Legends handed down for more than 1,400 years refer to this ancient town as Hariphunchai. Its first ruler was Queen Chamthewi who was of Mon extraction. In the late 12th century, King Mengrai overran the town and subsequently integrated it into the Lanna Kingdom.
Today, Lamphun still retains its enchanting ambience of a small but old community. It is some 670 km from Bangkok and only 26 km from Chiang Mai. Located on the banks of the Kuang River, its attractions include ancient sites and relics as well as forests and mountains and delightful lakes. Lamphun is Thailand's most famous producer of longan fruit.
This is a fairly small city compared to most places Westerners go. Buses come here from Lampang bus station, and also from Chiang Mai, only 40 km distant. The bus is about 50 baht. The bus station itself is a little out of town, as most are in Thailand, but there are motorcycle taxis and samlors (if you are lucky with the latter) at the bus station. There are no tuk-tuks at all.
You either walk, take a samlor, or a motorcycle taxi if you do not have your own transport. It is not all that far to walk anywhere.
Wat Kukut (Wat Chama Thewi), Chamadevi Rd (located about 1.5 kilometers to the Northwest from the city-center). One of the outstanding stupa (or chedi) in Dvaravati style (from the 6th to the 13th centuries). It has a square base and five terraces modeled on Gupta style of architecture. The lowest being the biggest and the smallest terrace at the top. As Hindu gopurams in South India, each terrace has niches, housing standing Buddha Images. The "chedi" houses the ashes of the queen Cham Thewi of Haripunchai kingdom. The adjacent temple was built in the 13th century A.D.
Wat Phra That Hariphunchai. A royal temple complex, located in the center of the town. It houses a pyramid-shaped stupa modeled on Wat Kukut. The stupa is known as Chedi Suwanna and was built in 1418.
Tham Luang Pha Wiang Cave, Moo 2, Pa Phlu, Ban Hong (About 45 km from Lamphun, near the village of Ban Hong). Daily, 08:00-18:00. One of northern Thailand's largest caves and by far one of the most interesting. It is a large cave only accessible via a 15 min walk uphill. You should carry a bottle of water. It is well-worth the effort to get there.
This is rarely a foreign tourist destination. Most farang go to Chiang Mai, and miss the laid back experience of this place. There is little written or spoken English, so unless you speak some Thai, you will need to use body language and work your way about, but these are friendly people, and the restaurants are very cheap. You can get a good Thai meal for 100 baht or less, including a full-sized bottle of Chang beer. Charoenraj Rd (the north-south main street) is the road to Chiang Mai and is called Chiang Mai-Lamphun Rd in Chiang Mai.
- Hotel DNK Residence, Soi 14, Charoenraj Rd (1.5 km from city centre on the road to Chiang Mai.), ☎ +66 81 7961969, +66 53 562462. Air conditioned, modern, and clean, two storey, with balcony, at the totally ridiculous price of 380 baht per night! The manager speaks no English, but her daughter, who manages the similarly named restaurant across the lane is totally fluent. You will have to tolerate the noise of crowing roosters, owned by the neighbours, most of the day. Breakfast is 35 baht (cooked breakfast!), and dinner with a reasonable range of Thai food is about 75 baht (slightly more with a large bottle of Chang beer!).
- Phawana Garden, 56/2 Moo 4, Baan Mean Kaw (25 km south of the city), ☎ +66 81 8830903. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. Huge garden with 5 cottages, including a Thai traditional two storey wooden house. Northern Thai set dinners served. Transportation is available from Chiang Mai and Lamphun, but you can come here by songthaew also. 1,100 baht.
|Routes through Lamphun|
|Chiang Mai ←||N S||→ Lampang → Bangkok|