Everything you always wanted to know about Nan

Nan is a small provincial town in the eastern side of Northern Thailand, in the area bordering Laos.  It is the capital city of Nan province. One of the last frontier borders of Thailand.

It is a small town, with a historic centre full of beautiful temples. I love Nan because it (still) so easy going, it is a perfect place to take your bicycle and explore the town. It is like Chiang Mai must have been 20 or 30 years ago. And Nan is also the prefect place to use as base to travel to Laos via the international border crossing at Huay Kon. There will even be/is a bus to Luang Prabang.

How to get to/from Nan?
  • Bus :You can take the bus to/from all major cities in Thailand Location of bus station in Nan The most northern destination of a public bus service within Nan province is Thung Chang and there are busses going to/from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. See also Bus Station Nan
  • Air : Fly to/from Chiang Mai or Bangkok with Nok Air , AirAsia or Kan AirlinesLocation of Airport Nakhon Nan
  • Car : The roads to/from Nan are very good and are a great way of travelling by car or motorbike. Easy driving or riding from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Phitsanulok.
  • Train : There is no train station in or near Nan (nearest is Den Chai)
  • Boat : Although Nan is along the Nan River, there is no boat connections
The bus-station 

How to get around in Nan town?
  • There are no Tuk-Tuk's or Skylab's and very limited Motorbike-taxi's at the bus-station.
  • You can use a Bicycle Samlor for short distance.
  • Or you can use Songtheauw's for fixed routes.
  • But just walking is perfect, as Nan city is not big.
  • Of course you can rent a bicycle or motorcycle.

How to get around in Nan province?
  • Well there is the famous "orange bus" going from the bus-station in Nan town to a small village a bit north of Thung Chang.
  • And there are Songtheauw's going from Nan town to small village nearby Nan town.
  • And as there are busses going from/to Nan town from Phrae, Phayao or Chiang Rai you can use this busses to go around within Nan province.

Hotels, Guesthouses and Resorts in Nan
There are many hotels & guesthouses in Nan. My favourite just outside Nan town is Nan Seasons Boutique Resort. My 2 favourite in Nan town are Pukha Nan Fa Hotel and Nan Lanna Hotel. Upcountry my 2 favourite hotels are Bo Klua View Resort and Siam Garden Bungalow. But there are many other hotels, so read my hotel reviews at Reviews of Hotels & Resorts in Nan town or Reviews of Hotels & Resorts in Nan province. Or book your hotel in Nan at Agoda Hotels in Nan

Where to eat?
Although there are many restaurants, it might look for a outsider difficult to find a restaurant in daytime. Most restaurants open in daytime are actually what I call "noodle shops". But along the Nan River in town are some good restaurants. So read my Reviews of Restaurants & Coffee Shops in Nan town or read my Reviews of Restaurants & Coffee Shops in Nan province. And for more restaurants have a look at Lonely Planet Nan Restaurants

What to do?
  • Most important ... enjoy the slow life of Nan with rich historical cultuur and friendly people
  • Exploring the historic centre of Nan city by bicycle. Most hotels & guesthouses have bicycles and there is a route set out for you to see all the historic temples and buildings in Nan.
  • Exploring the countryside of Nan, with in the North the ancient salt pits of Bo Klua and Phu Fa National Park. 
  • Go wild water rafting at Mae Charim National Park.
  • Visit Nan National Museum (but it is currently still under renovation).
  • Go hiking in the mountains of Manipruek (near Thung Chang).
  • Rent a motorbike and explore Nan province
  • Go GeoCaching and find caches in Nan
Temple in Nan town
The most famous temples in Nan town are the Wat Phumin and Wat Phra That Chae Haeng but there are many temples even the smallest temple of Thailand
  • Wat Phra That Chae Haeng (just outside the city)
  • Wat Phumin
  • Wat Phra That Chang Kham
  • Wat Ming Muang
  • Wat Hua Kuang
  • Wat Suan Tan
  • Wat Phra That Kao Noi (just outside the city on a hill/mountain)
  • Wat Paya Wat (just outside the city)
  • Wat Noy (smallest temple of Thailand)
Temples out of the Nan town
  • Wat Nong Bua (near Tha Wang Pha)
  • Wat Phuket (in Pua)
National Parks in Nan province
  • Khun Sathan 
  • Doi Phu Kha
  • Khun Nan
  • Nanthaburi
  • Mae Charim
  • Si Nan
  • Tham Sakoen
  • The boat races of Nan, this festival is in November (since 1936!), but before that there are already training and pre-finals boat races (starting in September).
Where to go after Nan?
  • You could go south to Phrae and from there more south to Sukhothai. Or from Phrae to Den Chai and then to Chiang Mai (by train).
  • You could go west to Phrayao and from there more north to Chiang Rai. Or from Phayao more west to Chiang Mai.
  • You could go south-east and take the road less travelled to Loei province.
  • You could go north-west and take the road thru the mountains along the Thai-Lao border to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle.
  • You could go north-east and cross the border to Laos to go to Luang Prabang.
Shopping in Nan town
  • Big-C, along route 1091 to Phayao. With banks (Siam Commercial, Kasikorn, Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank), food court (good!), KFC, Pizza Hut (or Company?), Watson drugstore and some cloths shops (Levis and MC).
  • Tesco-Lotus, along route 101 just before Nan city. Also with banks, food court, KFC and other small shops.
  • Makro, along route 101 just before Nan city
  • Nara Hyper (old shopping mall) at Thanon Sumon Thewarat
  • Thanon Sumon Thewarat is the main street in Nan town and there are many banks, hotels and shops along this road. Also few shops selling traditional hill-tribe cloths and other OTOP products (like the Jangtrakul Shop).
Is there more information?
Another good source of information about Nan is at the web-site of Nan Guesthouse Or get information from Asia Travel. And of course read everything about The Little Elephant Traveling in Nan province.

Gasoline stations in Nan town
  • Right in town are an PTT station and a Shell station
  • When entering Nan town via the 101 from the south there are a few 2 PTT stations and 1 Shell station
  • When leaving Nan town via the 1091 there is an BangChak station
Gasoline stations in Nan province
  • In Tha Wang Pha is an PTT station
  • In Pua is a PTT station and a Shell station
  • In Wang Noi is a PTT station and a Shell station
  • In Na Noi is a PTT station and a BangChak station
  • In Thung Chang is a BangChak station