Lampang is situated on the right bank of Mae Nam Wang and lies 599 kilometers north of Bangkok at the junction of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai highways. It has an area of 12,543 sq.kms. It is administratively divided into 13 Amphoes: Muang, Chae Hom, Hang Chat, Ko Kha, Mae Mo, Mae Phrik, Mae Tha, Ngao, Soem N gam, Sop Prap, Thoen, Wang Nua and Muang Pan.
Lampang lays claim to two unique features. One, it is the only Thai town still using colorful horse drawn carriages as a means of everyday urban transport. Two, it claims to have the world’s only training school for baby elephants. Both attractions account for the bulk of Lampang’s Thai and foreign visitors.
What to see and what to do in Lampang?
Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao is on the right bank of Mae Nam Wang. It is an old structure which has an impressive chedi on a rectangular base with a round spire topped inlaid with gilded bronze plaques. A Burmese style chapel topped by tiered roofs stands next to it. The chapel contains a Burmese style Buddha image with particularly interesting decorations. The chapel probably dates from the late 18th century. Beautiful colors and elaborate harmony make Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao one of Thailand’s best examples of Burmese style temples.
Wat Chedi Sao (Temple of Twenty Chedis) is also on the right bank of Mae Nam Wang, north of town. The temple is attractively set in an open ricefield. The complex is impressive with its Burmese-style bell-like spires.
Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang lies some 20 kilometers south of Lampang and is one of the North’s finest temples. The chedi towers above surrounding trees. To the left of the chedi is a viham with a carved wood facade and double level rooves. Harmonious proportions and exquisite interior decoration make Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang one of the best examples of Northern-style religious architecture.
Chao Pho Pratu Pha Shrine is located 50 kms. from Lampang town on the right hand side of Lampang – Ngao Highway. It is a big spirit shrine housing the statue of Chao Pho Pratu Pha (The spirit ruling the area of Pratu Pha), highly revered by Lampang inhabitants. The shrine was constructed in commemoration of a brave soldier. He was the right hand man of a king of Lampang and was killed in a battle by the Burmese enemies at this Pratu Pha Pass.
Tham Pha Thai Forest Park lies at kilometer 665 on the Lampang – Ngao Road and hosts a large Buddha image and colourful stalagmites. Chae Son National Park covers areas in Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Chae Son and Amphoe Muang Phan. Travel along Lampang – Wag Nua Road, turn left at km. 58-59 and go another 17kms. Attractive spots are the Hot Water Well, Chae Son Waterfall and Mae Mon Waterfall. For detailed information, please contact the National Park Division, Royal Forest Department, Tel. 579-0529, 579-4842.
Doi Khuntan National Park, located within Lampang and Lamphun, has an area of 225 square kilometers and an altitude of 1,272 meters. Access to the park is possible by taking Lampang – Lamphun highway and branching off at Km. 47 for 18 kms. However, the easiest way is by train to Khuntan station. The Doi Khuntan area was first explored early this century when German engineers were excavating Thailand’s longest tunnel (some 1.3 kilometers) on the Bangkok – Chiang Mai railway line. The main trail climbs from Khuntan station to park headquarters, bungalows belonging to the State Railways, a missionary area and the Royal Forestry Department. Camp sites are also available. Campers must bring their own tents and the camping equipment.
Wat Phrathat Chom Ping is situated at Mu 5, Ban Chom Ping, Tambon Na Kaeo, Amphoe Ko Kha about 26 kms. southwest of Lampang city. The unusual feature of this temple is the shadow of the pagoda which appears on the floor of the convocation hall through its window. This similar event also happens at Wat Akkho Chai Khiri, Amphoe Chae Hom in Lampang.
The Elephant Conservation Center is attached to the Veterinary Section, Northern Timber Work Division, Forestry Industry Organization and is the first center in Thailand to train elephants for forest work. The Centre is located in Ban Tung Kiewn, Amphoe Hang Chat, on Lampang-Chiang Mai Highway 32 kms. from Lampang. At the center, the elephant’s activities such as bathing, working and log pushing are demonstrated for the public. In addition, the center provides elephant riding tour.
Wat Sichum is a monastery situated on Lampang – Ngao Highway. Its architecture is of Burmese style having very sophisticated and beautiful wood carvings on the Vihara. Gold gilded works are found on the walls, ceiling and big pillars in the Vihara, which is another exquisite, graceful, beauty of Burmese arts. Its is regrettable that the vihara’s upper part which was made of wood was badly damaged by fire. Only the carved-wood arch at the entrance remains.
Doi Luang National Park covers areas of Lampang, Phayao and Chiang Rai. The main attraction in Lampang is Wang Kaeo Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in that province. Its water cascades down 110 tiers from a top of a mountain and can be seen up to four kilometers away. Hilltribe villages are live on top of the mountain. Wang Kaeo Waterfall is located in Amphoe Wang Nua, 130 kms. from Lampang on Lampang – Chae Hom Road.
Salung Luang Procession and Lampang Songkran Festival is held during April 12-14 each year. There is a traditional parade, merit-making, paying respects to elders and traditional performances.