Nestled beside the Nan River, Nan is a peaceful rural township surrounded by some of Thailand’s best national parks and temples. Nan will undoubtedly lure you in with its artsy cafes and local galleries, while the national museum and iconic structures showcase the region’s deeper history and traditions.
Things to do
Begin your Nan holiday exploring the dynamic town centre, where the famous Wat Phumin features a 16th-century cruciform ubosot, Chinese demon guards and stunning Thai Lue architecture. On the inside you can admire the intricate murals depicting locals from centuries ago. Wander over to the Nan National Museum, a former palace that houses historic artefacts and photographs.
Rent a bicycle and ride three kilometres up to Wat Phra That Khao Noi, which sits atop a hill overlooking the town. A large golden Buddha statue sits at the top, but it’s the panoramic views of the town and countryside that give you a reason to pause.
Art enthusiasts should make the short drive north to Rim Nan Art Gallery, where you can admire traditional statues, paintings and garden sculptures. Back in town, indulge in some riverside dining at Huan Chao Nang or Sanian Restaurant, which serve traditional Thai dishes. Dive deep into local life at Tang Chitnusorn Market, where you can pick up fresh produce and handicrafts.
Save some time to explore Doi Phu Kha National Park, home to a verdant forest and cascading waterfalls. It’s highlighted by the 1,980-metre-tall Doi Phu Kha mountain and features numerous ancient cave systems. Want a challenge? Take on the three-day trek up the 1,837-metre-high Doi Phu Wae peak.
Nan is about 10 minutes from Nan Nakhon Airport, which has regular flights from Chiang Mai. You can also catch buses to Nan from Bangkok and Chiang Mai. You can get around Nan by renting motorbikes, catching taxis or riding in trishaws.
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