This beautiful province bordering Laos to the east and Phayao to the west and Phrae to the south. The province is famous for its numerous and vast National parks with extraordinary beauty and biodiversity.
Before leaving I practically knew nothing about this region. During my thirteen years in Thailand, I have travelled so much more towards the southern horizons and the islands, which might be after some careful consideration a mistake… The North is absolutely fantastic. The landscape, the culture and the people seem endlessly captivating, inspiring and genuine.
A friend visiting from Europe had previously done some research about the region. So this was a perfect time for us both to get out of the city and enjoy a few days of countryside life.
Nan is a bit over an hour flight away from Bangkok and the lovely resort for this visit, Nan Seasons, on the outskirts of the town was only a fifteen-minutes trip from the airport, so really no hassle getting here. The resort had a scooter waiting for me, on our first day we explored the town mostly with starting point at the temple Wat Phumin.
Wat Phumin might be one of it’s kind;
The fascination of the “whisperer” The two lovers mural, it depicts a very tender and dear moment. These kinds of scenes are rarely shown in temples. The “Whisperer” has become the very treasure and landmark of the region, you can find books and souvenirs everywhere telling the story.
The murals on the wall, which date back to the mid 19th Century, are worth a closer look. They depict some of the stories from the Jataka, which is the story of the ten previous lives of the Lord Buddha. However, what is most fascinating about these murals is their historical value in showing the local way of life during the reign of King Rama V.Richard Barrow in Thailand
The second day of our journey,
we had a car and a driver. The most lovely assisting manager at the resort proposed to take us around in the region and I was very happy not to have to drive. I could concentrate instead on the landscape and the beautiful surroundings. We had a great stop at this coffee place up in the valley in Santi Suk. Before we left Nan town we stopped by at this small very local restaurant, where Chef Prayuth cooked a few traditional dishes from the region for us. There will be a separate story on this topic.
Suk, we headed further up north,
stopped at a waterfall and then at this curious “Umbrella” temple and we had lunch with traditional soup and Sai-Ur from here. We had more coffee in yet another beautiful place. This region has fantastic coffee! something completely new to me, I will try to see if I can order my coffee from here…?
Later on, we visited another temple also very famous for the stunning mural paintings; Wat Nong Bua in Tha Wang Pha. It was a calm and peaceful place, almost no visitors, not a temple many visitors to Thailand find?
Heading back south to Nan town,
stopping at the Nan Riverside Art Gallery, beautifully located on the river in very lush and green nature. And at last perhaps the most fascinating café/restaurant in the creek, you are literally seated in the creek, great for cooling down after a long day on the road. At the end of the day, we went to the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s farming cooperation for rice and coffee. One of the staff took us around the site and talked about all the great things they are doing up here for the farmers, they are very proud of their mission.
Our third day in Nan,
we spent mostly relaxing by the pool at the resort, the air was very bad due to the burning of farmland, something farmers do every year in the north and it’s a real health and environmental issue. A slow drive up the hill to the Rabbit Temple, I got a bit lost and practised my utterly bad Thai with the locals. People are most friendly and nice.
I must say,
whenever you have a possibility to leave the city; do it! because it is refreshing to get away from the comfort of Bangkok. I also feel a bit more humble as a foreigner living here in Thailand specifically when I’m not in Bangkok. I tend to complain less about things I find annoying in society and I’m actually much nicer and less stressed, I think… Bangkok is a very stressful city; noisy, dusty and the worst traffic in the world… well perhaps not, but one of the worst.