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North Region Trip 4 Pay respects to Phra That’s year of birth - Old Lana Temple, and conquer Phu Lanka-Phu Ka Phrae – Nan- Phayao

Posted on วันพฤหัส, พฤศจิกายน 27th, 2008 at 1:49 pm

4 days 3 nights

From Phrae downtown, drive along Cho Hae road on highway No 1022 for 9 km to Phra That Cho Hae. It is a pagoda where the hair and relic of the left elbow of Buddha is enshrined. The chedi is a holy place of the province and houses the Buddha relic for the year of tiger. Between the 9th to the 15th waxing moon of the fourth lunar month or around March, an annul worship ritual is performed at the site.

Proceed to Phae Mueang Phi by using the same route on highway No 101 in Nong Muang Khai district. Drive for 12 km until at 143 km, turn right to take highway No 1134 for another 6 km to reach the site. Phae Muaeng Phi is a wide tree-less area. Because of subsidence and erosion of soil, the harder elements remain and are formed into the shapes of exotic-looking mushrooms. The name Phae Mueang Phi is believed to come from a local dialect. Phae means “grove” and Muang Phi refers to “desolated”.

Resume the journey by using highway No 101 to enter Rong Kwang district. Arriving at the intersection, turn left to highway No 103 and go for 18 km. You will pass Rong Kwang Hospital (054-597-115, 054-597-398) and after that switch to highway No 1154 to Song district. Drive another 3 km to visit Phra That Phra Lo, which is over 400 years old. It was built as a testimony to the immortal love between Phra Lo, ruler of Maen Suang, and his lovers Phra Phuen and Phra Phaeng of Muang Srong. The Thai literary work “Li Lit Phra Lo” is based on their romance.

Take the same route back until you reach the intersection. Turn left to highway No 101 to Rong Kwang district. When you arrive at the three-way conjunction, turn right to highway No 1216 until you reach Nanoi district in Nan. Take highway No 1083 and drive 18 km. Turn left and go straight for 2 km on the narrow concrete road to reach Pha Chu where the Si Nan National Park is located.

Highway No 1216 is winding with some parts steep and isolated. There is no village and no lights. Drive very carefully especially at night time.

Pha Chu is a high cliff inside the park. Legend says it is the spot where a dramatic love triangle ended. On the top of the cliff there is the national flag with the longest flagstaff in Thailand.

Doi Samer Dao and Pha Hua Sing is another popular site. Drive back on the same route to 16 km. Go along the asphalt road for 650 metres and you will see a viewpoint, which oversees Nan River and a range of mountains. It’s the best spot to have a glimpse of picturesque sunrise and sunset. A spacious area is provided for camping and watching stars at night. Visitors should bring their own supplies and camping equipment. There are numerous trekking trails to study nature. For further details contact Si Nan National Park (054-701-106).

In the morning, head towards the town to pay respects to a Buddha image by using the same route back. Drive to Na Noi district and connect to highway No 1206 in Wiang Sa district before changing to highway No 101 to Muang district. When in town, drive along Mahayos road, past Wat Suan Taan. Turn right to Pha Kong road. Go past Phumin temple, which is on right near the National Museum.

Phumin is a royal temple with a unique design. It features a 4-portico, single building housing both the Ubosot and Vihara. The wall murals, locally called “Hoop Taem”, were designed in Thai Lu style. It is considered highly valuable and depicts the legends of Lord Buddha. Four Buddha statues with their heads against each other are installed in the main hall facing four directions. The doors are delicately carved in splendid Lana or northern design.

From Nan downtown, cross the Nan River bridge. Take highway No 1168 Nan-Mae Charim for 3 km to go to Wat Phra That Chae Haneg, a monastery built in bell shape. It represents the Year of Rabbit. Lana people pay respects to the Phra That of their Year of Birth, or “Chu That”, hoping for great results.

Have a lunch break in Nan town before heading to Doi Phu Kha National Park. Leave from Muang Nan district by using highway No 1080 via Wang Pha district. When arriving in Pua district, stay on the tar road for 60 km and then connect to highway No 1256. Go to the Bo Kluea district for another 25 km to reach the site where an extensive parking area is provided.

The summit of Doi Phu Kha is the highest in Nan, 1,980 metres above the sea level. It is the source of several steams with magnificent views. Temperature drops to 5 degrees Celsius between December and January.

The route from Pua district to the park is winding and steep up the mountain. Drive carefully and use low gear. Brakes can go out of order if you step on them too often.

Accommodation and camping are available at Doi Phu Kha National Park. Contact the National Park, Wildlife and Plan Conservation Department (02-562-0760).

The next morning, absorb the fresh air at the park. After breakfast, depart for Phu Lanka Forest Park in Phayao province. Use the old route back to Pua district to get to highway No 1080 back to Tha Wang Pha district. Next, take highway No 1097, and then to No 1148 via Song Khwae. Stop to get your supplies and drive to Pong district in Phayao. The road is winding and steep. There are no lights on parts of the route at night.

At 90 km, turn right where a big sign “Entrance to the Phu Lanka Forest Park” can be noticed. Go down the fine tar road for 12 km then a red dirt road, which is winding and steep. Be careful with the cars coming from the opposite lane as the route is narrow. Traveling in a 4-wheel-drive car is therefore suggested. Four-wheel-drive cars can be rented up to the Phu Lanka at the Chiang Kham Song Theow Queuing Spot. Normal car can make it only to the park office but to reach the park accommodation area, a pickup is needed. Or you can proceed on foot and enjoy the beautiful nature along the way. Pickup service is also available.

Up the park, accommodation is available and so is a camping area. Bicycles are for rent. You can ride along the trails and study nature, watch birds and enjoy the beautiful scenery. However, only a limited number of rooms and tents are available. It’s a good idea to contact the park office ahead of the journey on 081-830-0307.

Spend a night at the park accommodation. Wake up at 4am and walk up to the summit of Phu Lanka, or use a pickup service. Experience the sea of mist on the Phu Nom summit and catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunrise and picturesque view. The park is open from 5am to 6pm.

Phu Lanka is the most beautiful summit and is 1,720 metres above the sea level. It is the highest summit among the San Pun Nam Thai-Lao mountain ranges. Up the north is a rain forest, which is the source of Yom River. It’s another perfect spot to watch the sea of mist, sunrise and sunset as well as the striking wild flowers, especially between the end of rainy season and the beginning of winter. Weather is fine all year round. Nearby is the Phu Nom summit, which is 1,600 metres above sea level, and offers a 360-degree view.

Get back to the journey by using highway No 1148 to Pong district and turn right to reach the three-way conjunction, which meets highway No 1092 and go straight until you reach Pong district.

From Pong district, change to highway No 1091 towards Jun district. After driving past Jun hospital (054-459-035), take a break in Jun district before resuming the trip. Take highway No 1021 to Dok Kam Tai district until you reach highway No 1 in Muang Phayao district.

Pay respects to Phra Chao Ton Luang at Wat Si Khom Kham on the side of highway No 1 in Tumbon Wiang, Muang district. The temple houses the largest Buddha statute of Lanna Thai or Phra Chao Ton Luang, which is a sitting Buddha with a lap width of 14 metres and height of 16 metres. The statue was built between 1491-1524 and regarded as the sacred item of the Lana kingdom.

Stroll along Kwan Phayao, which is the North’s biggest fresh-water lake, where you can see the Doi Luang mountain ranges from the distance. “Kwan” in the local dialect means lake. It is a fresh-water fishing area. Rent a boat to pay respects to Phra Klang Nam at the Wat Ti Lok Aram. The wat is an ancient temple located in the middle of the lake for hundreds of years. A ferry charge is Bt20 per person. Finally, sit back and relax by the lake to view the stunning sunset.

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Accommodation

Nakhon Phrae Tower in Muang district, Phraep; Price Bt600-1,800; Tel 054-511-122, 054-521-321

Upkaeo Resort Hotel in Pua district, Nan; Tel 054-756-588-9

Juthamas Resort in Muang district, Nan; Price Bt100-1,500; Tel 054-797-044

Bua Resort in Muang district, Phayao; Price Bt400-1,400; Tel 054-481-596

Souvenir shops

Pa Sin Hom Yom Mue Group (hand-made cotton) in Muang district, Phrae; Tel 054-522-937

Wood Powder Moulding Group in Song district, Phrae; Tel 089-429-5525, 054-642-053

Jansom Karn Thor in Wnag Pha district, Nan; Tel 054-771-515

Fai Ngern in Munag district, Nan; Tel 054-741-564

Water Hyacinth Hand-Products Lady Group in Muang district, Phayao; Tel 054-461-289

Police Stations

Muang Phare Police Station: Tel 054-511-089

Muang Nan Police Station: Tel  054-710-004, 054-710-033

Muang Phayao Police Station: Tel 054-431-143, 054-431-888

Jun Police Station: Tel 054-459-239

Hospitals

Phrae Hospital: Tel 054-533-492-4

Nan Hospital: Tel 054-710-138

Phayao Hospital: Tel 054-410-501-11

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