Experience the Salak Yom Festival in Lamphun
September 23-28, 2023
Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Pha Lat
Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel at 1000 for your Salak Yom Festival in Lamphun Tour. The small city of Lamphun is 30km from Chiang Mai and boasts the Salak Yom Festival which is “the only one in the world”. It is a colorful spectacle that takes place once a year, usually in September. This morning we will spend on Chiang Mai’s sacred mountain Doi Suthep. After lunch, we will drive to Wat Phra That Hariphunchai in Lamphun, where the festival takes place.
We will drive up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the magnificent “must-see” temple on the mountain. We will walk up the famous Naga staircase, that leads to the temple. The view deck of the temple offers a great view of Chiang Mai and its surroundings. We will descend the mountain and visit Wat Pha Lat, a beautiful temple complex in the forests of Doi Suthep Mountain. Of particular interest is the colonial-style building Ho Prachao Rim Nam. The Burmese merchant Yonakarn Phichit was one of the persons who funded this building. Decades of neglect caused this house of Buddha images to collapse but the Fine Arts Department restored it beautifully in 2019.
Khao Soi, Chiang Mai’s signature dish
We descend the mountain and hear for the small city of Lamphun, about 30 km south of Chiang Mai. Along the way, we will have lunch in a restaurant that serves Khao Soi, a kind of curry with egg noodles and crispy noodles. Your guide will tell you about the history of this delicious dish. After lunch, we will continue to our beloved Lamphun, which predates Chiang Mai. The legendary Queen Chama Thewi founded Lamphun as the center of a Mon Kingdom named Hariphunchai in the mid-9th century. King Mangrai, the founder of Chiang Mai, conquered Lamphun in 1281, after which it became part of the Lanna Kingdom.
The Salak Yom Festival in Lamphun
Many of the people in Lamphun province are descendants of the Tai Yong, who originally came from Muang Yong, an area in northern Shan State, now in Myanmar. More than 200 years ago they migrated from this area to Lamphun. Your guide will tell you the story. Some people say the Tai Yong people are Tai Lue from Muang Yong to make it more complicated. The Tai Lue are considered a group that is linguistically and culturally very close to the Thai people, who themselves came from China. The Salak Yom Festival is a tradition of the Tai Yong people, that was revived only about 15 years ago, as far as we know.
Wat Hariphunchai is one of the most revered Buddhist temples in the north of Thailand. During the festival is dominated by colorful donation trees up to 12 meters high. It is a stunning sight. We will spend several hours here. Your guide will introduce you to one of the monks of the temple, who will explain the tradition of Salak Yom.
Lamphun oldest temple
Before we drive back to Chiang Mai, we want to show you Lamphun’s oldest temple: Wat Ku Kut aka Wat Chamathewi. The oldest structures are two “Mon-style” chedis. The design is pyramidical with niches that contain Buddha images at every step of the chedi. The Suwanna Chang Kot Chedi is 21 meters tall and contains the ashes of Queen Chama Thewi, the first monarch of the Hariphunchai kingdom. The second chedi, the Ratana Chedi, is much smaller. After this, it is time to head back to Chiang Mai. We hope you enjoyed the Salak Yom Festival in Lamphun.