North Thailand Road Trip (Part 1): Lampang’s Hidden Gem

Lampang is considered by many Thais as the last frontier because it is still untouched by the damages wrought by modern tourism. The town is the gateway to the more touristy cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai but few tourists cared to visit.

Fortunately, our gracious hosts (a Thai and Filipina couple) knew the hidden beauty of Lampang so they brought us to this place:
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Ancient temple in Lampang, Thailand

This is Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, which is one of the remaining Lanna-style temples in Thailand. Lanna is an old kingdom that once ruled North Thailand.
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Naga in Lampang, Thailand

The temple in Lampang is very different from the temples that I visited in Bangkok (Wat Arun and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) because of the animal statues fronting it. Two snakes, or nagas, stretch down from the temple door. The temple is also guarded by two dogs (or maybe lions or maybe tigers).
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Statues of animals in the temple of Lampang, Thailand


I guess these temple animals will devour anyone who wants to destroy the temple and harm its inhabitants. Their teeth are truly sharp!
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Tiger or Lion statue in Lampang, Thailand
RAWR!

Just like other Thai temples I visited, the temple in Lampang is decorated in gold. The motif of the whole temple is red and gold.
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Gate of the temple in Lampang, Thailand

The temple is not crowded since it’s off-the-radar of foreign tourists. I noticed a bus load of European (or American) tourists outside of the temple but they didn’t stay long. Maybe they’re very tired of seeing another temple. In any case, majority of the visitors are Thais.
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Buddhist altar in Lampang, Thailand

A legend said that Buddha with some monks arrived at Lampang. A man from the town named Lua Ai Kon offered him some fruits and honey in a bowl made of coconut leaf. Buddha then threw the empty bowl in the northern direction and prophesied that the place will be named “Lamphakappa Nakhon”. The Buddha then gave a strand of his hair to Lua Ai Kon. The man placed the hair in a gold casket then put it inside a tunnel. The chedi of Wat Phra That Lampang Luang was built on that tunnel.1
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Chedi of Lampang Temple in Lampang, Thailand
Lampang Chedi where the hair of Buddha is believed to be buried.

Many Thais visit this temple because they consider Buddha’s hair as a very important relic. They believe that worshipping in Wat Phra That Lampang Luang will turn problems into success.
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Chedi in Lampang, Thailand

Thais also believe that your wish will come true if it reach the top of Lampang’s chedi. So a ceremony is held every day before dusk where a long sheet with written wishes is pulled up the chedi. A small dragon (see photo below) brings the wishes to the top.
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Lucky dragon in Lampang, Thailand

My friends wrote their own wishes. I, on the other hand, didn’t write anything since I’m no believer of luck or the chedi’s power.
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Dragon statues in Lampang, Thailand

The chedi, the altar, and the unique architectural style was all there is for me in Lampang’s temple since I’m not a Buddhist. But I’m not complaining. I’m actually thankful to our hosts for bringing us to this place. A visit to Lampang will never be complete without visiting the famous Wat Phra That Lampang Luang.
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Temple in Lampang, Thailand


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Travel Notes:

1. There is no admission fee to Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Anyone, even foreign tourists, can enter the temple freely. Of course, visitors are expected to be in proper clothing and respectful of their beliefs.

2. Souvenir shops are located just across the street in front of the wat. The shops are best place to buy some souvenirs that are unique in North Thailand.
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Souvenir items from Lampang, Thailand

3. Lampang is different from the rest of Thailand because the popular means of transport is not the tuktuk but the horse-drawn carriage. It is believed that horse-drawn carriages were copied from the British. British-controlled Myanmar has close trade with Lampang in the past because the city is important source of lumber.2
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Horse-drawn carriages in Lampang, Thailand

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Read more of our adventures in North Thailand:

North Thailand Road Trip (Part 2): A Taste of Chiang Rai’s Kôw Soy
North Thailand Road Trip (Part 3): Coffee Time at Le Petit Café
North Thailand Road Trip (Part 4): The Bizarre White Temple of Chiang Rai
North Thailand Road Trip (Part 5): Eating Bugs in Chiang Rai Night Market

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Information on the legend of Buddha's hair in Lampang was obtained from 1: Temples in Thailand while the information on Lampang's horse-drawn carriages was obtained from 2: Wikipedia.

6 comments:

  1. My Singapore friend went to Chiang Rai - he loved it there, saw his photos...so very nice. Too bad he did not let me know or I could have gone with him. He has been here to visit me in Sibu twice already this year - he loves it here a lot too!!! Now planning to come again...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww...too bad that you weren't able to join. Maybe next he'll bring you.

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  2. A lot of wonderful places to visit. I'd like to go there soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes. A lot of wonderful places in Thailand. I hope you can go there too. :-)

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  3. awww I wish i can visit Thailand this year! :)

    xx,
    Jewel
    www.jewelclicks.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope the same too for you. Make kwento if you're already there. :-)

      Delete

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