Feb 11, 2012

Phayao พะเยา: A pleasant lakeside, a sunken temple and spectacular birds

See the locations on Phayao พะเยา Google Map

Picture by Pseudopam
Kwan Phayao

"Thailand's unexplored North", writes Austin Bush on Lonely Planet: "Not even many Thais are aware of the northern city of Phayao". The setting at Kwan Phayao กว๊านพะเยา, the biggest lake in Northern Thailand, is attractive. The 6 km long and 4 km wide lake has been created for irrigation of the rice paddies. At the bottom of the 1.7 m deep lake sits the 500 years old Wat Tilok Aram. Visitors can hire boats to the point where a Buddha statue surfaced recently - about 680 metres from the lake's eastern pier. (Read article by Bangkok Post). Three times a year - on Makha Bhucha Day, Visakah Bucha Day and Asarnha Bucha Day - there is a candle light procession on the water, called Wien Tien Klang Nam ceremony. At the east Kwan Phayao lake empties into the Ing River, which then flows to the Mekong (read more on a.northernthailand.com). Along the lake restaurants, bars and parks invite for pleasant picnicks, dinners and sunsets.

Picture by Geoff_B
Kwan Phayao

Picture by Geoff_B
Thanon Don Saman

Picture by bee!

Namtok Champa Thong Waterfall น้ำตกจำปาทอง: It can be reached by taking the Phayao - Chiang Rai route. After reaching km 7 take a turn and go on for a further 16 kilometres.

Temples in Phayao

Wat Sri Khom Kham วัดศรีโคมคำ: The 18.5 metres tall Buddha image Phra Chao Ton Luang พระเจ้าตนหลวง in the Chiang Saen style is said to be more than 500 years old. Its built from bricks, covered with gold and located in a modern viharn. In the small ubosot to the south of the viharn you discover a depiction of Kala, "a creature symbolizing time who is shown in the process of devouring itself", explains orientalarchitecture.com. Read more about the history on visitphayao.com

Picture by Guillermo Fdez

Picture by Geoff_B

Wat Phra That Chomthong วัดพระธาตุจอมทอง: On a small hill, just opposite Wat Si Khom Kham, can be reached by a 1.5-kilometre-long uphill road. Surrounded by an arboretum, the temple offers a panoramic view of the town and the lake. More pictures of Wat Chom Thong by gt-rider.com

Wat Analyo Thippayaram วัดอนาลโย:: A huge forest temple on Doi Busarakham, spreading across three hills. The temple was built by monk Phra Kru Phaiboon. Travelfish.org describes it as eclectic mix of religious architecture". The first site you enter on a long old stone stairway under an impressive archway (pictures). You will discover many statues. Through the trees you see a giant sitting buddha, looking towards a very special temple.

Picture by Prinzknecht
Pagoda in Bodh Gaya style.

Picture by xiquinhosilva

Picture by xiquinhosilva

Picture by bee!
Wat Analayo

Picture by Phayao Cafe'
The huge statue of Phra Buddha Leela on one of the hills.

The whole scenery is very tranquil and peaceful. Nearby you find also a palace of H.M. The King and a housing complex for the Supreme Patriarch.

Wat Si Umong Kham วัดศรีอุโมงคำ:: The Chiang Saen-style Chedi is still in good condition. The Lanna-style Buddha statue, Phra Chao Lan Tu พระเจ้าล้านตื้อ) is very beautiful (see pictures by Udo Radlhammer and videomaster).

Where to stay in Phayao

Gateway Hotel Phayao (โรงแรม เกทเวย์ พะเยา): From 1200 Bath. 7/36 Pratu Klong 2 ถนนประตูกลอง 2. Phone +66 (0) 54 4113309. 108 rooms. See pictures on teepuck.com

Kwan Phayao Villa กว๊าน พะเยา วิลล่า: 20/1 Pra Sat Road. See video on youtube by Memory Studio & Civa Magazine

Phayao Grandroom Hotel โรงแรมพะเยาแกรนด์รูม: From 370 Bath. 145 Siyaekpadeng Phahotyathin. Phone Tel 054 48 4238-9.

Phayao Hotel พะเยาโฮเต็ล: 445 Phahonyothin Road (Tel: 0 544 819712 Fax: 0 5443 1973 Bangkok Tel: 0 2322 5393-4 Fax: 321 5768), 80 rooms: 680-840 baht

Phayao Northern Lake พะเยานอร์ทเทิร์นเลค 15/7 Rop Wiang Road (Tel: 0 5448 1538-9 Fax: 0 5448 1973), 76 rooms: 650-1,200 baht

Tharn Thong Hotel ธารทอง: From 150 Bath. Don Sanam Rd. Phone: +66 (0) 054 431302 55-57. 124 rooms.

Win Hotel: From 250 Bath. Phone: +66 (0) 54 48033. New hotel. Good review on thaivisa.com. See pictures by k.j

Arunathai Coffee House Homestay:

Bua Resort: Phone +66 (0) 54 841596. See pictures on a.northernthailand.com

Huan Pak Chum Chai: 37/5-6 Prasart Rd., Tumbon Wiang, Amphoe Muang, Phayao.

Jumjai Homestay
: 37/5-6 Kwan Phayao Rd. Phone: +66 (0) 54 482659. Read review von travelfish.org

Ruen Chom Kwan Homestay: 39 Chai Kwan Rd., Tumbon Wiang, Amphoe Muang, Phayao. Phone 08-1026-2244, 08-6187-6601.
Read review on holidaycheck.ch and on a.northernthailand.com. See pictures on dateevents.de

Kwan Phayao Bungalow บังกะโลกว๊านพะเยา: From 250 Bath. 11 Phahonyothin Road. Phone +66 (0) 54 481493. 6 rooms.

Wang Thong Hotel: Phaholyothin Rd.
Phone +66 (0) 54 410794, (0) 54 482472.

Wattana Hotel วัฒนา: From 120 Bath. 69 Don Sanam Rd. Phone +66 (0)
54 431203, 54 481106. 34 rooms.

Cha Lerm Sak Hotel เฉลิมศักดิ์: From 80 Bath. 38/7 Ratsamphan Road.
Phone +66 (0) 54 431063, 08 10259104. 34 rooms.

Baan Pak Siri Phan ศิริพันธ์บังกะโล: From 120 Bath. 17 Phahonyothin Road. Phone +66 (0) 54 431319. 22 rooms.

Phayao Condotel: Phone +66 (0) 54 410436, 54 481435.

Friend House เฟรนเฮ้าส์: 424 Tambon Ban Tom. Phone +66 (0) 54 481556. 12 rooms. From 500 Baht.

Song Sak สงค์ศักดิ์:. From 80 Bath. 99 Mu 2 Super Highway Tambon Tha Wang Thong. Phone +66 (0) 54 481932, 54 484867. 14 rooms.

Suan Son Bungalow: Phone: +66 (0) 54 431571.

555 Hotel: Phone +66 (0) 54 482534.

Chiang Kham เชียงคำ

Chiang Kham district is home to many Thai Lue people. The Thai Lue originally migrated from the south of Yunnan in China to Northern Thailand, particularly to Nan and Phayao, some 200 years ago.

The Thai Lue Cultural Centre is located at Wat Yuan. This centre displays colourful and elaborately designed Thai Lue fabrics in various patterns such as Lai Dok Kho Khruea, Lai Dok Kho, Lai Ma and Lai Dok Tang. Ban Tham Indigenous Cultural Centre (ศูนย์วัฒนธรรมพื้นบ้านบ้านถ้ำ) is about 15 kilometres from the district town of Dok Khamtai on the way to Chiang Muan district. It has also a large collection of native agricultural tools as well as ancient objects. Read also this German blog about Chiang Kham.

Phu Sang: A scenic waterfall on Highway No. 1093. It is fed by a hot spring on the mountain which flows into a small river before cascading over the fall.

Temples in Chiang Kham เชียงคำ

Wat Nantaram วัดนันตาราม: 75 km northeast of Phayao. Wat Nantaram is a Shan-style woodem monastery with a multi-tiered roof. It was restored by a benefactor who had the structure rebuilt from 1925-43. As it was constructed in an area where the majority of citizens are of Tai Lue ancestry, the Shan style of the structure is overlaid with Tai Lue motifs such as the sun-ray or peacock design over the front entrance. The Buddha image is made of teak wood and is done in Mandalay-style. See pictures on orientalarchitecture.com and by Udo Radlhammer.

Phayao Cafe'
Wat Nantaram

Picture by Indy Dheegayu
Wat Nantaram

Wat Phra That Sop Waen วัดพระธาตุสบแวน: The temple houses a 700-year-old Lanna-style white Chedi. Many visitors come to see the giant Chamchuri tree at the side of the Viharn. See Tai Lue weaving at the weaving centre. See pictures by Udo Radlhammer and on gt.rider.com. Tai Lue Cultural Festival งานสืบสานตำนานไทลื้อ is held here every year in the beginning of March. It is performed to pay homage to the guardian spirits of the kingdom. The most important ceremony is Bai Sri Su Kwan blessing. The festival presents the Tai Lue traditional lifestyle, including culture and folk knowledge. See video of Thai Lue Sword Dance and of Tai Lue procession.

Wat Chiang Baan: Picture on gt.rider.com

Wat Saen Muang Ma (also: Mueng Ma): With superb murals of Tai Lue history. Pictures on gt-rider.com. The wat was constructed during the reign of King Rama I in 1808. The ruler of Nan during that time herded the Thai Yai people from Mueang Mang in Myanmar to Chiang Muan District and named this village “Ban Mang”. The roof of the wihan is layered into many tiers. The roof was decorated with Chofa, in the shape of a swan or Naga holding a crystal ball in its mouth. All the wooden door panels were carved. Three porticos lead into the Viharn, each of them has the shape of 3 kinds of animals: Naga, tiger and lion.

Wat Phra Chao Nang Din วัดพระนั่งดิน: The main Buddha image is placed on the ground, not on a platform as at most other temples. See pictures on gt-rider.com

Where to stay in Chiang Kham

Bua Khao Resort บัวขาว รีสอร์ท: From 350 Bath.
157 Moo 9, Tumbon Chiang Ban. Phone: +66 08 10224745, 08 10246131, (0) 54 451089. Se picture on visitphayao.com.

Bua Thong Resort บัวทองรีสอร์ท: From 350 Bath.
205 Moo 1 Tumbon Chae Dee Kham. Phone +66 (0) 54 452831, 08 1724 5482. 15 rooms.

Chiang Kham Hotel เชียงคำโฮเต็ล: From 150 Bath. 66 Moo 13, Phi Sal Rd., Tumbon Yuan. Phone +66 (0) 54 451771. 40 rooms. See pictures by apirat.

Chiang Kham Guest House เชียงคำเกสท์เฮ้าส์: From 160 Bath. 274 Moo 4, Prasitthi Pracharat Rd. Phone: +66 (0) 54 451588 to 9, 54 416240. 20 rooms. See picture

Chiang Kham Garden Resort เชียงคำการ์เด้นรีสอร์ท: From 300 Bath. 88 Moo 2, Tumbon Yuan Phone: +66 (0) 54 451453. 13 rooms.

Chiang Ban Resort: 279 Moo 10, Tumbon Chiang Ban. Phone: +66 (0) 08-1952-2071, 08-6657-5839

Ruan Mai Phai Resort (Bamboo house): Sob Bong-Baan Huak Rd. Phone: +66 (0) 54 416091, 08-9558-4553.

Phu Sang Huan Thai Resort: Baan Sob Bong, Sob Bong-Baan Huak Rd.
Phone +66 (0) 08-1672-2062.

Phu Sang National Park Lodge: There are lodges, tent rental and tent setting area. Booking before visit: Phone +66 (0) 02-562-0760, 54 401099.

Temples in Chun

Wat Phra That King Kaeng วัดพระธาตุขิงแกง: 34 km northeast of Phayao near the town of Chun. Behind the ubosot is a large Lanna-style chedi with niches on all four directions. Read more on orientalarchitecture.com. See pictures by Udo Radlhammer.

Wiang Lo Ancient Town - around 500 to 600 years old - is located in Lo Sub-district, 17 km from Chun District along Highway 1021. At Ban Huai Ngio there is a 12 km dirt road to Ban Nam Chun. Sandstone Buddha images were excavated here as well as various abandoned temples. One of the ancient Phrathats and temples is Wat Si Ping Mueang at a site, where the Chun River flows into the Ing River. On April 9 every year Pu Cha Phaya Lo Fair is organized at Wiang Lo Ancient Town. The aim is to pay respect to the Wiang Lo ancestors and to create folk consciousness to cherish and preserve the site. There are parades, light and sound presentations, a procession inviting the spirits of Wiang Lo’s past kings, Khantok dinner at night and more performances.

Chiang Muan

Doi Phu Nang National Park อุทยานแห่งชาติดอยภูนาง:: The park is located in Dok Khamtai District, Pong District and Chiang Muan District. Mountains with dry evergreen forest, mixed deciduous forest, and deciduous dipterocarp forest. Moreover, there are various kinds of fauna such as soft-shelled turtles, monitor lizard, and a variety of birds, especially the largest number of peacocks in the North. Moreover the park is a habitat of the last flock of Thai green peafowls of the Indo-china subspecies. The breeding period of the peafowls is from January till March. Read more and see pictures about Thailands most spectacular bird. Read more about Doi Phu Nang National Park.

Picture by Scott's View of the World
A big population of peacocks

Wat Tha Fa Tai วัดท่าฟ้าใต้: 12 km north of Chiang Muan. Read more on orientalarchitecture.com

Interesting lecture about Phayao:
A Hint of Paradise in Phayao: A teacher living in Bangkok visits the village of his wife.