Is Lampang the Last Paradise in Thailand?
Disheartened by the sweaty bustle of the streets of Chiang Mai, I headed to Lampang (pronounced Lampung).
Locals and expats had told me that Lampang is the last paradise in Thailand, so obviously I had to go. It is a 2-hour train journey south-east of Chiang Mai and far from the tourist track.
Although it is the third largest town in Northern Thailand, it is considerably sleepier than the hectic pace of Chiang Mai, especially on a Sunday when most shops are closed and the streets almost deserted.
The train trip was interesting, and third class was good. Ladies travel the trains, selling Thai snacks to travelers, but little to no English is spoken as soon as you leave Chiang Mai. In an example of beautiful Thai generosity an elderly lady offered to share her mandarins with us.
The city is located in a valley and straddles the Wang River. It is also known as the “carriage city” with horse and carriage being the traditional mode of transport.
While it is much quieter than Chiang Mai, the town springs to life for the walking markets on the weekends. The merchandise on offer at the markets are far less touristy than those in Chiang Mai. I didn’t see even one pair of elephant print happy pants so common in Chiang Mai. Due to being off the tourist track Lampang is cheaper than Chiang Mai. Everything from the food, accommodation and transport is cheaper.
Despite it being decidedly Thai, there is an Italian restaurant, run by an Italian. Keeping with the international flavors you can also get a Bingsu, a Korean dessert that provides a round 900 calories in each serving.
So paradise? Well, paradise is in the eye of the beholder, but it is a good spot for a relaxing few days, although you could run out of things to do quickly. Once you’ve seen the Wats, the markets and been in a carriage, there’s not much else . . . but that’s not always a bad thing.
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