Introduction

Nowadays Nan has an airport, comfortable boutique hotels and trendy coffee shops, along with picturesque villages in the mountains, but 40 years ago Nan was considered a wild region and sometimes even off-limited for traveling. Time has changed however and the some centuries old temples built in Tai Lue architecture style with beautiful murals, green mountains and ethnic minorities are now starting to attract Thai & foreigner tourists. The main destination for visitors to this province is its capital Nan and nearby surroundings. It is however not the only place of interest in this province with the same name. Especially those who love outdoor activities might find their way to places like Pua, Bo Klua, Chiang Klang, Thung Chang, Na Noi and Mae Charim. Upcountry Nan offers nature, mountains and culture. From the famous Ancient Salt Pits of Bo Klua and The Yellow Ghost Tribe to Waterfalls, Coffee plantations, Markets and Rivers.

Tourist Attraction in Nan province, North Thailand
View from Wat Khao Noi and the Wat Phumin in Nan

GEOGRAPHICAL

Nan is one of Thailands Northern provinces with in the north, west and south neighbouring provinces Uttaradit, Phrae and Phayao. In the north & east it borders to Laos, with an international border crossing at Huai Kon, serving as a gateway to Luang Prabang. The valley of the Nan River and the mountainous areas with forest, National Parks and waterfalls are the most dominant characteristics of this so far still relatively isolated Thai province. This makes it a great destination for hiking & camping, especially in the cool season.

Nan town is situated pretty central in the province, along the banks of the Nan River, famous for its Nan Longboat Races. In the part of town that generally is referred to as its Historic Center you will find among others the Wat Phumin, the National Museum, parts of the old city wall and traditional old wooden houses.

For accommodation in Nan see Accommodation - Check accommodation in Nan on BOOKING

CLIMATE

The weather is as hot as everywhere in Thailand during the hot season of April and May. Then the monsoon season begins that lasts until end October with chance of heavy rains and some local flooding. From November to March the cool season hits the North of Thailand and temperatures in Nan province may go down to about 5℃ during night time (December-February). Nan is an attractive destination all year around, but for outdoor activities it is recommended to visit during the cool season, from September to February.

Hmong hill-tribes in Nan province, North Thailand

PEOPLE

Nan is home to descendants of the former rulers of Sukhothai, Laos and Chiang Mai. But also home to the descendants of many ethnic minorities that came to live in the mountains of Nan province. Currently about 10% of the people of Nan are ethnic minorities with a majority Mien (Yao) and Hmong, but also lesser know Mlabri (Phi Tong Luang), Khamu, Thins and Tai Lue (Thai Lue). The remote and isolated location has without any doubts strongly contributed to the fact that traditional ways of living and many aspects of local cultures are still greatly preserved. Nearly all people now speak Thai, but besides of that also speak their own specific dialect and/or traditional language like Tai Lue or Khamu.

History of Nan province, North Thailand

HISTORY

Old map of kingdom of Nan in formerly Siam
In the old days Nan was an independent kingdom with only a few connections to other kingdoms. The written history of Nan (Nanthaburi) goes back until the 13th century when the first kingdom was created around Pua and was associated with the kingdoms of Sukhothai and Chiang Mai. After years of occupation  in 1788 the Burmese were driven out, Nan accepted to become part of what later was called Siam. In 1893 Nan was forced to give a big part of eastern Nan to French-Indochin (see the dark grey part on the map left). It was also that part where all the famous silver of Nan province came from. Since 1932 Nan became a province of Thailand, although a very remote and still semi-independent province. In the 1960's to 1980's Nan province became ground for the Communist Party Thailand (CPT), hiding in the remote mountains bordering Laos. In those days Nan province was more or less off-limit for traveling. The area of currently Nan province has also always be home to many minorities from mostly China like the Hmong and Tai Lue.
Seal of Nan province, North Thailand

The provincial seal of Nan province shows a Usuparatch bull carrying the stupa of Phrathat Chae Haeng. The buffalo goes back to a legend that the rulers of Nan and Phrae were brothers, and met at a mountain to decide about the boundary between their lands. The ruler of Nan went there on a buffalo, while the ruler of Phrae went there on a horse.

ORIENTATION

Nan town is centrally located in the province. From Nan town to other places :
  • Bo Klua - 90 km
  • Ban Luang - 42 km
  • Chiang Klang - 75 km
  • Huai Kon - 130 km
  • Mae Charim - 40 km
  • Na Noi - 63 km
  • Nong Bua - 45km
  • Pua - 60 km
  • Santisuk - 32 km
  • Sila Phet - 54 km
  • Song Kwae - 80 km
  • Tha Wang Pha - 45 km
  • Thung Chang - 90 km
  • Wiang Sa - 25 km
From Nan to places outside the Nan province :
  • Bangkok - 660 km
  • Chiang Rai - 240 km
  • Chiang Mai - 350 km
  • Phayao - 160 km
  • Phrae - 120 km
  • Luang Prabang (Laos) - 370 km

HELPFULL INFORMATION

Nan Hospital (public)

  • Located in Nan town, next to the army HQ.
  • Address : 1 Worawichai, Tambon Nai Wiang, Amphoe Mueang Nan
  • Tel. : 054 719 000

Private Hospitals

  • There are no private hospitals in Nan province, the nearest would be in Phrae, Lampang or Chiang Rai

District Hospitals

  • Located in Tha Wang Pha along route 101
  • Located in Pua along route 1081

Nan Tourist Police

  • Located in Nan town, between Wat Ming Muang and Wat Si Phan (about 500m west of Hot Bread). 
  • Tel. : 1155

Nan Immigration

  • Located about 3 km of of Nan town, along route 1091 in direction of Phayao. Behind the new government buildings. Just follow the signs along route 1091.
  • Tel. : 054-716138

Medical Clinics in Nan town

  • Along Ananta Woraritthi Det road (where also is Sukkasem Hotel) are a few private medical clinics (mostly open from 17:00 - 21:00) and pharmacy's (open all day).
CHECK ACCOMMODATION IN NAN ON BOOKING

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