Travel Thailand Lampang Province.
                   Lampang has been known as a famous city of the North for a long time as the city of horse carriages, the only elephant training centre of the world is located here, centre of best lacquerware products and many tourist attractions. Lampang is the centre of ancient architecture and an exotic destination for all nature lovers.
                    Lampang is located 604 kilometres from Bangkok. The eastern part is next to Phayao and Chiang Rai, while the southern part is close to Sukhothai and Tak. The eastern part is connected to Phrae, and Chiang Mai and Lamphun is on the western.
                    Lampang covers 12,533 square kilometers. The province area is divided into 13 amphoes : Muang Lampang, Ko Kha, Chae Hom, Mae Tha, Thoen, Ngao, Hang Chat, Wang Nuea, Mae Phrik, Some Ngam, Sop Prap, Mae Mo and Mueng Pan.
                     Lampang has winter during October-February. The rain sweeps the area during rainy season while summer is during March-April.
                     The slogan of Lampang is the cold fertile city, unique horse carriage, boasts of fine lacquerware, glorious Lord Buddha’s relic and world famous elephant training centre.
Getting to know Lampang
                  Lampang is a major city, with a rich cultural tradition of its own and perhaps the most spectacular Buddhist temples in the country. Known to the Thais as muang rot maa or 'pony cart city' or 'horse carriage city' because it is the last town in Thailand to employ this form of transport. Lampang is an old city founded during the 7th century of the Dvaravati period.
                Some ancient legend told the ori­gin of Lampang's name. That is "Lampang" was derived from a kind of local wood call 'Pang' or the bam­boo wood with sticky rice inside its hollow, which Lua Ai Kon gave to the Lord Buddha .
                Nothing remains from these early times, but the city is rich in temples, many of which have a distinctly Burmese flavour as Lampang had a substantial Burmese population in the 19th century. At nearby Koka district is one of the architectural wonders of Thailand Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Dating from around 1,475, this temple is the most magnificent and best preserved example of northern Thai temple architecture dating from the golden years of the Lanna Kingdom.
         Lampang may only be the sec­ond city of the north, outranked by nearby Chiang Mai but Kavila,

 



















  

the hero who liberated Chiang Mai and the North from Burmese occupation in the late 18th century, was the hereditary Chao or lord of Lampang and is remembered with great pride in the city. Today Lampang is a mod­ern commercially-oriented city of shophouses and supermarkets, but the area to the north of the River Wang, which flows through the cen­tre of town retains an attractive 19th century aspect and is well worth a visit.
                Lampang is the second city of the Khon Muang, after Chiang Mai. lsolated from Lamphun and Chiang Mai to the west by the Doi Khun Tan mountains, from Phayao to the east by the massive bulk of Doi Bussaracum, and from Phrae to the southeast by the Doi Khun Kiat range the valley of Lampang is broad and fertile. As a consequence, Lampang-valley, city and people-has developed a distinctive style and cul­ture of its own; still Northern, to be sure but the regional accent is dif­ferent to that of Chiang Mai the peo­ple do not decorate their houses with the distinctive crossed galae used so widely in the northern capital. and Burmese cultural influence was stronges much more recently than in Chiang Mai.
              A journey from Chiang Mai to Lampang could take several days on foot and elephant back, though now a broad concrete superhighway, soon to be an all dual carriageway, has cut the time it takes to travel between the two cities to about one and a half hours.
              Lampang, like the capitals of so many of the northern principalitres, is an ancient town. Legend recounts that a son of Queen Chamadevi of Lamphun founded the city in the 9th century A.D.; as such it was a Mon tributary state. Lampang itself was at that time called Klang Nakhon, or "Central City", and it had four fortified dependencies, one of which-Phra That Lampang Luang-survives to the present day.
                Lampang became part of the Lanna Kingdom after its conquest by Phaya Mengrai around 1286, though in reality the difficult terrain between Chiang Mai and Lampang permitted the rulers of the latter principality a considerable degree of autonomy in local matters. Nevertheless, both dur­ing the Lanna period and subse­quently, under Burmese hegemony, the two cities shared similar and related fates.
              Today, the oldest part of Lampang lies to the north of the River Wang while the modern com­mercial town is to be found on the south bank. For this reason, the old part of the city is known locally as Wiang Neua, or the "Northern Town". Here the visitor will find Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao, the most important temple in the city supposedly found­ed by the first ruler of Lampang, The central chedi, which is around 50 metres high, is believed to enshrine a hair of the Buddha. For some years, this eminent temple housed the famous Emerald Buddha, palladium of the Thai Kingdom, long since moved to Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok. Of particular interest is a Burmese style mondop or square-shaped relic chamber, which was built in 1909 by Burmese artisans in a typical Mandalay style. Links with nearby Burma were in fact particularly strong in the late 19pth century, as Lampang was then a major logging centre, and Burmese-often, in fact, Shan-migrants flooded into the city to partake of the wealth teak created. At least a dozen Buddhist temples were sponsored and largely constructed by these rel­atively wealthy migrants, and their legacy lives on today both in the unusual, distinctively Burmese temple architecture and in the temples themselves-at least four local wats continue to have Burmese abbots.
                Wiang Neua is noted for several other old temples-notably Wat Suchada and Wat Hua Kuang-as well as for the numerous, well-preserved old houses and quiet back lanes which distinguish the quarter from the more boisterous, commercial district south of the river across Ratchada Bridge. Here, along Boonyawat and Rawp Wiang Roads, busy markets and shophouses stay open all day and much of the night, offering a wide variety of goods from local foodstuffs to imported Japanese and Korean consumer goods. On busy Rawp Wiang Road stands Ho Amok, an octagonal bastion, just about all that remains of the former city fortifi­cations.
                Another area worth a visit in the southern city is kat kao, or the Old Market, located by the bank of the River Wang just off Tipchang Road. At the turn of the century, this now quiet area was a seething centre of trade, the town's main market, and the home of many wealthy trades­men. Many of their houses survive, an unlikely mix of wooden housing in Chinese, Burmese, Western and Northern Thai styles-the Iatter often indicated by a fan motif on the front. ln times past, the Old Market was an important destination for mule cara­vans from Yunnan and the Shan States, seething with Chinese Haw, Burmese, Shans, Lao and the lndige­nous Khon Muang.
                Lampang is unique among the cities of the north in that the horse-drawn carriage still survives; and become a sort of unofficial symbol of the city. Because of this, and because visitors to Lampang like to take a ride in a pony and trap along the banks of the River Wang, it now seems likely that this unusual form of transportation will survive and even flourish.
The Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre
                Many visitors to Thailand have elephants high on their list of things to see, perhaps the best place to visit, and one that will bring benefit to the great beasts that live there, is the Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre. Located just 40 kilometres south of Chiang Mai, it is thought to be the largest conservatory of its kind in Thailand. Lampang's Elephant Conservation Centre was established to care for working elephants and their mahouts after many areas were closed to commercial logging Today it is home to around 60 elephants; more have been acquired through various means -injury, abandonment, seizure by police because they were used in the illegal logging trade or mistreated, or by donation, or birth on site. Among them is Bo Thut, the elephant who gained fame in the Walt Disney movie "Operation Dumbo Drop" -which was filmed in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son.
              Current estimates put the number of wild elephants in Thailand at around 5000. This may be contrast­ed with the situation in 1900, when it was estimated that there were more than 100,000 elephants working in Siam. ln 1952, there were 13,397 domestic elephants in Thailand and until 1917 a white elephant appeared against a red background on the national flag of Siam. 
              Thailand, and more especially the North, is closely associated in most peoples' minds with teak forests and the great, intelligent beasts that work them -Elephas maximus, the lndian Elephant. ln times past, working ele­phants extracted thousands of tons of fine teakwood and other hardwoods from Thai forests every year. The trees were cut by forestry workers and cut into sections, after which powerful bull elephants were set to hauling with harness and drag trains to the encouragement of shouts from their handlers. Trained elephants are very skilful and know exactly what they are doing. Using their heads, trunk, tusks and feet they push, pull and otherwise manoeuver logs weighing up to five tons to the banks of fast-flowing rivers. From here, they were floated out of the forests and down to the sawmills.
              Working elephants are bred in captivity, but still others are captured ln the wild and then trained as work­ing elephants -though it takes around 20 years before an elephant is considered fully trained. 
               Elephant mothers carry their calves for 22 months. An adult can run at speeds of up to 20 kilometres an hour and put less weight on the ground per square centimetre than a deer Elephants begin training when they're between three and five years old and the training continues for five years. Tasks they learn include car­rying and piling logs, as well as bathing and walking in procession.
              Working elephants have a career of about 50 years, hence when young  they are given two mahouts, one older and one younger -some­times a father-and-son team -who can see the animal through its life­time. Thai law requires that elephants be retired and released into the wild at age 61. They often live for 80 years or more.
              Now that logging has been banned in Thailand, there is little demand for trained elephants lllegal logging aside, the elephant is still an important mode of jungle transport as it beats any other animal or machine for its ability to move through a for­est with minimum damage -its large, soft feet distribute the animal's weight without crushing the ground.
               The Lampang Elephant Conser­vation Centre is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., seven days a week. Demonstrations on traditional logging techniques, elephants playing musical instruments and painting pic­tures are held in the mornings, with afternoon programmes also held on weekends and holidays.
               And of course elephant rides are available, too, lt's possible to stay in an on-site bungalow, with the days spent working with the elephants and mahouts learning commands and care.
Exploring Lampang Town
Amphoe Muang 
            Horse Carriage of Lampang Since the past, the horse carriage has been the most well-known char­acteristic of Lampang province, which visitors should not miss for having a chance to try once. The horse car­riage trip is available both around the city area or to many important his­torical places nearby. Normally, the fare for one trip is about 150-200 baht or 300 baht per hour, enquiries and more information can be made at the old city hall, all important tourist attractions and Thip Chang Hotel.
            Wat Phra Kaeo Dontao Suchadaram is an old temple of 1,000 years old. There is a chronicle that a senior monk found a piece of emerald in a watermelon and carved it into a Buddha image. The people of Lampang call it "Maktao". This temple used to house the Emerald Buddha image for 32 years. lnteresting objects in the temple are the Chedi encasing a hair of the Lord Buddha. The Viharn houses a large reclining Buddha image of Lanna adorned with Chiang Saen and Burmese arts.
               Wat Srichum is the largest and most beautiful Burmese style temple among Thailand. lts outstanding structure is the exquisite Viharn. lt is a half-wood, half-cement building with a pointed roof and woodcarving ornaments. The interior is adorned with a harmonious mixture of grace­ful Lanna and Burmese arts.
             Wat Sri Rongmuang has a beautiful viharn with an ornately adorned multi-tiered cable roof. lts interior is decorated with teakwood elaborated carved designs.
             Wat Pa Fang was built during the reign of King Rama V, lts chedi houses the holy Buddha relics trans­fered from Myanmar. The remarkable feature is the ordination hall with the wooden or ornate roof of Burmese design The principal Buddha image inside the Viharn was taken from Myanmar as well.
             Wat Chai Mongkol (or Wat Chongka) The old kuti (monk's hut) in this temple is architecturally inter­esting. lts roof is of wooden carving of Burmese design. lts gable is adorned with coloured glass in the shape of the magnificent Paradise of the Daowadueng class. lts ordination hall is adorned with carved golden teakwood of the Burmese art style.
                 Wat Chedi Sao is already more than 1,000 years old. Chedi Sao means in Thai as the temple with 20 chedies (pagoda). lt is architectural art of Myanmar and Lanna. ln the past, some amulets of the Haripunchai style were found in the depository under the base of the Chedi Within the Viharn is an enshrined Buddha image called "Thanchai" of the exquisite Chiang Saen school of art .
              Wat Phra That Mon Phaya Chai is a viewpoint of Lampang, as it is located on the slope off the Lampang-Ngaow road kilometre 605. Its chedi houses Buddha relics with Naga staircases leading up to the Chedi. This Burmese and Lanna mixed style Naga staircase is praised as the longest and the most beauti­ful in Lampang lt was built in the reign of Queen Chamathewi of Lamphun. There is a Lanna styled chedi housing relics of the Lord Buddha Viharn Chamathewi in the temple houses a sitting Buddha image with folded legs of attitude of subduing Mara. The image is an art of the Chiang Saen school of art of over 1,000 years old.
             Ban Sao Nak is situated on Na Mai Road within Muang District. lt is an ancient teakwood with the largest number of pillars totaling 116 in all. It is adorned with a mixture of arts of Lanna and Myanmar. Each post of this house is of a huge size. The house exhibits ancient and traditional accessories of Lanna .
              Kew Lom Dam -For more details, contact the lrrigation Department, Sam Sen Road, Bangkok. There is rafting accommo­dation that can be rented at the dam site. Tourists can float their rafts from the dam site to other tourist spots like Ko Chuan Fun, Pa Kiang, Pa Ngam, Laem Chao Kuan, etc.
Amphoe KoKa
             Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is the most elegent and best preserved Lanna temple to be found anywhere in the North: it was found­ed during the reign of Queen Chama­thewi. lt is a temple that houses a Buddha image of Lampang city for hundreds of year called "Phra Kaeo Dontao". Behind the Viharn, there is a stupa enshrining relics of the Lord Buddha. ln the Viharn, there is a unique mural painting of high value, which can be found here only. The principal Buddha image in the Viharn was founded during the Chiang Saen period. lts decorations are the teak-wood carving and coloured glass on the gables.
             Wat Phra That Chom Ping is situated 12 kilometres away from Wat Phra That Lampang Luang King Tilokanat of the Lanna kingdom founded it. The most interesting thing is the reflection on the window pan­els resembling the body of the stupa.
Amphoe Hang Chat
                 The Bamboo Museum has a collection of numerous kinds of bam­boo from within the country and other countries in Southeast Asia. The exhibits also include accessories made of various kinds of bamboo.
Amphoe Mae Tha
             Ban Mae Tha lndigenous Museum has a collection and dis­play of objects of the Lampang Peo­ple. This is also a famous source of handicrafts of carved teakwood sou­venirs of different sizes.
Amphoe Mae Mo
                Mae Mo Lignite Mine is the only mine in Thailand that still uses the power of lignite. The public park in front of the mine is beautiful from the lighting on the opposite side of the mine.
Amphoe Ngao
            The archaeological site at Pratu Pa Camp is accepted as the longest painting in Southeast Asia. There are 1,872 paintings, which can be divided into 7 groups The figures found here are hands, men, animals, trees and accessories. Skeletons of ancient men were excavated at this cliff slope, too. Archaeologists assume that they are prehistoric paintings.
              Chao Po Pratu Pa Shrine is a holy shrine highly revered by the people of Lampang. A legend goes that Chao Po Pratu Pa was a brave general of a ruler of Lampang that sacrificed his life in the war with the Burmese. He breathed his last breathe while standing with his back against a cliff and two hands holding swords guarding, Villagers hence erected the shrine to commemorate their bold warrior. At present, there are numerous small spirit houses that have been left by villagers at the shrine site.
              Tham Pa Thai Forest Park is a very beautrful eye-catching cave with a series of chambers and stalactites and stalagmites His Majesty the King visited the cave in 1951 A.D His regalia has been inscribed on the cave wall, as is seen till today.
Amphoe Muang Pan
             Chae Son National Park was declared a national park in 1988 A.D. lt covers an area of 592 square kilometres extending to three districts: Pan, Chae Hom and Muang. lt is a national park filled with tropical ever­green forest, mixed deciduous forests deciduous dipterocarp forest, and pine forest. Some other outstanding spots in this park are:
            - Large hot water basin is filled with a spectacular landscape of stone of big and small sizes. lt looks even more eye -catching in the morning sunlight. There is a bathing room for visitors here.
            - Chae Son Waterfall is a beau­tiful medium-sized falls since it sets itself among abundant evergreen trees. lt is 60 kilometres high with 6 small basins descending downward.
Amphoe Wang Nua
           Doi Luang National Park was-formally declared to be a national park during 1990. The park covers an area of about 1,1 70 square kilo-metres on the boundaries of three provinces: Lampang, Phayao and Chiang Rai. The park is endowed with fertile tropical evergreen forest, mixed deciduous forest and dry­dipterocarp forest that is the habitat of wild animals and various kinds of birds. lts interesting attractions are a 110-layer high falls and the Wang Thong Falls, whrch are adjacent to one another and equally beautiful.