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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.