Lampang - Pottering Around

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. #1 DavidFL, Jul 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
    Lampang is just a 100 kms south of Chiang Mai & usually just a quick PTT splash & dash stop on the way home or out of Chiang Mai.

    But take your time & hang out in old Lampang city & there are a few gems around.

    Lampang Attractions
    Lampang was once the centre of the teak logging business & the original British teak loggers imported Burmese workers to assist them in the early business. Some Burmese with experience of logging Burma also came by themselves & set up their own businesses.
    This strong Burmese presence in Lampang is reflected in 12 temples.
    1. Wat Phra Kaeo Dontao - Suchadaram
    2. Ban Sao Nak
    3. Wat Thama – O
    4. Wat Sri Rong Muang
    5. Moung Ngwe Zin Building
    6. Wat Sri Chum
    7. Wat Chai Mongkhol (Wat Jong Kha)
    8. Wat Sasnachotikaram (Wat Pa Fang)
    9. Wat Jong Kham
    10. Wat Monchamsil
    11. Wat Monpuyak (Wat Mon Santhan)
    12. Wat Pa Ruak
    These Burmese could also be divided into 3 groups
    1. The Pa –O - donated to Wat Sri Rong Muang and Wat Monpuyak.
    2. The Burmese - donated to Wat Sri Chum. The Mon are also in this group & donated for Wat Thama – O.
    3. The Shan - donated to Wat Monchamsil, Wat Sasnachotikaram, Wat Chai Monkhol and Wat Pa Ruak.

    Wat Sri Chum
    is the biggest Burmese temple in North Thailand
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    Previously, Wat Sri Chum consisted of an old temple surrounded by Banyan tree (Bodhi tree), a pond and a zayat (a building for resting and lodging) with no monk reside in. The origin of the temple’s name came from the numerous Bodhi trees which were called Sri. Burmese name of this temple is Nyuang Waign Kyuang.
    In 1893 permission was given to rebuild & the wealthy Burmese teak traders who financed the project were Kyaung Daga U Yo, U Maung Gyi and Me Liang Pounge , who was the daughter of Kyaung Daga U Yo and was U Maung Gyi ’s wife.
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    Most of the construction was completed by 1901, with some renovation done again in 1916.
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    The temple was registered as an ancient monument by the Fine Arts Department in October 27th 1981.
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    A fire in 1993 destroyed the main monastery but this since been reconstructed.

    Evidence of the fire in 93
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    Wat Sri Chum is an outstanding temple, well worth a visit.
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    Some food in Lampang
    Lampang Restaurants
  2. #2 DavidFL, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
    Some brief Lampang history

    Lampang’s history can be divided into 3 periods
    1. The original old Lampang first settled in 68AD, was located “across the river” in the north-west, & known as “Khelang Nakorn.” This was part of the Hariphunchai Kingdom of the Mon. Khelan Nakorn was a walled city with a wall of 4.4 kms & 5 gates- Ma Gate, Ton Pung Gate, Pong Gate, Nokkot Gate and Tan Gate. The important ancient place of this area is Wat Phra Kaeo Dontao.
    2. In the 2nd period, a Lanna period & it developed south-east. It had a wall of 1.1 kms & 3 gates - Chiang Mai Gate, Na Soi Gate and Plai Na Gate. The important ancient places are Wat Plai Na and Wat Pong Sanook. Not long after the two towns merged into one.
    3. In the 3rd period, a Bangkok period, the centre was moved across the river to what is Lampang today. It had a 1.9 km wall, with 5 gates - Hua Wiang Gate, Sri Kerd Gate, Sri Chum Gate, Suan Dok Gate, Chiang Rai Gate and Hoe Amoke cannon fort.
    Overall there 3 old city walls & canals in Lampang.

    In 1889 the first British company – the British Borneo Company, managed by Mr. Louis T. Leonowens - came to northern Thailand.
    The Bombay Burma Trading Corporation Ltd. came to Thailand 3 years later & was considered to be the most influential.
    Other British teak trading companies came & by 1900 there were 5 companies in Lampang - British Borneo Company Ltd., Bombay Burma Trading Corporation Ltd., Louis T. Leonowens Company Ltd., Siam Forest Company Ltd. and East Asiatic Company Ltd.
    In 1915 the railway came to Lampang & the city development drifted west again towards the railway station. With the railway Lampang became a center of regional logistics.
    There are many old buildings & important Burmese style wats in & around Lampang.

    Wat Phra Kaeo Dontao Suchadaram
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    This Wat is the most important temple in Lampang.
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    The chedi is named Chedi Phra Boromathat & contains a hair relic of the Buddha.

    This temple once housed the emerald Buddha (now in Bangkok) that was being transported by elephant from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, however in 1436 in the procession organised by King Sam Fang Kaen of Chiang Mai, the elephant carrying the emerald Buddha insisted on going to Lampang & not budging any further.
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    The King had to give in & ordered for the image to be placed at Wat Pra Kaeo. It was 32 years before it was moved from Lampang to Chiang Mai.

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    The Phra Kaew Don Tao Buddha image
    The temple also housed another highly revered Buddha image, the Phra Kaew Don Tao, that was cast in the 16th century.

    Another legend
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    One day, a monk descended from heaven and offered Mae Suchada a watermelon. When she broke it open, she found a large green gem which turned into a Buddha image through the assistance of the god Indra. Although this helped alleviate the famine, the local king grew suspicious of the monk working so closely with a woman and suspected the two of them were secretly lovers. He ordered the two executed, but the monk managed to escape (Mae Suchada was not so fortunate). Another famine subsequently ravaged the kingdom, proving the error of the king's judgement. The image in question is now enshrined at Wat Phra That Lampang Luang.
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    Also in the temple grounds is a shrine to Nan Tipchang, an elephant hunter who in 1732 AD, lead a small group of volunteers to defeat the ruling Burmese oppressors from Haripunchai.
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    Adjoining Wat Phra Kaeo Dontao is Wat Suchadaram.
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    These two temples were merged into one temple with the name Wat Phra Kaeo Dontao Suchadaram.
    Wat Phra Kaeo Dontao Suchadaram was registered with the Fine Arts Department on 8th March 1935.

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    The Burmese workmanship at Wat Phra Kaeo Dontao Suchadaram is as good as you get.

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    take your time & go for wander around Wat Phra Kaeo Dontao Suchadaram the next time you are in Lampang.
    There's some interesting history & a lot of beauty there.
  3. Welcome to my home province. Gave up on Chiang Mai a while ago. When you are here, and want the best pizza in Thailand, pay a visit to Long Jim. Long Jim New York Pizza | Facebook
    I'm not kidding - this is the real deal. In addition to having the best pizza in the Kingdom, they also have ice cold Beer Lao on offer.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. These shots were taken in the Kong Ta district. Kong Ta was the original trading zone near the Wang river before the railroad. Today it is an historic area with many interesting buildings.

    On Saturday and Sunday evenings they close off Talad Gow road, and have a really fun walking street. Across the street from the Moung Ngwe Zin Building, I believe this is the Boriboon Building.

    When attending, we usually start of with dinner at Long Jim Pizza. As I mentioned earlier, this is first rate New York style pizza. They are usually packed on Saturdays, so expect to wait if you don't have a reservation.

    This is the Moung Ngwe Zin Building. Originally a residence and office of Burmese teak trading company. It is said to be the most beautiful ginger bread building in Thailand. It is open to the public. A nice spot for coffee, and to take in the many fascinating historical photos on display.


    After dinner, this eye team (ice cream) vendor is worth a visit.



    Radsada Bridge

    Will be post more of Lampang's many interesting sites as time permits.
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  5. Thanks Wimpy
    That old Moung Ngwe Zin Building/ Burmah Teak Trading building really is a classic beauty.
    You guys in Lampang are lucky with some those outstanding old buildings; & I wonder how they stack up against some of the beauties in Phrae?

    The Free Thai / Seri Thai Museum Phrae.

    The history of Lampang really is interesting when you start to look into it & research a bit. The town has a lot of "little known" gems. Bring it on if you've got some more.

    That pizza certainly looks alright & I may have to come down for one, plus a Beer Lao too I see.

    Thanks & cheers. Maybe see you soon.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  6. Thank you for the history and photos Gents. All very interesting stuff.

    I would question the pizza though..... Mike's wife Khun Sao at the Mekong Pizza in Sop Ruak make the best I have ever eaten in the kingdom..... hahaha..
    • Like Like x 1
  7. #7 DavidFL, Sep 1, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
    Wat Pong Sanuk
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    is another of those fabulous Burmese style temples in Lampang
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    Built during the reign of King Anantayot in 680 CE, the same period that Lampang was settled; Wat Pong Sanuk was also the place where the city first sacred pillar was laid. The name of the temple according to legend comes from the Pong Sanuk community that migrated to live in this area. Literally, Pong Sanuk in Thai means “the clan of fun”.
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    Similar to Wat Phratat Lampang Luang, Wat Pong Sanuk is surrounded with a white wall built on a man-made mound of earth.
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    In ancient times, the temple had many monks and novices studying inside. To be able to oversee the whole large area, the temple was divided into two sections; Pong Sanuk Nua (North) and Pong Sanuk Tai (South). This is a rare practice to have two temples under the same Sema, (sacred stone designates the area). You will also notice that one section of the temple is built on a mound. This mound, or locally known as ‘Mondoi” symbolizes Mount Meru, home of the gods and Holy Land according to Buddhist cosmology.
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    The temple shows an outstanding combination of Lanna, Burmese and Chinese Styles.
    One of the most prominent features of the temple is the multi-layered roof and cruciform-shaped pavilion of Viharn Phra Chao Phan Ong.
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    Internally the viharn is decorated with 1,080 Buddhist Tablets. You will also get to see plenty of Buddhist art and fine designs throughout the entire compound. The open Lanna-Burmese style viharn is one of the few teak wood temples left in Thailand. The UNESCO award was given for the restoration of this most important building, making use of community collective efforts to use traditional styles of decoration to restore the many parts of the temple which had fallen into disrepair previously.

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    Source of info:
    Wat Pong Sanuk
    • Like Like x 1
  8. The open viharn looks beautiful. "the only teak wood temple left in Thailand."..?
    Wat Nantaram in Chiang Kham? The temple on the hill in MHS? There is a beautiful teak temple on highway 1 somewhere north of Nakhon Sawan, can't remember where.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Indeed well spotted. In my haste to post I didn't carefully read the info. I have since edited the info to read "one of the few" teak wood temples left
    My source was: Wat Pong Sanuk

    but I wonder if the important bit maybe "open Lanna-Burmese style" viharn. Whatever ...I can go with the flow, not being an expert.

    Thanks for the comments though - much appreciated. I know at least you are reading my reports carefully.
  10. For those wanting to try the best pizza in the kingdom, this map pinpoints it nicely.
  11. Today I rode what I will call the Chae Hom Loop.

    From highway 11 at Hang Chat I cut over to the old route 1039 and went South. Left on 1157. Once you get up the road a bit, traffic thins out and the scenery gets quite nice. At the police box I took a right on 4012. This is a super twisty roller coaster that takes you over the mountain and drops fast into the next valley. A left on 1035 towards Chae Hom.

    At N 18 43.025' , E 99 33.652 is the Aeo Im restaurant where I stopped for fried noodles and ice tea.



    Just North and off to the left is Wat Chalermprakiat. This is worth a visit. Without a doubt, one of the most stunning temples I have ever visited in Thailand. You will have to park at the base, and ride up in one of the 4wd taxis. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.







    An amazing spot for a few minutes of contemplation.

    The Abbot has a room with a serious view.

    Onwards North a few kilos, and a right on an unnamed road that puts you onto the 1035 heading South. Then a left onto the 1335 heading towards highway 1. The 1335 starts out kinda boring, with long straight sections, but it gets better and better as you go. Plenty of fast and slow turns, stunning views, and excellent pavement. It ends with some LONG straights where you can get on it, if so inclined.

    The awesome 1335.

    A right on highway 1 takes you to Lampang city.
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