Born in 1238, Ngam Muang was educated in Lopburi before returning to take over the throne of Phayao in 1258.
Eighteen years later, when expansionist King Mengrai marched on Phayao from Chiang Rai, Phaya, (King), Ngam Muang went out and confronted him. Rather than fighting, the two struck a deal making the two realms allies rather than enemies. The deal conceded some territory to Mengrai, (clearlly the more powerful of the two), but war was averted, Phayao kept its independence and Ngam Muang’s local hero status was assured.
The monument is popular with residents, though perhaps of little interest to a passing tourist, but the surrounding park and grassy lake-side is very pleasant indeed. Opposite the monument a couple of chedis on stilts and a naga statue on the edge of the lake make great foregrounds for sunset photos which are particularly spectacular from this spot.
At the southern end of Chai Kwam a large park plays host to the weekend market as well as being a popular evening hang out for locals. There’s a kids play ground complete with bouncy castle, massage and aerobics for the parents and snack and drink vendors.
By Mark Ord.
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