Nan in General
- Last Updated on 18 December 2012
- By Koustabh 'AKASH' Dolui
Staying at Nan
While Nan does not obviously have any five star lodging options, it does offer a few Spartan yet warmly hospitable choices. The Nan guest house is one of the oldest, offering rooms with attached baths, and bike rental facilities. There are also the modern Nakorn Nan Tower Hotel and the Dhevaraj Hotel, with a lot of modern amenities and dining facilities. A cheaper option is the Amazing Guest House, offering dormitory-style living arrangements at a surprisingly affordable rate.
Highlights of Nan
The people of Nan believe in an unhurried life, and you will find the streets empty most of the time. However, Nan offers a rich tapestry of ancient temples because of its varied history. Some of the most famous include the Wat Phumin, the Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, the Wat Phra That Chang Kham, the Wat Hua Khuang, the Wat Suan Tan etc. most of these temples feature highly distinct architectural style, and each is uniquely resplendent in its own glory. The Wat Chang Kham, for example, was constructed in 1458, and depicts an enormous Buddha, along with murals. It houses the largest Tripitaka library in Thailand, which unfortunately is mostly disused now. The Wat Suang Tan, built in 1456, sports an interesting combination of Khmer and Hindu architecture, in the form of a chedi shaped like a prang.
Apart from its numerous temples, Nan also boasts the Nan National Museum, housed in the original palace of its last two feudal lords. Originally constructed in 1903, it was donated to the government in 1931 as a town hall; the present museum was unveiled in 1973, and is one of the most up-to-date in Thailand. You can also visit the magnificent Teak House of the King, constructed in 1866 with splendid golden teak, and renovated in 1941. It is an excellent repository for antiques such as ancient weapons, ivory war elephants and portraits of King Rama V. There is also the house of Chao Fongkham, descendant of the 62nd Lord of Nan, built in classic Northern Thailand style out of teak wood. In fact parts of the house are so ancient that you can see planks cut with axe and knife, before the usage of saws became known.
Another great attraction of Nan is its tradition of boat racing on the Nan River, a practice going back almost six centuries. Long-boat racing is held on the occasion of the Buddhist Rains Retreat, and is great fun. The boats are fashioned out of tree trunks, and accommodate as many as 60 rowers, colorfully attired in bright team uniforms, seated on either side and cheered on by a throng of spectators.
Visit Nan for solitude and peace!
To conclude, if you are thinking of having a quiet holiday away from the big city, Nan is the perfect destination for you.