Nan Province

Nan is both a quiet town and tranquil province in northern Thailand, approx 670 kms from Bangkok. Covering an area of 11,472 square kilometres, it is comprised of the following districts (with distance from Nan shown):

Ban Luang45 kilometres
Chiang Klang76 kilometres
Thung Chang98 kilometres
Na Muen80 kilometres
Mae Charim38 kilometres
Song Khwae80 kilometres
Tha Wang Pha43 kilometres
Na Noi60 kilometres
Bo Kluea133 kilometres
Pua60 kilometres
Wiang Sa25 kilometres
Santi Suk32 kilometres
Chalerm Phra Kiat135 kilometres

The people of Nan descend from the Lan Changs (Laotians). Their forebears moved to settle around present-day Pua district which is rich in rock salt deposits, about 700 years ago at the time when Sukhothai was becoming the kingdom of the Thais. They subsequently moved south to the fertile Nan River basin which is much more extensive.

Nan’s history is deeply involved with its neighbours, in particular Sukhothai which played an important role in both political and religious terms before Nan became a part of Lanna, Burma and Thailand in that order. Today Nan is still the home of numerous Thai Lue and other hilltribes who retain highly interesting customs and traditions.

Boundary:
  • North-East : – Borders Laos
  • South : – Borders Uttaradit
  • North : – Borders Phrae, Phayao and Chiang Rai
From Nan city to nearby provinces:
  • Phayao 176 kms
  • Chiang Rai 270 kms
  • Chiang Mai 318 kms
  • Phrae 118 kms
  • Amphoe Denchai (Phrae) 142 kms
Essential NumbersPHONE  
TOURIST POLICE054- 
POLICE STATION – 52 Suriyaphong Rd054 710 216 
AIRPORT054- 
HOSPITAL – Worawichai Rd., cnr of Sumon Thewarat Rd., 3km north of town centre054 710 138 
CITY HALL054- 
POST OFFICE – 70 Mahawong Rd054 710 176 
TOURIST INFORMATION – opposite Wat Phumin054 710 216 

Foreigners were barred from Nan province from the 1960s through the 1980s. This was a stronghold of the People’s Liberation Army of Thailand (PLAT) guerillas and their Laotian and Vietnamese sponsors. Insurgents passed back and forth across the border with Laos.

When the last communists surrendered in the late 1980s, the undeveloped province continued to be frequented by what the Thai army called “bandits” who often blew up road construction equipment. Until the early 1990s, much of the eastern border with Laos was “out of bounds” and firmly controlled by the Thai military and border rangers.