The Top Things to See and Do in Nan, Thailand

The golden walking Buddha statue at Wat Phra That Khao Noi is an essential stop in Nan
The golden walking Buddha statue at Wat Phra That Khao Noi is an essential stop in Nan | Courtesy of Ratt Y/Unsplash
Iona Proebst

Nan is a charming town in northern Thailand located in a province with the same name. What might first appear to be a rural backwater is actually a fantastic place to dive in and experience authentic Thai culture. There are plenty of exciting things to see and do in Nan, check out our list and get inspired!

Blessing Buddha at Wat Phra That Khao Noi

Orientate yourself with 180-degree views over Nan from the stunningly beautiful 29.5 foot Golden Buddha (also known as the Blessing Buddha) at Wat Phra That Khao Noi. For those that want a little exercise climb the 303 steps to the top, alternatively, there is also a road up to the breathtaking views. The best time to go is at sunrise or sunset.

Nan Riverside Art Gallery

Nan Riverside Art Gallery is located on the banks of the Nan River. The gallery was founded by Winai Prabripoo – one of the best-known contemporary artists from Thailand – and functions as an important hub for art and culture for the Nan province. Spend a few hours marvelling at the exhibitions or relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

Nan Noble House

The splendid teak Nan Noble House was built in 1866 and is one of the town’s local charms. The house is filled with heritage antiques including ancient weapons, war elephant ivory and photographs of King Rama V. Its easy to spend a couple of hours exploring as you travel back in time.

Wat Phumin

Wat Phumin is the most famous landmark in Nan and is an ideal place to discover bonafide Nan culture. The outside of the temple has ornate naga railings while the Thai Lu murals are responsible for the fame of the temple. Be sure to also check out the vegetable-dyed coloured frescoes, the ‘whispering lovers’ scene, the ‘copulating monkey’s’ and the depictions of a torturous hell.

Doi Phu Kha National Park

Doi Phu Kha National Park spills across the Luang Prabang Range, Nan Province, and northern Thailand. The National Park is a great place to go hiking and exploring in the caves. Doi Phu Kha National Park – one of the most beautiful national parks in Thailand – is home to three rare plant species and natural rock formations. Climb Doi Phu Wae for breathtaking views of the mist rolling in the mountains below.

Nan National Museum

Take the opportunity to learn more about the local history and culture of the region with a trip to the Nan National Museum. The museum includes different collections of northern Thailand’s ethnic groups including, silverwork, textiles and tribal costumes. Also of interest are the local archaeology, architecture, royal regalia, weapons and religious artefacts from the region. The museum has an impressive collection of Buddha images with some rare Lanna and floppy-eared Nan styles.

Risasinee Spa

If you are looking for a place to sooth those tired traveller legs, stop by Risasinee Spa for a Thai massage or pampering spa package. Risasinee Spa is one of the most renowned spas in town and is known for its excellent service, friendly staff and affordable prices.

Wat Phra That Chae Haeng

The 14th-century Wat Phra That Chae Haeng is located on a hill just across the river from Nan town and is widely considered as the town’s most important temple. Phra That Chae Haeng houses a relic of the Buddha, silver and gold votive tablets. Take some time out and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and the onsite meditation centre.

Kuang Mueng Nan Walking Street

Many provincial towns in northern Thailand have “walking street” markets and Nan is no different. The Kuang Mueng Nam Walking Street Market is located in front of Wat Phumin. On offer is a selection of local food stalls with an array of local specialities for you try. There are also stalls selling local crafts and souvenirs. This night market is a great place to immerse yourself in local culture and to enjoy a spot of people watching.

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