suitable for watch the sun rise. However, it is also nice during evening time as you could watch the scenery of Nan city when open the lights during night time.
There are not many tourists during my visit at the time. I can set a camera at the middle area and no need to squeeze to anyone; however, I feel a bit lonely somehow. When it is getting dark, people is lesser and left only me at last. Other bikers come and stop here for only a while and they all left. It is pretty dark during the way down that I have to pray while I am driving. At first I intend to come back here again at 5 o'clock in early morning by entering to a small door of the temple, but I have change my mind already and think that just being here today is alright.
-- Pukha Nanfa Hotel --
After finishing taking photo, I then head back to my hotel. Since there is rain and some sunlight today making me feel exhausted and don't have feeling to go anywhere so I just have dinner around the hotel.
The original signboard of the hotel.
“Pukha Nanfa" is our accommodation tonight, is the hotel that has a quiet long history. The exterior made by nice old wooden structure; however, after the hotel is changed the owner. The hotel has been renovated in all aspects in the concept of conservation which still keeps the original unique style; nonetheless, modify the decorative and interior design to be in a modern way. Moreover, they also change the amenities quality for example bedding set and Madam Heng soap.
The first time that I have heard about this hotel is around year 2011. At that time I happened to watch the news that the princess, Phra Thep came here to do the open ceremony so I kept in my mind that if I have a chance to travel at Nan, I will come to stay at this hotel. Besides, I don't feel disappointed at all, although the price is rather high comparing with other hotel in Nan province.
Day 3 – Head east “Highway No.1256" / Turn right “Highway No.1081" / Turn left “Highway No.1169" / Arrive at destination “Pukha Nanfa Hotel" – Muang district, Nan province.
-- Day 4 : Raining day in the last day of the
Finally, it is the last day of our journey, our three nights has passed by pretty fast and we have to head back to Chiang Mai. Actually, I think at least 5 days is better to travel in much more area. At first today I have planned to visit Khun Sathan National Park and Sri Nan National Park and then head to Doi Samer Dao and think that I might reach at Chiang Mai around evening. However, there is heavy rain today, consequently, I need to cancel all the plan as there is nothing I can watch in the raining day and it will waste the time to drive there at this condition.
In conclusion, if anyone have a chance, I would suggest everyone to stay overnight for one or two nights at Khun Sathan National Park and Sri Nan National Park as if the weather is nice, you might find the sea mist in the morning and could watch and count the star with your love one together as well as watch beautiful sunrise and sunset. Before the journey, I have planned to go to Srinan National Park in my travel plan as well; moreover, I have reserved the room already. However, I make an inquiry with National Park and knew that there is no restaurant opens for serving during low season, we have to prepare by ourselves. Moreover, the weather forecast shown that there is the bad weather during the time so I decide to rearrange the travel plan and choose to stay at Bo Kruea instead.
As the weather in the last day of the journey is pretty bad, we face the rain shower, therefore, I would like to end this review and saying goodbye to everyone here. I would like to thank you everyone for reading the review until here and I hope that the information and the story that I write might be useful more or less. Moreover, if the pictures I took could attract everyone to follow and travel to this place, I must be very happy. I would like to invite everyone to travel in Thailand, especially Nan province that has many more interest attractions awaiting everyone to travel.
Day 4 – Head south “Highway No.101" / Turn right “Highway No.11" – Den Chai district, Lampang Province / End of the journey – Chiang Mai Province.
If possible, before saying
goodbye, I would like to ask everyone to vote our team T07 which I participate
and be a part of this team. For those who have Facebook, you could follow the
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As a member of “Uncle Deng and Aunt Kai – T07" team, I would like to press my thankful to everyone for voting.
Lastly, I would like to thank you everyone again for reading the review and hope that the review will be useful for those who would like to travel in Nan province. If anyone have any suggestion or would like to talk, you could find me at :
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I would like to thank you “Readme.me" for the space to post my travel journal in this time.
Thank you to Tourism Authority of Thailand for supporting the great activity.
Thank you TTBN & One22.
Thank you Nok Air, although I did not have a chance to travel this time.
Thank you Thai Rent A Car for an high speed energy car.
Thank you Keen, outdoor adventurous shoes that I adore for long time; I can wear the shoes with my child now.
Thank you Outdoor Innovation.
And I have to thank you “Uncle Deng and Aunt Kai" for thinking of me and invite me to be the part of the team.
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