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Lampang: Off the Tourist Track

It has been said that Lampang is the last paradise in Thailand.  It is a 2-hour train journey south-east of Chiang Mai and far from the tourist track, so it may keep this title for a little while yet.   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.

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The Wang River

The train trip was interesting, and third class was good.  Ladies travel the trains, selling Thai snacks to travelers, but we didn’t have to buy anything because another passenger shared their mandarins with us.

girl on train
No one minds if you stick your head out of the window.
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Thailand countryside.
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The stations are all pretty and populated with stray dogs.

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.

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A carriage ride is a must in Lampang.
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Carriage City.

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.

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Lampang is quiet on a Sunday.
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People emerge at dusk for the Sunday market.
market cat
This cat stays on the table for hours, accepting donations in the box.

Despite it being decidedly Thai, there is an Italian restaurant, run by an Italian.  Keeping with the international flavours you can also get a Bingsu, a Korean dessert that provides a round 900 calories in each serving.

bingsu
Indulgent Bingsu.

It is a good spot for a relaxing few days, but 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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This Wat is all wood, even the roof.

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