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.
Unusually for these modem times, one of the great pleasures of a visit to Lamphun is the actual journey from Chiang Mai. The traveler should head south along the old road Highway 106, avoiding the busy superhighway. This road, which once ran directly between Chiang Mai Gate and Lamphun’s northern “elephant crush” Gate, is steeped in history. From the Chiang Mai suburb of Nong Hoi south, for a distance of 12 km. as far as the Chiang Mai Lamphun provincial boundary the road is lined by lofty 30-metre high yang trees, interspersed with fruit orchids, small farms and a few paddy fields. For one day or for a few hours, Lamphun is a wonderful city, full of history and style.