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A Long Weekend in Phayao Province

Tracking back in the past, before establishment of Lannathai Kingdom in northern Thailand by King Mengrai in the 13th century, northern Thailand seemed to have been divided into several independent city states. Three of these were those of Tais: they were Ngern Yang Chiangsaen in the north, Poo Kam Yao or Phayao in the middle, and Sukhothai in the south. Between Sukhothai and Phayao was the small but prosperous kingdom of the Mon, Haripoonchai, which had close relations with Mon’s Kingdom of Dvaravati in the south. King Mengrai of Ngern Yang conquered Haripoonchai in 1282 and later established Lannathai Kingdom with Chiang Mai as its capital in 1296.

Lannathai Kingdom prospered for 262 years before it was conquered by the Burmese troops led by King Burrennong in 1556, except for a total period of on-and-off independence regained by upspring, Lannathai Kingdom was under the Mon-Burmese rule for about 200 years. It was finally liberated by a northern Thai hero name Kavila with help of the central Thai troops of King Taksin of Thon Buri in 1774. Since then, the Lannathai Kingdom became a vassal state of Bangkok.

The central Thai government, however, did not exercise direct rule over Lannathai; the vassal kings of Lannathai were only require to send to Bangkok a couple of trees of gold and silver one in every three years as token of submission. The vassal stateship of Lannathai ended in 1900 when King Rama V reformed the administration of the country. The Lannathai kings became just nominal headed of state; real power was in the hands of the governors dispatched from Bangkok. Even the nominal headship of the northern princes was terminated in 1933 when Chiang Mai was changed from the status of a capital city into a changwad or a province like any other provinces in the country. The present region of northern Thailand or a former Lannathai Kingdom comprises of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Nan, Phrae, Mae Hong Son, and Phayao.

We usually agree that the Lannathai Dynasty began at the time of King Mengrai, starting when he was first crowned until the time he occupied Lumphun and established Chiang Mai in 1296. Chiang Mai has become the centre of Lannathai since then. Lannathai is the area in the north which has Chiang Mai as its centre, is divided into three periods:

  1. The reign of Mengrai Dynasty. From the period of King Mengrai to the Princess Visuddhirajadevi, Mengrai’s descendant (1296-1578)
  2. The period when Chiang Mai was under Burmese rule. King Burrennong invaded Chiang Mai and overpowered the region. Later King Taksin of Thonburi freed Chiang Mai from Burma (1579-1774)
  3. The period during which Chiang Mai was organised as a part of central Thai. This period began the time of Chao Kawila to present time (1774-)

Phayao is a former independent city state and was part of Lannathai during King Mengrai. The city centre is located about 691 kms from Bangkok and the province occupies an area of 6,335 square kilometers. There are national parks and reserves area with a rich and important botanical significance and several are also of outstanding scenic beauty. Ancient dinosaurs has been discovered in Phu Nang National Park. There are several archaeological sites located in an area of agricultural land and forest which still lack attention. Temple architecture, sculpture and style of a Buddha images all are related to the history of the province. The landscape is very beautiful, some area with beautiful rice paddy and some area in places with mountainous green hills rise to surprisingly rugged and dramatic peaks. Many very beautiful Thai Lue style temples and Burmese style temples with mural paintings can be seen in Chiang Kham, Chiang Muan districts, built by people migrating into Thailand several decades ago. Their beautiful and sophisticated handwoven silk and cotton fabrics, which are sold in their villages, are attractive items for tourist.

Under the leadership of Khun Euayporn, The Siam Society is arranging a study trip exploring temples and  ancient archaeological sites, visit national park and waterfalls, temple’s museum and the ancient Dinosaur museum, and sites of interest in Phayao province. The group will depart from Bangkok Don Mueang Airport on Friday, 10 June at 07:00 and return to Bangkok Don Mueang Airport on Sunday, 12 June 2022 at 20:00.


Friday, 10 to Sunday, 12 June 2022


Khun Euayporn Kerdchouay

Senior Consultant of The Siam Society



The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Friday, 10 June: Bangkok Don Mueang Airport – Mae Fa Luang Airport (Chiang Rai) – Phayao
05:30 Check in at Air Asia counter at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport, domestic terminal.
07:00 Depart Don Mueang Airport for Chiang Rai by Air Asia flight FD3199
08:30 Arrive at Mae Fa Luang Airport in Chiang Rai and proceed to Phayao by van.
Arrive at Phayao.  Phayao is on the right bank of a lake, 6 km long and 4 km broad, at the foot of a mountain some 1700 m high. It was for many year the capital of a Poo Kam Yao and today is a quite provincial centre. Phayao is a charming place to stop for overnight. There are a few pleasant and popular restaurants by the lake.
Visit Wat Si Khom Kham and a monumental Buddha statue (Phra Chao Ton Luang), very beautiful new ubosot and very good museum.
Visit Wat Luang Raja Sathan which is one of best example of old temples built in Phayao.
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant.
Afternoon: Visit Wat Phra That Chom Thong and check in at Phuglong Luxury Hotel.
Late afternoon: Visit Wat Pa Anayo and Doi Butsarakham which is about 12 km to the west of Kawn Phayao (lake). The temple is fairly new and is one of the finest temples in the area. Isolated in its rustic setting, its beautiful and its charming location, is worth a careful visit.
Evening: Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Saturday, 11 June: Chiang Muan – Pong – Doi Phu Rang Ka
07:30 Breakfast at the hotel.
08:30 Proceed to Chiang Muan district.
On the way, visit the waterfalls in Doi Phu Nang National Park and Doi Phu Nang – Chiang Muan Dinosaur Museum
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant.
Afternoon: Visit Wat Tha Fa Tai, a beautiful Thai Lue style temple and continue to Pong district to visit Phra That Doi Yuek and the rarely seen Fabric Talisman Museum in Wat Thammikaram.
Late afternoon: Arrive at Doi Phu Rangka and check in at Phulangka Le Balcony resort (This resort is located on a high hill with a very beautiful view)
Day 3: Sunday, 12 June: Doi Phu Rangka – Wiang Lo Archaeological Site (Chun district) – Chiang Kham district – Chiang Rai – Bangkok
08:00 Proceed to Wiang Lo Archaeological Site in Chun district.
09:45 Visit the small museum at Wat Sri Ping Muang and visit Wiang Lo Archaeological Sites.
11:00 Proceed to Chiang Kham district.
Noon: Welcome reception by Thai Lue community.
Visit some typical Thai Lue houses and visit Wat Phra That Sop Waen, Wat Saen Muang Ma, and Wat Nantaram.
Afternoon: Proceed to Chiang Rai Province.
Arrive at Mae Fa Luang Airport.
18:45 Depart Chiang Rai by Nok Air flight DD107 for Bangkok Don Mueang Airport.
20:00 Arrive at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport.
The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary.


Important notes:

The Society requires all study trip participants to be fully vaccinated. We kindly ask that you attach appropriate proof(s) along with your registration. 

– To comply with the measures set forth by the government in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to protect yourself and others around you, the Society kindly asks our participants to follow the appropriate safety and precautionary measures as stipulated by the government and health organisations.

– The Siam Society may utilise photos taken from study trips, lectures, performances, and other activities as part of its public relations and marketing campaign. These photos, which may sometimes contain image(s) of activity participants, can also be featured on the Society’s website and other online social media channels.

– As our programme involves traveling to a remote/rural area, we would like to inform you that accommodation may be limited in terms of provided services and facilities. Participants may also be placed in different hotels located within the vicinity. We recommend that you book your place as soon as possible.

– As part of our effort in addressing the issue of global warming, The Siam Society strongly supports the reduction of plastic waste. We kindly recommend that trip participants bring their own water flask, if possible.

The contribution of THB 22,000 (THB 23,000 for non-members), single room surcharge THB 2,800, will cover airfares, transportation, meals as mentioned in the programme, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. In addition, basic travel insurance is included. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Please pay by cash or cheque payable to “The Siam Society”. Alternatively, you can transfer the money to The Siam Society travel account at TMBThanachart Bank (ttb), saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.

For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert at Tel. 02-661-6470-3 ext. 504 or Khun Supanut Tel. 02-661-6470-3 ext. 506, Fax 02-258-3491 or email: The Society office is open from 09:00 to 17:00, Tuesday to Saturday.

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