Ladies weekend in Lampang
Marissa, Beverly, and I decided to explore outside of Pua during a long weekend in January. Our bus ticket was ~$12 round trip and the ride was about five hours each way (despite Google Maps telling me out destination was only three hours away). We booked a random hostel when we arrived in Lampang and immediately set out to explore.
My favorite part about visiting Lampang was that it felt like Chiang Mai with its rich culture, great market, and plenty of city luxuries we don't get in Nan; however, there were almost no tourists!
Best of Lampang
1. Wat Prah Jom Klao Rachanusorn: This temple is built on a mountain top about 20km from Lampang city. The journey to the mountain was ridiculous as ever. Marissa's bike broke down, so we got it to a shop, then continued on our way to the temple. Once at the base of the mountain, we paid 200 baht for a truck ride to the starting point of the hike. The road was incredibly steep, so I'm thankful we didn't have to motorbike up it on our dinky scooters. When we got off the trucks, we began a short, steep path to the top. It was more crowded with tourists than I expected, but it was still stunning.
On our way home from the temple, we stopped on the side of the road to buy strawberries from a vendor. We hung out there for a while and before we knew it we were practicing archery with hand-made Thai crossbows. It was the MOST fun.
2. Weekend market: We were pleasantly surprised with Lampang's market. It covered one street for at least one kilometer and spilled into all the side streets along the way. It had tons of great clothes, good street food, and many unique crafts.
3. Long Jim New York Pizza: I've tried a lot of pizza in Thailand. This pizza is the best- no doubt. Maybe I've been away from home too long, but I think it's better than most pizza I've had in America.
Other things to do: Sunrise motorbike ride along the canal
Worst of Lampang
1. Nightlife: I swear I'm not an alcoholic, but I've noticed I'm either raving or complaining about the nightlife in the places I visit. When we first arrived in Lampang, we passed tons of awesome looking bars. Most had a huge beer selection and a great environment. However, when it came time to go out, no one showed up. We went to a few different bars recommended as "fun nightlife" by our hostel and were one of two or three groups at each place. When we asked locals, most said the fun bars were permanently closed. What the heck? We ended up inviting ourselves Liverpool/Manchester viewing party we spotted walking home.
2. Thai Elephant Conservation Center: One of Lampang's main attractions is its elephant sanctuary. It's a government run facility, so we thought it would be ethical to visit (and also cheaper than privately owned centers). Turns out they still allow people to ride elephants and also have regular elephant shows. We decided against visiting and I'm glad we didn't.