Over the weekend, I was invited as a member of the media to observe a product testing trip to Nan province for an upcoming guidebook called “Me, Myself & Thailand’ for solo female travelers. As well as solo female bloggers on the trip, there were also representatives of travel agencies and tour operators. The free guidebook will be released at the end of September 2019 and features six destinations in Thailand: Bangkok, Phuket, Nan, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi and Nong Khai. I will blog more information about this over on www.thaitravelblogs.com as soon as it becomes available. Click here for a google map list of the places that we visited.
Date of trip: 24-25 August 2019
DAY ONE: Good morning from Don Mueang airport. This weekend I’ve been invited to Nan Province for a product testing trip in relation to a new guidebook called ‘Me, Myself & Thailand – for solo female travelers’. Nan is one of my favorite provinces in Northern Thailand. Here are Live Photo blogs of my last two trips to this province: Rainy Season Trip to Nan Province and Nature and Temples Trip to Nan.
Boarding Thai AirAsia FD 3554 from Don Mueang to Nan in Northern Thailand. Flight time is just over an hour. The weather forecast isn’t looking good. Thunderstorms expected for most of the day. Luckily I brought wet weather gear. But I might not be able to fly my drone.
A good place to start in Nan is at Wat Phra That Khao Noi. Of interest to Thai Buddhists is the stupa which dates back to 1283. It is a mixture of Lanna and Burmese architectural style. It is believed that there are relics of the Buddha inside. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/hYUHdrtu9D1q8qdY9
Wat Phra That Khao Noi is on top of Khao Noi and offers some great views of Nan city and countryside. Here you can clearly see they have strict construction laws. No buildings higher than three floors and a lot of green areas.
A short coffee break at Huang Hung Tor cafe (เฮือนฮังต่อ กาแฟน่าน). If you visit Nan, you should make a point of trying the locally produced coffee. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/MZKhh1Q5eXo4NuzG9
The most interesting temple in Nan is Wat Phumin which has a 4-portico, single building housing both the Ubosot and Wihan. Four Buddha statues, with their backs against one another, are installed in the main hall facing the four directions. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/PwpsNropd8WZsAdw6
The wall paintings in Wat Phumin, are in Thai Lu style and are considered highly valuable and depict legends concerning the Lord Buddha as well as local legends and the local way of life. The most famous one is “The Whispering Lovers”. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/PwpsNropd8WZsAdw6
Aerial photos of Wat Phumin in Nan, Northern Thailand.
A good way to explore Nan town is by bicycle. You can rent one opposite Wat Phumin for only 30B per hour or 100B for the day. They also have a map of suggested routes.
A cheap and easy way to explore Nan is to take a tram tour. There are four rounds per day at 9:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm costing 30 Baht per person. At 8:30am and 2:30pm you can rent the whole tram for 1,000 Baht. It leaves from the car park opposite Wat Phumin.
The Noble House (โฮงเจ้าฟองคำ) in Nan is a 200-year old teak wood house known locally as Hong Chao Fong Kham. It is a Lanna-Thai traditional house with cultural artifacts on show. Entrance is a 20 Baht donation. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/2pVZieSg7rU5EXAt6
Lunch at Huan Chao Nang restaurant in Phu Phiang district of Nan. Some good food and great views of the Nan River. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/qVY6Rok7knnDFycBA
Drone photos of Nan city, Nan River, and the surrounding countryside. This is the best time of year to come as the air quality is so good. I came in February once and it was so smoggy.
Nan Riverside Art Gallery in Nan is a private art gallery which covers the area of 5 acres. It was founded by Winai Prabripoo, a famous Thai artist and native of Nan. The gallery and gardens serve as a center of art and culture in Nan.
The artwork and nature-friendly environment at Nan Riverside Art Gallery makes it a worthwhile detour even if it’s out of town. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/v2bfRHJN15YTm7kU8
Wat Sri Mongkol in Tha Wang Pha district of Nan is a popular temple for locals to visit at the weekend. It also has an interesting museum, a market, and a “small bamboo village” in the rice field. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/AQ8amugxUueAegxR8
Ban Tai Lue Cafe in Pua district of Nan is one of those Instagram coffee shops in rice fields that are popping up everywhere. But still, they’ve picked a very photogenic area for this one. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ai6TFjJf7TowB8C19
Drone photos of the rice fields around Ban Tai Lue Cafe in Pua district of Nan. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ai6TFjJf7TowB8C19
A healthy northern-style meal tonight at Cocoa Valley Resort in Pua district of Nan. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/zPoBMLRenXw8n6fU8
DAY TWO: This morning, we did a chocolate making course at Cocoa Valley Resort in Nan. The cacao trees can grow about 20-30 pods in one year. They turn yellow when ready. Unlike other fruit trees they ripen at different times. So you can harvest year round.
Inside the pod there are about 30 seeds. Each one is covered in a white pulp. The cacao seeds are fermented first and then dried in the sun. Next they are crushed and the hulls discarded.
After we visited the cacao tree plantation, we next learned how to make chocolate. The course costs 350B/person. There are two courses per day at 9:30am & 1:30pm. The price includes the visit to the plantation & the chocolate bar you make. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/5mk4V7smd6UUXM3W9
A healthy lunch today in Ban Ket in Pua District of Nan. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ahJqYvHTTAg7cmXP9
After lunch, we visited the Thai-Lue weaving community group in Ban Ket, Pua district, Nan. You can watch them weave, buy their products and even try on the Thai-Lue costume to have your picture taken for 50 Baht. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ahJqYvHTTAg7cmXP9
Our last stop was at Wat Phuket in Pua District of Nan. Of main interest here are the fine views of the rice fields and the mountains of Doi Phu Kha National Park. The temple also has a homestay where you can learn about meditation. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/4twMXsSB9iiFv2kH6
Drone photos of the rice fields around Wat Phuket in Pua District of Nan.