Buddhist Temples of Lampang

Wat Lampang Luang

Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang is one of the most highly revered temples in Thailand. It is located about 20 kms north of Lampang. The chedi of Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang is believed to contain a relic of the Buddha who visit the site about 2500 years ago. Wat Prathat Lampang Luang is a wiang, a fortified settlement. It is constructed in a small hill and its walls are really impressive. The temple dates back to the 13th century. It is great example of Lanna style temple architecture. It is the must-see temple of Lampang.

Steps leading up to Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang. Lampang Tours. Buddhist temples of Lampang
Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang. Picture by Frans Betgem.

Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao

Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao is the most revered of all temples of Lampang. It is located not far from the Wang River.  Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao dates back to the 14th or the 15th century. This temple housed the Emerald Buddha statue for 34 years in the 15th century. This highly revered statue was discovered in Chiang Rai and then moved to Lampang. It is now in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.

Chedi of Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao in Lampang
Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao in Lampang. Picture by Frans Betgem

Wat Pong Sanuk

Wat Pong Sanuk is located not far from the Wang River. Wealthy Burmese residents constructed this temple in 1886 in Shan and Burmese style. At that time the temple was called Wat Pong Sanuk Tai. The Wihan of this temple has a unique cruciform shape. Just recently this Wihan has been restored as it was in very bad shape. The restoration started in 2004 and was completed in 2008. It was a joint effort by the local community, experts from Chiang Mai University, sponsors and UNESCO. The project received the Award of Merit, a UNESCO award for cultural heritage conservation.

Trekking in Doi Khun Tan National Park

Doi Khun Tan National Park is located about half way between Chiang Mai and Lampang. It is one of Thailand’s oldest national parks and the only one that has a railway running through it. The highest mountain is Doi Khun Tan at 1373 meters. The park offers great hiking and many stories. The park offers good accommodation and there are also old missionary bungalows. Doi Khuntan offers some fantastic views.

View from Doi Khuntan National Park activities in Lampang
Doi Khuntan National Park view. Picture by Frans Betgem

Make a horsecart ride in Lampang

Lampang is the city of horse carts. It is the only city in Thailand that still has a significant number of horse carts. They were introduced more than 100 years ago when Lampang had a sizeable amount of Burmese and Shan people living in the city. So one of the things to do in Lampang is to make a ride in a horse cart. It is good fun.

Horse Cart in the streets of Lampang

Make a trainride to Lampang

If you have the time this is one of the great activities in Lampang. Take the slow day train which passes though Doi Khuntan National Park. The railway was constructed about 100 years ago and hasn’t changed much. The train will not run faster than 50kms per hour at any time. You will have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and the small historical stations along the way. Highly recommended.

Chompoo Railway bridge during Doi Khuntan National Park Tours
Doi Khuntan National Park famous "White Bridge"

The Rachadapisek Bridge

The Rachadapisek Bridge is an iconic bridge that spans the Wang River. An American missionary teacher saved the bridge from destruction in World War Two. You can read the story here. It is a narrow bridge. After dark this bridge is beautifully illuminated.

Hospital at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center

The Thai Elephant Conservation Center is located about 20 kms north of Lampang. It is the only government run elephant camp in Thailand. The camp itself offers an elephant show and allows elephant riding, both in which we are not very interested. We recommend to visit the hospital which is part of the Center but has a separate entrance. The hospital offers free healthcare to all elephants. There is nursery with mothers and their babies as well.

The “Louis House”

There are more teak wooden houses in Lampang than in any other city in North Thailand. The city was a major center of the teak industry from the 1880s until 1941. Many of these houses were constructed in this period. A good example is the former office of the Louis T.Leonowens Company, one of the British logging companies but there are many others. At the time of writing you can visit this house. There is no entrance fee. The house is empty but might be transformed into a museum in the future. Let’s hope so.

The abandoned former office of the Louis T.Leonowens Company in Lampang
The former office of the Louis T.Leonowens Company in Lampang

Lampang Railway Station

The Lampang Railway Station is one of the most beautiful railway stations in Thailand. The railway from Bangkok reached the city in 1916. The train ride from Chiang Mai to Lampang is a very scenic one. Take the day train so you can enjoy the ride that takes you through Khuntan Tunnel and Khuntan National Park. It is a third class train without airconditioning that allows you to feel the wind and really experience the old trainstations and the scenery.

Lampang Railway Station photographed in 1923
1923 Lampang Railway Station

Lampang Walking Streets

Just like many cities and towns nowadays Lampang also has “walking streets”, early evening streetmarkets that have local products for sale. Lampang has one on Friday at Wang Nua street and one on Saturday and Sunday at Kad Kong Ta. Products for sale include souvenirs, handicrafts, delicacies and local food. Most of these streetmarkets also offer foot massage and local music. Highly recommended. The Lampang Walking Streets are amazing. These markets usually start at around sunset and last until about 2200.

Ice cream seller in Lampang
Ice cream in Lampang. Friendly faces.

The Dhanabee Ceramic Museum

This museum is well worth a visit. It tells the story of the history of the Dhanabee Ceramic company and its trademark the “Chicken Bowl”. It is an educational and fun museum. They organize workshops and have some cute souvenirs for sale.

Workers making ceramics at Dhanabee Ceramic Museum in Lampang
Dhanabee Ceramic Museum in Lampang