Tiny Lamphun’s never going to be the culinary capital of north Thailand but there’s certainly enough choice to keep most people happy for a day or two.
One of your best options, with an extensive Thai menu and a surprising number of Western offerings is the riverside restaurant Add On. There’s an interior air-con area plus outdoor tables and it’s open for lunch and dinner (10:00-22:00). Good quality Thai options include all the classics as well as some northern Thai specialities, with dishes going from 50 baht for a simple over-rice serving, up to around 200 baht for a whole fish dish. European offerings consist of various spaghetti dishes, pizzas and steaks. While not disastrous, they are clearly prepared for local tastes. Italian-Thai efforts will set you back around 150 or 200 baht. Wine is on the menu and a large and very cold beer goes for a very reasonable 65 baht – so not a bad spot for a sundowner even if you’re not hungry.
Next door, though without a river view, is an unnamed coffee and ice cream parlour which also has simple classic Thai fare and will serve you a decent coffee from 08:00 onwards.
Heading into the centre down Chai Mongkol Street is Lamphun’s nascent coffee shop scene – well, there are three of them, anyway! House 66 serves Thai-style steaks and coffee, and the friendly Mai Coffee opposite advertises itself as a coffee and bakery, though there was no baking happening when we were there. The coffee was good though, and they also offer smoothies and efficient WiFi. The owner was also helpful with suggestions for things to do and see around town. The short street’s third location is a gallery cafe called Soontrue, a couple of doors down from Mai. It was closed when we visited so we can’t say much else.
The quiet town centre doesn’t have too many restaurants but a couple worth suggesting is the unnamed (in English) Khanom Cheen Restaurant in Ratchawong Road, so it's convenient to Wat Haripunchai and the museum. The welcoming staff serve a selection of noodle and rice dishes from a cheaply priced English-language menu on a pleasant wooden terrace. (They also have a room for rent, so we’ve mentioned this spot in the sleeping section too.)
The second is an attractively laid out two-storey eatery in a wooden building on the town side of Rop Meuang Nai Street, just to the south of the bridge road. The menu is somewhat limited to Thai-style steaks and a good value, all-you-can-eat noodle buffet for 79 baht, but it’s also a good spot for a cool drink if you’re walking the riverside trail. The Thai name is Khuan Khon Yor -- there’s no sign in English.
Otherwise, as you’d expect, for lunch plenty of simple rice and noodle cafes can be found scattered around the main market. As far as evenings go, the small town has no fewer than two night markets. A large one sets up at the end of the afternoon in the car park behind the day market, opposite the moat. It's nothing very imaginative but you’ll find all the classic street food at market prices, though don’t leave visiting too late since things wind down from 21:00 onwards. Open a bit later is a second market, also on the moat road immediately to the east of the Chama Thewi monument.
Add On: 268 Rop Meuang Nai St, Lamphun; T: (053) 561 446; open daily 10:00-22:00.
House 66 Bistro: Chai Mongkol St, Lamphun; T: (098) 786 466; open Thurs-Tues 10:00 to 21:00.
Khanom Cheen Restaurant: Ratchawong Rd (behind city hall), Lamphun; T: (093) 115 8992; open daily 08:00-22:00.
Khuang Khon Yor: Rop Meuang Nai St (opposite the bridge), Lamphun; T: (081) 706 1961.1
Mai Coffee and Bakery: Chai Mongkol St; T: (086) 381 7871; open Mon-Sat 09:00-17:00.