How to Get To Nan?
- 9 hours from Bangkok ’s Northern Bus Terminal
(www.transport.co.th - Select English Version + North)
- 5 hours from Chiang Mai
(www.passplanet.com/thailand - Select The North + Chiang Mai, then scroll down)
- 4 hours from Sukhothai ancient city
- 9 hours from Bangkok by overnight sleeper/ day-train to Denchai
(www.railway.co.th - Select English flag + Timetable + Northern Line), then 2 hours by local bus
- 4 hours from Chiang Mai to Denchai, then 2 hours by local bus
We offer free transport into town from the Bus Station or Airport
Where to stay in Nan?
RECOMMENDED GUESTHOUSES RECOMMENDED HOTEL
|4-star / spacious / luxury swimming pool / tennis / tropical gardens – Room rates:
| standard single ABR bath/shower -
|| 800 Baht
| standard twin-share / double ABR bath/shower -
|| 1000 Baht
| deluxe single ABR bath/shower -
| deluxe twin-share / double ABR bath/shower -
You can book your hotel through us at local walk-in prices!
Where to eat out in Nan?
Nan offers a huge variety of delicious inexpensive local eating-out places – here are a few: (2005 prices)
- Special do-it-yourself barbecue, called ‘Moo Gata’, is very popular in Nan. For 59 Baht, help yourself (buffet-style) to raw seafoods, meats, fishballs, vegetables & chili/lime sauces. Then, using chopsticks, cook it on metal barbecue-plate, with trough around for making soup. Try Janjow Moo Gata (on right after market on Anantaworarittidet Road), Anajet Buffet (near Morning Market/Sombat Tour on Kaluang Road), or Oy Moo Gata (near Amazing Guesthouse on Rat Amnuay Road)
- Look for sidewalk cooks, barbecuing in half-oil-drums….. for fish stuffed with lemongrass, marinated chicken, rice/noodle/plain-meat sausages (‘priow’ for sour garlicky variety) & long rolls of ‘Chiangmai sausage’, eaten with sticky rice.
- Hot Pot Restaurant in Nara Department Store. Order delicious Roast Duck (with pickled young ginger & soy sauce dip) as side-dish to main-line sukiyaki soup (see below). Lunch or dinner.
(Directions: on Sumonthewarat Road, on right after Suan Tan Road)
- Various Chinese lunch-shops. For 20-25 Baht, try Pet Yarng (roast duck) & ginger, or Moo Grorb (crispy pork) & tamarind sauce.
(Directions: There is one beside Morning Market, opposite gold-shop, & another on Mahayot Road on left before airport, short walk from Amazing Guesthouse).
- Vegetarian restaurants (1 serving Vietnamese also) on either side of Nan Travel office.
- Guitiow Pin Pin Restaurant. Try Bamee Jiow Pow (Crab Wonton Noodle Soup) 20-25 Baht & many types of Thai Noodle soups for lunch.
(Directions: go North on Khaluang Road from Morning Market, it’s on left)
- Guitiow Mar (‘horse noodles’) lunch-shop. For 15-20 Baht, try Pat Thai (Stir-fried Thai noodles with pork, dried shrimps, tofu & bean-sprouts)
(Directions: turn left off Mahayot Road to airport, it’s on right)
- Giutiow Rua (‘boat noodles’) lunch-shop. ‘Beef’ (buffalo?) noodles soup with morning glory & pork cracklings, served out of a canoe
(Directions: near Nan Guesthouse, opposite Nan Technical College - look for the boat)
CLASSIC THAI / CHINESE
- Ruang Kaow Restaurant for peaceful Nan River outlook. Try Harm Ok Talay (seafood coconut cream soufflé in a coconut) or Tord Man Koong (fried prawn-cakes). English menu. Singers in the evening.
(Directions: Near hospital & short walk from Amazing Guesthouse)
- Rim Bung Restaurant on a fish-lake in the rice-fields. Good for fish (Plar) & seafood & view of lit golden pagoda. For 70 Baht, try Panang Koong (prawn coconut curry in peanut sauce) or Koong Op Winsen (steamed prawns, squid & pork with glass noodles in casserole). Partial English menu.
(Directions: Cross bridge towards Chae Haeng Temple, right before petrol station, then left at Thai sign after 100 metres. Go by motorbike taxi & walk back.)
- Nan Ochar Kowtom for delicious late-night ‘sit-out’ restaurant with draft beer. Try Gy Met Mamuang (chicken stir-fried with cashew nuts & sun-dried chili), Koong Pat Gaeng Pong Karee (mild Indian-style curry with prawns) or Pak Boong Fy Daeng (water-spinach fried in flames with lots of garlic, & chilies according to order – ‘pet’ hot / ‘my pet’ not hot). Eat with bowls of Kow Tom (rice soup) or Kow Jow (steamed rice).
(Directions: on road to Payao on left between bus station & Nan Guesthouse - 10 mins walk).
- Cluster of night sidewalk-restaurants for romantic atmosphere along riverbank promenade, right of bridge. Try Yum Pla Takai (spicy sour salad with river-fish & lemongrass), or Tom Yum Koong (spicy sour soup with prawns & lemongrass).
- Ahhan Tarm Sang (‘Anything you want to order’) - Excellent night sidewalk-tables. For 20-25 Baht, try Hoy / Plamut Tord (flour omelette stir-fried with bean-sprouts & mussels &/or squid). If ordering Pat Grapow Ky Dow (meat or seafood stir-fried with holy basil & chilies, topped with fried egg), say how many chilies you want – Prikinoo sorng met (2 chilies), prikinoo har met (5 chilies!)
(Directions: outside Nan Travel office on Mahayot Road)
- Also you can try out Krua Garndar, restaurant on Suan Tan Road (Turn left off Sumonthewarat Road), & Miw Miw, food-shop opposite Dhevaraj Hotel.
COCONUT CREAM CURRIES
- Lan Naim Sonee food-shop serves great Kow Soy (Chiangmai curried noodles) 15 Baht & Quidiow Rote (like spring rolls) 10 Baht. Go before 12 or after 1 PM!
(Directions: from Nan Travel on Mahayot Road, walk 10 minutes towards airport, on left before 2nd intersection)
- Wan Dar Restaurant has delicious Gaeng Kiow Wan (sweet green coconut curry), as well as best-in-town Som Tam Thai (papaya salad with lime, shrimps & peanuts) - chilies according to order (3 to 5 chilies should be plenty, but Thais think it is lucky to put 11!). Or if you are brave, try Som Tam (‘Papaya Pok-Pok’) with smelly fermented fish & field-crab! But if you prefer a lovely smell, order Kanom Chin Nam Yar (noodles with sweet basil & coconut milk sauce) & Satay Moo (pork barbecue sticks marinated in peanut coconut sauce). Popular with the locals - so go before 12 or after 1 PM.
(Directions: on Ka Luang Road, on right between Morning Market/park & Nan River)
NORTH & N-E (ISSAN) FOOD
- Poo Som Jow Gow Restaurant is like cowboy saloon-bar, with creepers-curtain entry, buffalo skulls & handle-bar-moustache patron. Try Larp Issan (spicy mince meat salad) with Kow Niow (sticky rice) & draft beer.
(Directions: from Morning Market go to end of Ka Luang road & turn right towards the river into Kam Yort Road, it’s on left)
- Larp Pet food-shop. Try Larp Pet (spicy minced duck) & Nam Tok (spicy beef salad with mint)
(Directions: on Mahayot Road, on right between small park & airport turn-off. Short walk from Amazing Guesthouse)
- Sooan Issan. Try Kor Moo Jarng (barbecued pork throat with tamarind sauce dip) with draft beer.
(Directions: near Nan Travel – go towards airport on Mahayot Road, turn 1st right into small lane before intersection)
MARKET & SIDEWALK SNACKS
- Kanom Krok (coconut-cream cup-cakes), Kanom Barbin (coconut-corn-sticky rice cakes), corn-on-the-cob, sweet potato / banana fritters, Salapow (Chinese dumplings), mango / durian sticky rice with coconut cream, steamed coconut rice-puddings in banana-leaf, banana-coconut-blackbean barbecued in banana-leaf, Indian ‘roti’, crispy rice-cakes with sugar-cane topping & abundance of seasonal exotic fruits (tamarind, lynches, jackfruit, ‘golden oranges’, star-apple, pineapple, mangoes, custard-apple, mangosteen, longon, langsart, pomelo, rambutan & many varieties of banana).
- Prickly, yellow, creamy, very strong, very smelly, love-it-or-hate-it……. gorge yourself on Durian in the Hot & Rainy seasons! ‘Morntorng’ is the smoother milder variety. Get the vendor to select a small uncut fruit by tapping – ‘por dee por dee’, ‘my suk kern by’ (just right, not too ripe). By the way, don’t drink alcohol with the King of Fruits (heart-attack!) or take it in a house or on public transport (ultimate anti-social behavior!)
- - Wirachon Pub, on Nan River promenade. Live band daily from 9 PM until early hours (Thai & Western soft-rock / country / songs-for-life). Try Koong Sot Gratiam (raw prawns with raw garlic)
(Directions: from Pumin Temple, straight ahead past prison to river. Look for 100 Pipers lit sign)
- Dhevaraj (‘Tayvarat’) Hotel. All-you-can-eat buffet for 59 Baht, Mon-Fri lunch-time
(Directions: in town centre, opposite evening market)
- The best place to eat this Chinese/Japanese-style ‘do-it-yourself’ soup is Hot Pot Restaurant in Nara Department Store. From menu of color photos, order sets of exotic Chinese & Thai ‘goodies’, such as seafoods, seaweed, sesame pork, fish-balls, tofu soy-bean cakes, several types of sweet mushroom/fungi, morning glory, Chinese celery, glass-noodles etc. You can spice up your soup with tasty chili-lime sauce.
(Directions: on Sumonthewarat Road, on right after Suan Tan Road)
- Tip-top2 Restaurant. Try Seafood Pizza 60/80 Baht & Caesar Salad 40 Baht.
(Directions: from Nan Travel walk 5 minutes on Mahayot Road towards airport, across intersection on left)
JUNGLES IN NAN
- Wild rivers in deep valleys…. Mega-waterfalls…. Giant trees…. Banana forest… Wildlife….. Fantastic adventure….. Swimming in the wild……. The ‘Empty Quarter’ is a spectacular unoccupied jungle, stretching between the Wa River & the Lao border.
- Primeval palms & fern-trees…. Highest mountain (2000m)….. Ocean of mists…. Banana forest…. Hilltribe villages…… Ancient sea-salt mines….. Pu Ka Mountain is perhaps the most special of Nan’s 6 National Parks – great for touring by car & trekking.
RIVERS IN NAN
TRIBES IN NAN
- Over 100 rapids, many world-class…….. Deep remote valleys…….. Beautiful towering jungle-banks…… Sand beaches……. The Wa River is terrific fun for rafters (beginner to expert), kayakers, trekkers, swimmers & Nature lovers.
Mlabri, Hmong, Yao, Htin, Khamu, Tai Yuen, Tai Lü
- Mlabri Hilltribe
Shy jungle hunter-gatherers just out of the Stone Age, who wear only loin-clothes & leave their dead on the tree-top for the birds. Thai call them ‘Spirits of the Yellow Leaf’ because they lived in banana-leaf shelters until the leaves turned yellow (2 weeks) & they vanished into the jungle like spirits when anyone came to make contact. Of the Mlabri who migrated long ago from Laos, only about 200 survive in Nan & recently the government has tried to ‘settle’ some of them in Hmong-style village. Even though they seem most primitive & are like lost sheep when brought in contact with the modern world, Mlabri are light-years ahead of modern science in terms of their astounding knowledge of jungle plants & herbal cures!
- Hmong Hilltribe
Tiny frail-looking people, who migrated long ago from Tibet & Mongolia. Hmong language is similar to Chinese. Hmong traditional embroidered clothes with coins look so striking & ‘classic’ that they are often adapted for popular designer fashions & trendy teenager-wear for local & export markets. The Hmong celebrate a colorful Harvest Festival with courting rituals in Nov/Dec, which is great fun to join in, & is joined by an influx of US Hmongs. Hmong are numerous & widespread, with distinctive culture, popular Hmong singers, Hmong movies & Hmong radio stations in Laos & USA.
- Yao Hilltribe
Come from China, have their own unique writing script (Chinese-looking) & celebrate Chinese New Year in Jan/Feb. Yao wear turbans & coats with red ruffs & silver trappings.
- Tai Lü Tribe
From China, live in the Nan River Valley & famous for colorful weaving on wooden looms beneath their wooden stilt-house. Traditionally, Tai Lü & Tai Yuen men covered the lower half of their bodies with tattoos.
- Tribal religion
The Nan tribes, like the indigenous Lanna Thai villagers, are superstitious & worship ancestor spirits & other forest & village ghosts. Typically, they communicate with these spirits in trance-like séances, which may go hand-in-hand with heavy rice-whiskey drinking. Missionaries preach in most Thai hilltribe villages, so there are also a lot of Christian converts nowadays.
CRAFTS IN NAN
- Beautiful Tai Lü ‘flowing water’ weaving……. Fascinating traditional Hmong & Yao embroidery…….. ‘Classic’ Hmong & Yao silver neck-torcs, necklaces, anklets, bracelets……… Charming Htin, Khamu & Hmong woven bamboo huts…….
TEMPLES IN NAN
- Famous ‘Lan Na lifestyle’ murals……… gold Buddha…..….. elegant pagodas…… long snake-like dragons, called ‘Naga’ (believe it or not, a real one of these was caught in the Mekong River by US soldiers!)………. Nan has several fascinating rebuilt temples dating back to Million Elephants Kingdom (Lan Xan), Million Rice-fields Kingdom (Lan Na) & Burmese occupation (14th - 16th Centuries).
Border Crossings & Visas
For more info, check out www.thaivisa.com, OR www.itisnet.com, Select Travel Info + Thailand + Border Crossings.
- Nan Province:
Ban Huay Kon border crossing is open for Thais/ Laotians or arranged tours. By road from this border it is 45 kms to Mekhong River (boats-landing), 150 kms to Luamprabang world heritage city, 300 kms to China.
- Chiangrai Province:
International border crossings (where most nationalities can buy visas on the border) at Chiang Kong for Laos & Maesai for Burma. Buses go there from Nan via Chiangrai, taking 7 or 8 hours.
- Tak Province:
You can also cross to Burma at Maesot.
- Nongkhai (Issan):
Cross to Vientienne in Laos here (see www.mutmee.com).
General Travel Advice