Nan Travel Guide, Nan Travel Information, Nan Thailand

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Welcome to Nan
Introduction
Naa Province A quiet and tranquil province, Nan nestles in a verdant valley in northern Thailand. About 668 kilometres from Bangkok, it covers an area of 11,472 square kilometres and is made up of the following districts: Mueang, Wiang Sa, Na Noi, Pua, Chiang Klang, Tha Wang Pha, Thung Chang, Mae Charim, Ban Luang, Na Mun, Santi Suk, Bo Kluea, Chaloem Phra Kiat, Song Khwae, and Phu Phiang.
Borders
North : Laos East : Laos
South : Uttaradit West : Phrae and Phayao
Distance
Distances to Other Provinces
Phrae 118 km Chiang Rai 270 km
Phayao 176 km Chiang Mai 318 km

Distances from Amphoe Mueang to Other Districts
Phu Phiang 2 km Pua 60 km
Wiang Sa 25 km Chiang Klang 76 km
Santi Suk 32 km Na Muen 80 km
Mae Charim 38 km Song Khwae 80 km
Tha Wang Pha 43 km Thung Chang 98 km
Ban Luang 45 km Bo Kluea 133 km
Na Noi 60 km Chalerm Phra Kiat 135 km
Festivals & Events
Pink Blossoms of Chompoo Phu Kha in Full Bloom
When: February - March
Where: Doi Phu Kha National Park, Amphoe Pua
Thought to have become extinct from the world, The Chompoo Phu Kha, now only found in Doi Phu Kha National Park in Nan, is much adored for its gorgeous baby pink-and-white blossoms which come into full bloom during February to March every year. Don’t miss this rare chance to witness the Chompoo Phu Kha blossom and discover the rich heritage of Tai Lue hill tribe through their cultural presentations and performances.

The festival also showcases other light-and-sound performances and entertainments, e.g. Lanna folk music, live concert, fashion shows featuring exquisite cotton-woven garment, renowned product of the province as well as singing contest, beauty contest, mini-marathon, Thai-boxing shows, sports to name a few. Aside from this fun-packed event which will guarantee you an enjoyable time, what’s not-to-be-missed in the area is also breathtaking scenic northern hills of Nan which offers a stunning natural backdrop that complements the magnificent cultural heritage for which the province is known.
Hok Peng Wai Sa Ma-ha-that Chae Haeng Festival
When: February - March
Where: Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, Amphoe Phu Phiang
This religious festival is held every year on the sixth lunar month. Hok means 6 in Thai and Peng means full moon in Northern Thai language. Many of Nan’s cultural attractions are linked to Tai Lue tribe’s traditions. Situated a few kilometres southeast of the provincial capital, Wat Phra That Chae Haeng is considered the largest and most well-known of Nan’s Tai Lue temples. With its stunning long, undulating Naga leading to the main entrance, the temple’s principal claim to fame is its 55 metre-high golden stupa housing a holy relic from nearby Sukhothai, ancient Thailand’s first kingdom.

Today, as the most sacred temple in Nan province, it continuously attracts a great number of Buddhists from all over Northern Thailand, and beyond, to go to pay their respects to this magnificent stupa enshrined inside. The festival’s rocket launch ceremony is believed to be performed as offerings make to Buddha.
Songkran and Pha Jao Thong Tip Worship Festival
When: 12 - 15 April
Where: Wat Suan Tarn, Amphoe Mueang
One of the most highly-anticipated festivals of the year all over the country is Songkran Festival. What’s even more special in Nan province is that in this event, you will have an opportunity to pay homage and sprinkle water onto the Pha Jao Thong Tip, the famous Buddha image of Wat Suan Tarn. Inside the temple, lies Wat Suan Tarn Pagoda whose architecture reflects exquisite style of Sukhothai period, while interestingly, the Buddha image housed within the pagoda, features magnificent Lanna-style art.

The festival boasts cultural shows and entertaining activities like Songkran procession, water splashing, sand pagoda building, live music performance, drum beating contest, folk dancing, singing contest, local sports, just to name a few. Come dress up traditionally and dazzlingly creative in Thai style, you might even win the contest of Mr. Songkran or Ms. Songkran and bring home the prize as your souvenir!
Namatsakarn Phra That Khao Noi Festival
When: May
Where: Wat Phra That Khao Noi, Amphoe Mueang
For centuries, Buddhism has lived along side people of Nan province and in various places in old town area both in Amphoe Mueng and Amphoe Pua, lie several “Phra That” or “Relics of the Buddha” up in the mountains. Considered as one of the most sacred and respected Buddha’s relics in Nan, Phra That Khao Noi Worship Festival or “Namatsakarn Phra That Khao Noi Festival” is annually held on the full moon night of the 8th northern lunar month or the 6th central lunar month. Located inside Wat Phra That Khao Noi on top of Yod Kao Noi (Noi Mountain), Phra That Khao Noi Pagoda whose appearance portrays architecture of Burmese combined with Lanna style, contains the holy Buddha’s hair.

In the area in front of the pagoda, stands the impressive 9 metre-high majestic statue of Buddha called “Phra Put Tha Ma Ha Udom Mong Kong Nun Ta Bu Ri Sri Nan” on top of tiered lotus base. It was built to celebrate the 72nd Birthday anniversary of King Rama IX in 1999. Apart from a ceremony to pay homage to Phra That Khao Noi, the festival also features a sky rocket launch which is regarded as an offering made to the Buddha. What’s more, up here at Wat Phra That Khao Noi is also the only bird-eye viewpoint in town where you can really appreciate the whole spectacular landscape of Nan.
Tan Kuay Salak Festival
When: September
Where: Various spots around Nan province
Famous traditionally Lanna festival, Tan Kuay Salak, Kua Tan or Tan Salak, is held annually ever since olden times two months after Buddhist Lent Retreat until the end of Rainy Season Retreat. “Tan” literally translates to “Eat’ or symbolise “Alms”, “Kuay” means a round woven basket made of bamboo with banana leafs placed on its bottom before following by dried and instant food and daily necessities e.g. instant noodles, stock fish, banana, sugar cane, toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, towel, etc., and lastly, “Salak” means “Lot”.

Basically, Tan Kuay Salak is a tradition to make merit and pay offerings contained in woven bamboo baskets to Buddhist monks without designating which monk is to receive them, and using Salak as indication instead. Considered one of the grandest religious ceremonies and signature festival of Lanna, the event showcases parade, cultural shows, Kua Tan contest including boat race for the venues by the river.
Nan Traditional Long-Boat Racing Festival
When: October - November
Where: Nan River
Here in Nan, Long-boat racing tradition has been carried on for centuries to commemorate the end of the Buddhist Rains Retreat. It is regularly held in the 10th or 11th lunar months when the water level is at its peak. As part of the celebration of the local “Black Ivory”, a town’s invaluable treasure and “Tod Kathin” festivals, the whole town welcome locals and visitors to witness the races of these intricately decorated dug-out boats, elaborated hand-adzed and carved from massive tree-trunks. The vividly colourful sight of the races on Nan River will keep you mesmerised especially by the boats’ elegance and brightly decoration with imaginatively designed prows and tails as ones of Nagas, the sacred creature of Nan believed to be the God of Water and Nan people’s ancestor.

The festival features Racing Boats Competition from large, medium to small size, including Beauty Boat Contest and the Cheering Squad Contest. It is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable events of the year. Nowadays traditional Nan boat races take place along side Tan Kuay Salak Festival of Wat Chang Kham Worawihan, a royal temple. The opening of the races is the date when the food offerings are presented to the monks by drawing lots.
Golden Orange and Red Cross Fair
When: December
Where: Nan Provincial Stadium, Amphoe Mueang
Held annually, and in some years is co-organised with “Best of Nan Products Fair”, “Golden Orange and Red Cross Fair” particularly boasts the succulent Golden Orange, a famous horticultural crop of Nan province. Coming from the same species as tangerine, though much sweeter and tastier, this talk-of-the-town fruit has irresistibly shiny golden skin. The fair features Golden Orange Parade Competition, Beauty Contest, traditional shows and entertainment including exhibition and booths displaying high quality handicrafts and local products from both government and private enterprises.