Nan & The Kingdom Of Nan
Wat Phumin At Nan
- Nan is a major town in the Nan Valley on the Nan River in Nan Province (once the Kingdom of Nan). The Nan Kingdom was formed in 13th C. Nan is distinguished by the presence there of the Tai Lao and Tai Lu whose presence there has influenced the forms of art and architecture.
- The National Museum which was once the Palace of the local ruler
- Wat Phumin
- Wat Phra That Chang Khan Vora Viharn (the monastery of the relic supported by elephants). This was originally built in 1406.
Inside Wat Phumin Nan
- Mention Thailand's northern provinces, and for most people whether Thai resident or foreign visitor images of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Doi Mae Salong and the Golden Triangle come readily to mind. In recent years, even remote Mae Hong Son has become popular with visitors.
- Few people, by comparison, think of the North's northeastern provinces of Nan and Phrae as popular destinations. Long off the beaten track, and formerly made dangerous by communist insurgency, these provinces have still to be fully discovered. Yet in today's peaceful conditions, provided with an excellent and ever-expanding road network and good air services, Thailand's little-known northeast has much to offer and is more accessible than ever before.
- For most travelers to the north, Phrae is little more than a name on the map. Located 25 kilometres northeast of the small station of Denchai on the Bangkok Chiang Mai railway, and similarly well to the east of Route 1, the main highway linking Bangkok with the north, it receives relatively few visitors. For those intent on discovering some of the less well-known reaches of the ancient Lan Na Kingdom, however, the city and province are well worth a visit.
- Phrae is quite prosperous from tobacco and, until recently, from logging. The town is well-known for its beautifully manufactured rattan furniture, though this is too heavy a souvenir for most visitors to consider buying. More popular and universally recognized throughout Thailand are the province's famous seua maw hawm, the distinctive indigo-dyed farmer's shirt worn all over the country. Today, even university professors, bank managers and politicians like to sport this "symbol of solidarity" with rural Thai life.
- One of the attractions of Phrae is the unusual blending of temple architecture. Here one can find not only traditional Lan Na temples, with their sturdy, multi-tiered roofs, gracefully curved eaves, and prominent portico, but also fine examples of both Shan and Lao temple architecture. Reasons for this diversity of style are not hard to find. The Lao connection is directly attributable to the proximity of Laos and former associations with the 15th century Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang. By contrast, Burmese influence present in nearly all Phrae temples dates mainly from the mid 19th century, when the province emerged as a major logging centre, attracting labor from the nearby Shan States. Even earlier, there was a Burman enclave left behind from the Burmese occupation of the Lan Na Kingdom.
Wat Phumin Nan North Thailand
- The most interesting Shan-style temples are Wat Chom Sawan and Wat Sra Bo Keo, both of which boast fine Burmese influenced chedi. Contrasting Lao influences can be seen at Wat Si Chum and Wat Phra Non, amongst several other Lao-style temples. In a town of temples, perhaps the best-known Buddhist place of worship is Wat Phra That Cho Hae, built on a hill eight kilometers east of the town centre. Five separate flights of stairs lead up the teak covered hill. The stairs on the right are guarded by Burmese style lions, whilst those on the left are flanked by more familiar nagas. At the top of the right hand stairway is a widely revered Buddha image, the Phra Chao Tan Chai, which is believed to have the power to grant wishes.
- Phrae itself is an ancient town, though traces of its past history beyond the old moats and the remains of Old City fortifications are few. Attractions close by Phrae include the village of Thung Hong, just three kilometers north of the city center along Route 101 to Nan. This is the main center for Phrae's famous indigo blue seua maw hawm, and is well worth a visit. So, too, is the nearby Ban Prathup Jai, a large northern-style wood house which required more than 130 teak logs in its construction.
- Seven kilometers beyond Thung Hong on Route 101, a side road on the right just before the kilometer 143 marker leads, via a dusty dirt road, to Muang Phi, or "The City of Ghosts". Here, through a strange geological phenomenon, erosion by wind, rain, and the passage of time has created bizarre rock pillars in a variety of weird and uncanny shapes. The overall impression is rather unworldly like visiting an asteroid, or the surface of the moon and, hardly surprisingly, the area is widely held to be haunted.
Wat Phumin Nan North Thailand