Though Lampang is second only to Chiang Mai in size, it has retained much of its traditional feel. An important religious, cultural, and artistic center, Lampang is situated on the Wang River which cuts through a striking and fertile valley. From this valley, cotton, tobacco, rice, and fruit are harvested. Characterized by beautiful old-world architecture, well preserved ancient temples, and people that adhere to tradition, Lampang has much to offer those who choose to visit.
Though the journey from Chiang Mai takes only about one 11/2 hours, the landscape is very attractive. On the way to Lampang from Chiang Mai, it may be worth stopping about midway at Doi Khun Tan National Park which is located 18 km down a dirt road at KM 48. Bungalows are available and can be reserved at from the Bangkok or Chiang Mai train station. Four wheel drive is recommended for this sojourn.
Things to do and see:
Located along Boonyawat and Robwiang Roads, is the bustling market place of Lampang. If you get a chance, take a stroll down to the old site of the market along the river as it is lined with many old shop houses of unique character. At the market, look for the production of Blue and white pottery which is a trademark of the region.
~Wat Prakeo Don Tao
Reputed to have been founded by the first ruler of the region, it is the main temple of Lampang. At one time a very important religious center, it previously housed the Emerald Buddha which now resides in Bangkok. Legend has it that the Buddha image is said to have materialized from a watermelon seed that was bought from a venerated monk by a woman named Suchada. What Suchada and the monk found inside the watermelon was a plain emerald from which they tried to carve the image of Buddha. Unsuccessful, the god Indra came to their aid and miraculously shaped the amazing statue. The towns people, however, disbelieved the story and suspected an illicit relation ship between the two and therefore executed Suchada. It is said this brought about a series of disasters to the town.
Known throughout Thailand as "Horse Cart City", Lampang is the only city in the country that still uses horse carts for public transportation though it is primarily tourists these days that ride on them.
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