Attractions in Lamphun Thailand
Lamphun District “The City of Arts and Culture”
Lamphun or Hariphunchai – The City of Arts and Culture, about 30 km. south of Chiang Mai to the provincial capital of Lamphun is a quiet ancient town with a long history. From the 8th through the 13th centuries it was the capital of a principality called Haripunchai which was originally rulled by the Mon Princess Chamadevi, subject of many legends.
Lamphun today is a quiet town but boasts several interesting sights and makes for an excellent day trip from Chiang Mai. The town is laid out in an oval and is bordered by tranquil moats and the river Kuang.
Lamphun Attractions :
Hariphunchai National Museum
Located on Inthayongyot Road almost opposite Wat Phra That Hariphunchai is the Hariphunchai National Museum. Displays and exhibits include historical development and archaeological items found in Lamphun. These include prehistorical human skeletons and objects of arts from the Dvaravati, Hariphunchai, Lanna and Rattanakosin periods. A chamber in devoted to a collection of inscription stones in Mon and Lanna scripts. Twenty-three stone inscriptions from the Hariphunchai and Lanna period are displayed within the museum. There are also artifacts from the pre-Hariphunchai period, Hariphunchai period, and Lanna period exhibited at the other hall. The local tools and wooden wares from Lanna to Rattanakosin period are shown as well. Another displays ancient utensils, Lanna indigenous arts and carvings. The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 10 Baht for Thai citizens and 30 Baht for foreign visitors.
Phra Nang Chamthewi Statue
Phra Nang Chamthewi Statue is located in the Nong Dok public park in town commemorating the first ruler of Hariphunchai. According to the Chamthewi chronicles, Hariphunchai was founded by a hermit named Wasuthep around the area between Kuang and Ping River. The hermit invited Princess Chamthewi, the daughter of King Chakaratti of the Kingdom of Lawo, to become the ruler of Hariphunchai. Princess Chamthewi, later Queen Chamthewi, brought along philosophers, monks, and the arts and culture of Lawo to the city. As a result, Hariphunchai became a secure and stable realm with social, religious and arts advances.
Wat Jamdevi, commonly referred to a “Ku Kut”, is located on the Lamphun-San Pa Tong Road and built in 1298 B.E. in the Lawo (Lopburi) style. The Chedi is a square structure similar to Buddhagaya in India. Around the Chedi are levels of arches holding a total of 60 Buddha statues. Ashes of the queen are enshrined within the Chedi.
On the road parallel to the old city wall to the west of town is Wat Mahawan, an old temple built since the times of Queen Chamthewi. Enshrined here is a Nak Prok statue (statue with mythical serphants overhead) which was brought to the temple by the Queen. Commonly known as Phra Rot Lamphun, it serves as the model for the famous votive tablet.
Wat Phra That Hariphunchai
Sited in mid-town, Wat Phra That Hariphunchai was built during the reign of King Arthitayarat, a descendant of Queen Chamthewi some 800 years ago. A principal landmark is the 46-metre tall golden Chedi whose present appearance was the result of the restoration work in 1443 by a king of Chiang Mai. It has long been regarded as a major place of worship. Other architectural works include the ancient-style brick arch adorned with fine designs and the pair of sculptured lions at the door. There are also a square-shaped Chedi and a Khmer-style Buddha statue.
Ban Nong Chang Khuen is the most famous longan growing area in the country. The orchards are located some 8 kilometres before Lamphun and with a further 7 kilometres after a right turn. On both sides of the road are numerous longan orchards. The fruits are in season during July-August. Longans were introduced to the area during the reign of King Rama V and have since spread into neighbouring provinces. There are several species today which are popular among consumers.
Pa Sang district is a handicraft centre and famous for its handmade cotton materials which are produced mainly in Ban Nong Nguak. Also at this village is an ancient temple noted for its beautiful arches in indigenous Burmese-influenced style. Pasang community is another highlight of Lamphun, twelve kilometers from the city this village is renowned for its cotton weaving and lovely ladies.
Wat Phra Yuen
Another ancient site related to the old history of the town is Wat Phra Yuen. The Ku Chang-Ku Ma Chedi at the temple is surrounded on four directions by standing statues. The Chedi itself is cylinder-shaped and commemorates Queen Chamthewi’s war elephant and her son’s steed.
Doi Khun Tan National Park
The Khun Than mountain range of the Doi Khun Than National Park forms a natural boundary between Lamphun and Lampang provinces. The northern rail line to Chiang Mai runs through the longest rail tunnel in the country, which is 1,352 metres long and takes five minutes to traverse. The moutain has both virgin jungle and pinery. The admission is 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children.
Mae Ping National Park
Covering an area of over 1,000 square kilometres is the Mae Ping National Park. Its main feature is the Ping River, which flows through the forests in the park. On both sides are fertile forest-lands with sheer cliffs providing beautiful natural scenery. Certain parts of the waterway spread out to form reservoir-like bodies of water with numerous small islands and rapids. Another attraction is the 7-level Ko Luang Waterfall, which is fed from lime streams. It is just 20 kilometres from the park headquarters and accessible by road. Fascinating stalactites and stalagmites are to be found inside nearby lime caves. Tourists wishing to stay overnight are recommended to contact park headquarters, which are located some 20 kilometres off Highway No.106 at Km.47.