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Lampang

Travel Guide

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Lampang city is famous these days for ceramics, horse carts and its prestigious Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Despite being a city of approximately 250,000, with good facilities and more than its fair share of tourist sites for a provincial Thai town, some of the residents seem to have a distinct feeling of underachievement. Indeed, some even say Lampang is cursed!

One legend relates how an early king of Lampang mistakenly executed an innocent goddess, Nan Suchada. Before dying, however, she cursed the city — so the city’s current provincial backwater status is all her fault.

The city began life known as Kukut Tha Nakorn, or City of the Roosters, supposedly founded in the seventh century by the Mon queen, Cham Thewi from neighbouring Haripunchai. The name was derived from a legend describing an upcoming visit by Buddha. The god Indra was worried that the locals would not wake up in time to give him alms, so he created a white rooster to crow at dawn. It has remained the city’s symbol ever since.

Lampang grew in the shadow of Lamphun. It was rebuilt in the 13th century by King Mengrai as a regional outpost to his new capital at Chiang Mai. After periods of Khmer and Burmese rule followed by incorporation into the Ayutthaya kingdom, the town had to wait until the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries to have its heyday when, as the centre of the hugely profitable teak industry, French and British entrepreneurs, Chinese and Burmese traders, American missionaries, plus Shan and Lao workers flocked here.

Classic architecture.

Classic architecture.


The city became the most important and cosmopolitan business and transportation point in the region. North Thailand’s first university was built here and the future looked rosy until, during the 1960s and 70s, new road links opened to Chiang Rai, Phayao and other towns, and the logging industry fell into decline. Lampang then once again fell under the shadow of Chiang Mai, by then firmly established as the kingdom’s northern capital at Lampang’s expense.
Temple mural detail, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang.

Temple mural detail, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang.


While not exactly a tourist hotspot, the laidback town is pleasant, with plenty to see for a day or two, plus some decent accommodation and several good eateries. The sizeable province meanwhile boasts extensive still-forested hills and is home to several national parks.


Orientation
Lampang is spread along the banks of the Wang, a meandering tributary of the Ping river. The oldest part of the town, containing many of the wats and remains of the city walls, lies on the right bank slightly to the north of the current centre. The 13th century version lies just to the west of this and also contains many old temples, as well as the town’s main market. Opposite, on the left or south bank is the modern town.

The riverbank is largely undeveloped and leafy while the riverside road Talart Gao contains many of the town’s finest buildings as well as many of its modern-day coffee shops and guesthouses. There is a new airport and several large shopping malls as well.

Burmese-styled temple.

Burmese-styled temple.


Boonyawat is the main commercial street and home to most of the town’s large banks while the train and bus stations are located to the west. Lampang general hospital is close to the centre just off Phaholyothin Road, while the police station lies smack bang between Thipchang and Boonyawat Roads. The central post office is near the clock tower on Thakrao Noi Road.

An excellent little tourist office on Thakroi Noi Road, just past the clock tower, has helpful, enthusiastic staff and English-language pamphlets, plus a very useful map. They are open 09:00 to 16:30 Monday to Friday, but they do leave their map of Lampang in a box outside so you can pick one up anytime.

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Text and/or map last updated on 20th August, 2015.

Last reviewed by:
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.

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Check Lampang tickets online

Lampang - Bangkok, Morchit ฿740 7h 45m
  •   Bus VIP24 24 21:00
  •   Bus Express XL 20:30
  •   Bus VIP 32 20:30
  •   Bus VIP24 24 20:50
Lampang - Bueng Kan ฿763 12h 15m
  •   Bus Express XL 16:00
  •   Bus Express XL 14:00
Lampang - Khon Kaen ฿536 10h
  •   Bus Express XL 10:00, 17:25, 20:20, 21:20
  •   Bus Express XL 12:15, 17:15, 20:15, 22:15
Lampang - Khon Kaen, Chum Phae ฿469 8h 45m
  •   Bus Express XL 10:00, 17:25, 20:20
  •   Bus Express XL 13:15, 18:30, 21:30
Lampang - Loei ฿444 6h 40m
  •   Bus Express XL 16:00, 19:00, 21:00
  •   Bus Express XL 20:30, 21:30, 23:30
Lampang - Mahasarakham ฿599 11h 20m
  •   Bus Express XL 10:00, 17:25, 20:20, 21:20
  •   Bus Express XL 10:55, 16:10, 19:10, 21:05
Lampang - Nakhon Phanom ฿780 12h 20m
  •   Bus Express XL 19:00, 21:00
  •   Bus Express XL 15:00, 17:00
Lampang - Roi Et ฿633 12h
  •   Bus Express XL 10:00, 17:25, 20:20, 21:20
  •   Bus Express XL 10:10, 15:25, 18:25, 20:25
Lampang - Sakhon Nakhon, Sakon Nakhon ฿698 11h 10m
  •   Bus Express XL 19:00, 21:00
  •   Bus Express XL 16:30, 18:30
Lampang - Ubon Ratchathani ฿780 12h 5m
  •   Bus Express XL 10:00, 17:25, 20:20, 21:20
  •   Bus Express XL 07:30, 12:45, 15:45, 17:45
Lampang - Yasothon ฿694 13h
  •   Bus Express XL 10:00, 17:25, 20:20, 21:20
  •   Bus Express XL 09:00, 14:15, 17:15, 19:05

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