Photo: Pretty rice field valley.


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Chiang Mai province’s tiny market town and administrative centre of Phrao lies in a wide and fertile valley forming an agricultural island surrounded on all sides by the forested mountains of Sri Lanna National Park.

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To the east over the ranges lies Chiang Rai’s Wiang Pa Pao District; to the north lies Fang, west is Chiang Dao whilst south there’s little more than hills and forest until you reach Chiang Mai’s northern suburbs. Yet despite a convenient and central position in the province, the tiny town sees relatively few foreign visitors.

On the way to Phrao. Photo taken in or around Phrao, Thailand by Mark Ord.

On the way to Phrao. Photo: Mark Ord

Admittedly Phrao isn’t blessed with many tourist destinations as such but wonderful scenic views and bucolic countryside abound. The valley has rice paddy-fields on the flatlands to the east and orchards on the western side’s more undulating terrain, interspersed with still largely traditional farming communities. The surrounding picturesque hills are forested and inhabited mainly by people of the Lisu ethnic group while the rugged summit of Doi Chiang Dao provides a dramatic western backdrop to the farmland.

The town itself has a bustling little market, an elegant wat and plenty of friendly inhabitants as well as a couple of decent eateries and a fine place to lodge. If you want to get close to nature the comfortable Doi Farang Resort a few kilometres out of town in an outlying village is a delightful spot to while away a ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,100 words.)

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Phrao.
 Read up on where to eat on Phrao.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Phrao.
 Read up on how to get to Phrao, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Phrao? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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