Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Thailand : Northern Thailand : Northern River Valleys : Lamphun
Legend 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 late 12th century, King Mengrai overran the town and subsequently integrated it into the Lanna Kingdom.
Today, Lamphun still retain its enchanting ambience of a small but old community. It is some 670 kilometres from Bangkok and only 26 kilometres from Chiang Mai. Located on the bank of the Kuang River, its attractions include ancient sites and relics as well as forests and mountains and delightful lakes. Lamphun is the most famous producer of longans.
This is a fairly small city compared to most places Westerners go. Buses come there from Lampang bus station, and also from Chiang Mai. 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.
Charoenraj Rd (the north-south main street) is the road to Chiang Mai and called Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road in Chiang Mai.
Luang Pha Waing Cave One of northern Thailand's largest caves and by far one of the most interesting. It is a large cave that is located about 45 km from Lamphun. It is only accessible after a 15 minute walk uphill. You should carry a bottle of water. It is well worth the effort to get there.
Lamphun Longan Festival Local festival celebrating Lamphun's important crop, the longan, a small, round fruit, similar in taste to lychee. The festival is held every year on the Queen's birthday, August 12. A long parade starts in the early afternoon going down the road past Wat Phra Haripunchai, the main temple of Lamphun, and vendors sell all sorts of hot snacks as well as longan related products along the river across from the parade route. There are also musical performances, laser-light shows, and fireworks by the river.
This is not a foreign tourist destination. All the farangs (foreigners) 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 through, but they 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.