An old and important community in northern Thailand, Phrae was founded after Chiang Mai had been established as the capital of the Lanna Thai kingdom. With one of the largest reserves of teak forests in the country, it is on the banks of the Yom River, 555 km from Bangkok.
Covering an area about 6,538 square kilometres and surrounded on all sides by mountains with level plains in the middle.
The bus station is at the north end of Yantarakitkoson Rd.
You can also take the train to Den Chai and take a songthaew to Phrae.
There are numerous old buildings in Phrae. Try to get the "historic buildings of Phrae" map if you can find it.
Pratabjai House - old teak house made from nine old buildings. 30 baht.
Wongburi (Vongburi) House - old teak house. 30 baht. 09:00-17:00 (in theory), Wichairacha Rd
Khum Chao Luang - another old teak house, where the King & Queen stayed when they visited Phrae. Free. Khumderm Rd
Old City Wall - there isn't much left of it, but you can see where it used to be along portions of the moat.
Local Market - if you have a bicycle there is a nice local market on the way to the Yom River just past a temple in a small village, there are also two separate night markets in the city which are great places to eat and observe local culture
Phrae Museum - located at the Nareerat Demonstration School. Most of the explanations of the displays are in Thai but there are several room worth visiting. One has some beautiful paintings done by local artists. On the second floor is a beautiful collection of textiles and antiques. It is the closest thing to a Phrae National Museum that exists at present although you can get a pretty good idea by visiting all the different 'museums' around town...(i.e., old houses, temples, and government offices that use the museum label as well)
The TAT office is slightly out of town, near the intersection of Muang Hit Rd and Khamlue Rd.
There are several natural attractions out of town, such as Phae Muang Phi, Doi Pha Klong National Park, etc. If you are interested in visiting the former hunting and gathering group known as the Spirit of the Yellow Leaves (Mlabri tribe), this is as good as Nan as a launch point for a day trip as one village is about 60-70 km from here. Also, as you pass the river going out of town you will see the sign for a government horticulture centre. It is about 10 km outside town. If you have your own transport, there is a nice garden to walk through and you might tour if you go in the morning. About 100 m down the road from there is a project for disadvantaged youth (mentioned below in things to do). The Rice Research Centre on Rt 101 just after Pae Muang Phi is also worth visiting.
Mid-way between Phrae and Lampang is Wiang Kosai National Park. This park is not well-known. It has a beautiful 7 tier waterfall. Just 5 km after the park is the turn off to a lovely get-away called Punjen Hide-Away. This small resort has 3 cabins with 2 bedrooms and private bathrooms, small kitchen area and sitting area. It is located next to the Saloke River, so you can listen to the sound of running water from your terrace. They have both bed and breakfast or a unique village tour of 3 days/2 nights. Its a great place for young or old. Don't miss it if you are in the area.
About 17 km outside of town, next to the Government Horticulture Centre, there is a foundation for disadvantaged children that is often looking for volunteers to come help through teaching or building. They also have accommodations. Sharon is the contact here, but there is an on-line application for volunteers at . Look for the children's village project in Phrae for more information.
Vegan Food for Health - Charoenmuang Rd near Namkhue Rd (near the moat). Brown rice, health drinks, etc., 09:30 to 21:00, +66 85 856 6081, +66 83 426 8525, +66 84 741 9260. English/Thai/picture menu and English speaking staff.)
Ban Suan Restaurant - On Yantarakitkoson about a 5 minute walk south of Charoen Meuang Rd on the east side. The Thai chef cooks up Thai and Chinese food. It's open from 10:00 to 22:00. +66 80 491 8118, +66 81 757 1907. The chef and his wife both speak some English.
There are a number of places in the vicinity of the bus station (budget and higher-end) that would involve a lot of walking around as they are spaced apart a bit. If you have your own transport you will find places scattered all around. If you are walking and looking be patient. There is plenty of accommodation, but there doesn't seem to be one central tourist zone.
Nakhorn Phrae Hotel - On Ratsadamnoen Rd, just east of Rong Saw Rd. Double, fan, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, hot water, private bathroom. 290 baht.
Paradorn Hotel - very close to the BKS bus station. Double, fan, cable TV, hot water, private bathroom, large, clean, free breakfast. Room: 350 bhat/night. Single, 300 baht/night. Part of staying at the hotel is free access to the historically-focused Free Thai Movement Museum in a building next door. Nice little museum with both Thai and English.
Tepwiman Hotel - on Charoenmuang Rd, southeast of the moat (southeast of Rongso Rd/Namkhue Rd). Very helpful English-speaking staff.
Thepvong Place - Located on a quiet soi, in the heart of Phrae, within easy walking distance of the night market, and the central district of Phrae. Rooms start at 250 baht.