Every journey has a destination and every body has their own dream. Even though our destination for a journey can be the same, the time and season might be different. In other words, the time is an essential factor that delivers different experiences on a journey. For me, my style of journey is traveling alone because my working and time off schedule is pretty different from my friends. Moreover, I guess a lot of opportunities in traveling would be wasted if I wait until my friends and I have the same off days so we can travel together. For this reason, I choose to be a solo traveler. This makes me brave and I can learn how to solve immediate problem on my own. Well, the very first trip as a solo traveler is here on this trip in Nan.
Question : Why I choose "Nan" to be the very first trip traveling alone?
Answer : I have found a promotion flying to Nan with Nok Air and I have listened to a song talking about this place. So I guess let's just go here.
I am going to Nan in April 2015. Actually, I have written a review about this trip earlier and have it posted on Pantip.com and Tripily.net. Well, this trip is just too good so I better write a really good one to share with all of you here on Readme.me
The journey in Nan is from 23 to 25 April 2015. The plan is as follows.
23 April 2015 DMK - NAN, travel around Nan Tourist Information Center
24 April 2015 Bike to Wat Phra That Khao Noi, and around the downtown
25 April 2015 Bike to Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, take a walk in the morning market, and go back to Bangkok
23th April 2015
I am on my way to Don Mueang International Airport to take the flight with Nok Air to Nan. Today the aircraft that will take me there is Nok Yoknapha.
I am very lucky to find JIBJIB by Nok Air Magazine Volume Nan on board. So I take sometimes study more about the city through it as well as from Tailwind Magazine. I also have got some more names of good cafes and restaurants in Nan from them.
Nan Nakhon Airport / NAN
I have arrived at Nan Nakhon Airport, a completely new and beautiful airport. I would rate it 10 out of 10 in overall.
Before getting into the building, let's take a photo of Nok Yoknapha first!
Additional information about Nan Nakhon Airport
1. Nowadays there are only 2 airlines flying here from Bangkok, Nok Air and AirAsia.
2. There is Kan Air operating the flight between Nan and Chiang Mai (NAN - CNX and CNX - NAN)
KAN AIR (Official Website)
Welcome signboard welcoming you to Nan Nakhon Airport located right at the entrance to the arrival gate. There is another one at the departure gate. This is just like in the resort.
Let's move to have a look at something more official! Nan Nakhon Airport belongs to Department of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Transport. This is the most beautiful airport of Department of Civil Aviation as I know. Well, it is time to find out how to get to the hotel now. I am not sure if I need to take the blue local minibus or what. I have decided to take a taxi in order to be safe since I am tired as well. My taxi driver is a young local guy named Teelek. He is not only doing his job of driving but also giving some information about all the attractions that we drive passing by such Satree Sri Nan School as an example. In other words, I have got both taxi driver and a tour guide. He asked me how many people are with me traveling here. "Alone", I answered. He looks surprised but didn't say anything. It has been an enjoyable ride before arriving at the hotel. The taxi fare is 100 THB. If you ask me if this is expensive or not? I would say yes but it is very worth it because Teelek drives slowly and explain all the tourist spots along the way.
I am staying at Wiang Phumin Hotel right close to Wat Phumin and Tourist Information Center. Therefore, it is very convenient to travel around (I will talk more about this later). I don't hesitate to unpack and freshen up myself quickly before grabbing one of the hotel's bicycles to Wat Phumin. It will take me only 5 minutes to get there.
This is the ambiance in front of the temple on the weekday. It is pretty quiet. Thus, I could sum up the advantages of having different day offs from others as follows.
1. Flight tickets and hotel rooms are cheaper
2. Most of the tourist attractions are not crowded
The main hall and the ordination hall in Wat Phumin are in the same building. This is also where the famous "Poo Marn Yar Marn" mural painting can be found. Poo in Thai normally means grandpa and Yar means grandma but Poo Marn Yar Marn here are all about young adult man and woman. On the other hand, Marn means Myanmar. This mural painting is also known as "the World Famous Whispering Love Mural". You shouldn't miss to come and see this for any reasons.
Then I am here at the center of the hall paying homage to 4 huge Buddha images in the attitude of subduing Mara which they are facing to all 4 archways. You can actually see that the main hall is built as if it were on the back of two huge immense snakes (or Nagas) from the outside. And this can be interpreted as the way we all want to cherish Buddhism to remain forever.
Around the main hall, you can learn the history of Nan through the well-presented photo exhibition.
A large area in front of the temple is where Khuang Muang is (more details of Khuang Muang is in the photo above). Then I continue to walk a cross the street to Tourist Information Center.
Tourist Information Center is surrounded by numbers of cafes so if you need something to drink, you can go to the one you like straight away. I almost forget to mention that Nan is one of the 12 must-visit cities in Thailand 2015 of Tourism Authority of Thailand as well.
I am at Tourist Information Center to ask if there are any activities going on here in the downtown right now. I have limited time so I can't go to another town. The officer hands me a brochure about "Slow Biking Campaign" and asks if I am interested. Of course, I have always wanted to bike here (I also took you to take a bicycle ride in Taiwan in my previous travel review, remember?). She also mentions about the tram tour at 3 PM which I was not that interested at first but after thinking over again; I guess it would give me a better overview of the town. Furthermore, it will be useful for my bicycle trip tomorrow. Thus, I will stay around drinking green tea while waiting for the tour. The tour is 30 THB per person by the way.
This is another brochure called "Forever Nan Experience". This brochure is like a travel passport for you to collect the stamps from indicated tourist spots in order to use to exchange for a gift. I don't use this brochure though. I use Slow Biking brochure instead which works the same.
It is 3 PM now and it is the time for the tram tour. The first temple I am seeing now is Wat Phra That Chang Kham, another well-known temple in the downtown where it is located on the opposite site of Tourist Information Center. The tram then turns left passing Wat Phumin, the City Pillar Shrine, and stop at Wat Sri Panton.
Wat Sri Panton can be seen from far away because of its golden color ordination hall.
From Wat Sri Panton, we are going to Hong Chao Fong Kham, a house of a descendant of Nan governor. "Hong" in local language is used to call houses of nobleman in Lanna Kingdom.
This is the atmosphere outside and on Hong Chao Fong Kham. (The detail of this place will be explained later because I will come back here tomorrow, today is just a quick stop over with the tram tour).
The tram is now passing by Nan Christian Suksa School where there is a scary story about. Pukha Nanfa Hotel is up next. The beautiful young tour guide told us that the hotel room here used to be very cheap but it is now pretty expensive after the renovation. This gives us a little something to laugh about.
Oh! That is SWEETY 9 Cafe, the one listed in Nan Travel book. Well, I need to remember how to get here because I will ride a bike back to this cafe later today. It is located right next to LA Bicycle Shop.
Then the tram takes us back to Tourism Information Center. I will go and grab my bike that I have parked at Wat Phumin. But before doing that, let's follow the traditional tourist activity to walk under the dragon's belly! It is believed that if you do so, you will have a chance to come back here to Nan. Well, I have done walking under it for 3-4 times so I might be able to have a family here, no? Eiei
You can find Nan's traditional clothing and Buddha amulets here at OTOP Center and at the walking street.
And I am now at Kong Wan Pa Nim (Auntie Nim Dessert Place). I don't hesitate to order Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Homemade Vanilla Ice cream right away. This is good, it is tasty and not sugary (but pretty pricey though).
I enjoy taking photos of the ambiance here while having the dessert. I also have got some useful information for you. Kong Wan Pa Nim's place is closed every Wednesday and if you would like to eat the famous Bua Loy Kai Waan (Sticky Rice Balls in Sweet Coconut Cream), you need to come after 6 PM. I am a bit lazy to wait for that this time so I will skip it. I won't miss it next time for sure.
I ride the bike back toward Wat Phumin direction passing Nan City Pillar Shrine. If you go and have a look closely to the City Pillar Shrine, you will see that the architectural style is similar to the famous Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple) in Chiang Rai. I am not even sure if the White Temple has got the idea of this kind of architecture from here.
This is another popular landmark in Nan, the tunnel of frangipani. It is another must-to-visit spot located in Nan National Museum. The tunnel offers different kind of beauty in different seasons. For instance, you will experience the green tunnel in summer (without frangipani flowers) and you will see the bold tree tunnel in winter.
My next stop is Wat Phra That Chang Kham where it is located on the opposite site of Nan National Museum and Tourist Information Center. Let's say! All the main tourist attractions are close to each other so it is very convenient to go around. Those who love to experience traditional culture and local way of life will like it here. Once you enter Wat Phra That Chang Kham, you will see 10 gongs that you need to hit for luck. Each of the gong offers different kind of lucks. And I will come back to do this on my last day in Nan.
Next to the 10-gong is the main chedi. This chedi appears to be supported by half-body elephant statues protruding out of its base. This is why it is called "Phra That Chang Kham (Chedi supported by elephants)".
I guess I better go to the market now. From my point of view, you can learn and experience the true local way of life by going to the market especially in the morning and evening. The market is located close to Pukha Nanfa Hotel.
Huen Ying Chai l Ancient Kala Noodle
After walking through the market for a while and I still can't decide what to have for dinner. I start to ride a bike again in the direction to Nan Christian Suksa School. I have found a noodle restaurant which I think I will eat here. It is called Huen Ying Chai - Ancient Kala Noodle. Wow! This is not bad. It is just the portion that is a little small for me. Anyway, the dinner is done and I will go back to the hotel and rest before rocking tomorrow.
24th April 2015
I woke up around 4 AM because I didn't sleep well. I am kind of scared of the ghosts. hahaha Anyway, let's take a shower and go to do some morning activities!
I ride a bike pass Nan Provincial Prison and turn right before reaching the main road to go to Wat Phra That Khao Noi. Well, I am facing with a steep slope before reaching the temple. I guess I have to walk while holding my bike along. In addition, there is a Watershed Management Division before approaching Wat Phra That Khao Noi.
Wat Phra That Khao Noi l Mueang District, Nan
It is getting brighter now. I better be hurry to get to the temple before the sunrise. This is what I see after I have arrived. I would like to let these photos tell the story themselves.
The main viewpoint deck is where "Phra Buddha Mhaha Udom Mongkol Srinan" situated.
The sun is up. The orange sky starts to turn into the blue color. Even though it is in summer, the weather is still very nice in the morning. Well, this is not including the time that I have to walk my bike up here. I was sweating so badly.
The view over the viewpoint deck is amazing especially during the sunrise. To be honest with you, I have mostly experienced only the view during the daytime and sunset. Oh! There is one more thing. I forget to tell you that the stairway up here has 303 steps.
I guess this is too early for tourists to come up here that is why I only see the monks working on the fallen leaves. After spending time here for a while, it is time to go back to the downtown for some food.
It is very calm and quiet in Downtown Nan on the weekday. This offers you a quality time to do things with no rush or hurry. I am riding a bike to OTOP Center for 7-Eleven to get some food and drinks.
National Museum I Nan
I ride the bike back to Nan National Museum because I realized last night that there is one thing I miss to see. I am also here to take more photos around the museum including the frangipani tunnel.
Wat Noi : National Museum, Nan
Wat Noi is known as the smallest temple in Thailand. This temple was built according to the wrong number of temples in Nan that had been reported to King Rama V. There were actually 13 temples but it has been reported that there were 14.
Frangipani Tunnel, National Museum I Nan
There are people coming to run around on a quiet weekday. Unfortunately, the museum is closed for some restoration so I don't have a chance to get inside. What a pity!
It is time to go back to the hotel for the breakfast prepared by the hotel.
I stay at Wiang Phumin Hotel for my entire trip in Nan. The main reason why I choose to stay here is that it is close to Wat Phumin, Tourist Information Center, and Nan Provincial Prison. Eiei However, the hotel doesn't look airy from the outside. I think they should have more windows. Anyway, it is a very small hotel located among the local people's houses and it blends so well.
SWEETY 9 I NAN
I just had some boiled rice for breakfast and I am going to SWEETY 9. I went there yesterday but I didn't take a look at the time so it was closed. SWEETY 9 opens until 5.30 PM normally. I met the owner at that time (the auntie in the photo above). She was about to make my order but unfortunately all of her staff have gone back home already. That is why she asked me to come back today. And yes Auntie! I am coming. Once I have arrived in front of SWEETY 9, auntie remembers me and she is giving me a gesture telling me to ride my bike and park near LA Bicycle Shop.
They have a pretty pricey breakfast here but it is the highlight of this place so let's just go for it! This menu is called SWEETY9 BREAKFAST (price is as shown in the photo above). It is a very delicious local breakfast, I would say.
There is a picture of Poo Marn Yar Marn here too. It is easy to see this kind of picture all around the town.
Nan Christian Suksa School I Nan
After taking a walk in Nan Christian Suksa School, I am now heading to Hong Chao Fong Kham again. I have an uncompleted mission from yesterday (please wait and see). I have arrived at Hong Chao Fong Kham and have been warmly welcomed. Well, I am not sure if she is a stepchild of Chao Fong Kham or not. She is demonstrating how to do the cotton weaving (I am a little slow here because I am not good at this kind of stuffs).
Wat Phra Kerd I Nan
Kad Nan (Nan Market) I Nan
After stopping by at Wat Phra Kerd, I am trying to find Kad Nan. It is very hot now and I am riding a bike. I can only imagine that I am biking in cold weather. Oh no! I guess I am lost. So I better ask someone. Let's ask this guy who is selling Hat Yai Fried Chicken at 7-Eleven! And now I know that Kad Nan is located on the opposite site of Municipality Office, Nan.
One of my main missions here is to visit WORK BOXES Cafe as seen in Nan Travel book.
This is the atmosphere in this small cafe. There are two good-looking foreigners and a Thai who is working on his stuffs. I have ordered Green Tea Frappuccino and Mango Cheese Cake. Oh my god! This Mango Cheese Cake is full with fresh mango. I love it. The weather outside is crazy hot by the way.
The cafe is very cute with nice ambiance. And I guess I am done here, I will go back to Tourist Information Center because I have completed a mission but let's ask for the direction first!
The mission I am talking about is to ride a bike along the travel route and get the stamps from the indicated tourist spots in the travel passport. You can choose the province and the biking route depending on your journey. It is including Phrae, Nan, and Uttaradit Province and there are 2 biking routes in each province. Since I am here in Downtown Nan, I have chosen the first biking route in Nan. I have successfully completed the passport with all needed stamps and I am ready to send it to Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Phrae Office. I will get a bike light and a bag of TAT Phrae Office as a gift for doing this. This is fun, traveling and doing this challenge at the same time.
I will send this passport through the postal service. I don't want to bring it back to Bangkok and do it there because I guess this way it should be faster since Nan is next to Phrae.
I am busy with this and I have just realized that it is already lunchtime. I will go to Khao Soi Ton Nam. Khao Soi Ton Nam is a Khao Soi (Northern Thai Noodle Curry Soup) restaurant located right next to OTOP Center. It is good to finally have got a chance to eat and rest for a bit.
COFFEE SOUND @ NAN
I have been back to the hotel for a while after lunch before going out again for a cafe. This cafe is called Coffee Sound @ Nan located close to Tangtrong Jitnusorn Market. I have no chance to go to other tourist attractions outside downtown such as Pua District, Bo Kluea, Khun Sathan National Park, Doi Samur Dao, and so on, thus I choose to find a nice cafe to chill in. There are so many cafes here in downtown, I am telling you.
I can't help but order the same menu, Green Tea Frappuccino but this time I will have Pandan Cake. Well, I thought it was a piece of Green Tea Cake at first because it is green and I like green color personally. Oh! I have just realized that this trip is like a trip to try Green Tea Frappuccino in Nan and the one from here is average though. Eiei
Oops! I just saw something. I have just seen a famous restaurant in Nan when I look out from the cafe. It is located right across the street. What can I do since I am eating something sweet now? Anyway, it should be fine I just have got to go there.
Tiew Rai Thiam Than I Spicy Pork Bone Rai Thiam Than Soup
Even though my stomach is telling me to stop eating, I just can't. My desire to try wins as always. I have got to say that the noodle here is very tasty. The soup is very concentrated. Well, I have spent quite sometime trying to finish this noodle bowl because I am quite full since the beginning. The weather is getting bad now so I better going back to the hotel.
Luckily, it starts to rain heavily after I am back in the hotel but it didn't last long though. The sky is getting clear again that is when I have decided to come down and take photos around my hotel. "Wiang Phumin Hotel" also has a picture of Poo Marn Yar Marn. The hotel is decorated in white and pink color theme tone looking very sweet.
Last but not least, my second day trip in Mueang District, Nan has come to an end. I would like to end this travel review here because it has been a long day riding a bike all around. I guess I need to take some rest now. Please stay tuned for the next final episode "Bike to Phu Piang, Phra That Chae Haeng".
P.S. You can check out my previous travel review about a trip in Taiwan from the link below. Thank you for all your kind supports.
臺灣 : 桃園 -日月潭 FIRST TIME @Taiwan, A Potato-Shaped Island https://th.readme.me/p/1729