Lampang is the capital of its name-shared province in northern Thailand. It borders several provinces including Chiang Mai province and is the second to third largest city in the North; right next to Chiang Rai. Lampang is located about 60 km south of Chiang Mai and is home to the Thailand Elephant Conservation Center. This ultimate guide to Lampang, will detail everything you need to know; from getting there to nightlife.
From Chiang Mai
Because of its size and relativity to Chiang Mai, there is an abundance of transportation options, including the train, buses, and taxis. You can also rent a car and drive between the cities. Just remember Thailand drives on the left side of the road.
In my honest opinion, DO NOT driving a scooter, unless you are well equipped. Motor-scooters don’t have the strongest power and the road between Chiang Mai and Lampang is extremely busy. There are places in the drive where vehicles don’t necessarily share the road and will come over to the shoulder. There is also been quite a bit of construction between these two cities.
Trains and Buses
Trains run along the same time table as the Chiang Mai-Bangkok route. Lampang is one of the primary stops along the way train system. You cannot use the online system to pre-book, but easy to do so at the train station the day of if traveling from Chiang Mai to Lampang.
There are several options for different bus companies, Greenbus being the largest with six available buses driving this route a day. However, because of the popularity of the Chiang Mai to Lampang route, pre-booking tickets are limited. You can use the Greenbus app, if it’s working, but it’s not something to rely on.
In addition to the day or overnight buses/trains option, another option would be to fly. This is going to be the fast option, but not necessarily the cheapest. A day/night bus would be the cheapest, costing around 500-600 baht (maybe 800 baht). The train can cost upwards to 1500 baht, give or take.
Flights are offered throughout the day from both airports.
Bangkok Airways flies out of Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), with flights departing at 8:15 am, 12:35 pm, and 4:55 pm.
Nok Air flies out of Don Mueang Airport (DMK) with flights departing 7:20am, 11:05am, 12:55 pm, and 5:30 pm. Flight prices can cost a low as 1500 baht to 3000+ baht for one way flights.
Although I lived in Lampang as a resident, not as a tourist, I have seen a decent amount of accommodations. I didn’t want to create this guide to Lampang without providing accommodation recommendations. Now, I can’t recommend one personally, but after a year and a half, I have heard, seen, and read reviews on the following locations.
For the Budget Backpacker:
- YaYa Hostel- slightly more centralized then a few of the other hostels in town, dorms start at roughly 300 baht per night
- Memmoth Hostel in Lampang- this is quite far from the city center, located near the train station, but is one of the best hostels in Lampang. Offering both dorms, start at roughly 350 baht per night, and private room for around 450 baht
For the Mid-Level Traveler
- City 2 Lampang
- A great location, less than 6 minutes to Kad Kong Ta Walking Street Market; clean and decent size rooms; great location if traveling as a couple or with friends. Offer a variety of bed sizes and styles (queen vs. 3 x twin beds)
- Villa Rassada Nakorn Lampang
- This hotel is very centrally located, about 8 minute walk to Kad Kong Ta Walking Street Market, and offer decently sized rooms. It also allows for walking to several of the “must sees” in Lampang. Prices start around 1,500 baht for a room with a king bed.
- Lampang Residence
- Although located a little further from Kad Kong Ta Walking Street Market, this hotel offers buffet or American style breakfast. Rooms have balconies and private bathrooms. Prices start at roughly 1,700 for a room.
For the Luxurious Traveler, Honeymooners, Couples
- Baan Suchada Lampang Resort
- This resort is ideal for the more luxurious travelers, honeymooners or couples. It is a 14+ year old resort, meaning, no kids. It offers a large outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, views of rice fields and the country side, and free bikes to explore. This resort is on the more expensive start at 3,500 baht for a king bed.
In Town Transportation
The most common method of transportation is going to be songthaews. These shared taxis are adapted pick up trucks with seats in the truck bed. They are a primary mode of transportation around Thailand including Lampang. The cost can range from 20 baht to 120 baht depending on where you are going. They can sometimes have a “farang charge,” which basically means they are over charging you. They aren’t the most reliable so if your on a tight schedule, rent a scooter.
Although, it is possible to walk around the main city center, many attractions are located on the outskirts of the main city center, Mueang Lampang or Nahkon Lampang. It is why I recommend renting a bicycle or motor-scooter during your visit. It will open up so much more opportunities to explore the city and everything it has to offer.
There are several places around the city where it’s possible to rent one, but they aren’t always the easiest to locate.
What to See and Do in Lampang
One thing I commonly find myself saying is: “There’s a lot to do in Lampang, but nothing to do in Lampang.” It’s definitely a slower pace of life than in Chiang Mai, but if you know where to go and what to do, you will find that Lampang has a lot to offer.
The most famous night market of Lampang, Kad Kong Ta, occurs every Saturday and Sunday night. This market takes place along the road the runs parallel to the river between the famous White bridge and Orange Bridge. It begins around 5pm and stays open until close to 10 pm. This night market does occur ran or shine however isn’t as busy when it’s raining.
In addition to the weekend markets, Lampang hosts a huge Thursday night market, located in a large field off a main road near the clock tower. There is also “Cultural Street”, a smaller, less populated night market on Friday nights in the old city.
Once one of the largest cities in the Lanna Kingdom, the Burmese culture can still be seen throughout Lampang. One major aspect are the 9 Lanna-Burmese style temples; the largest being Wat Phra That Lampang Luang.
Located in a neighboring village of Ko Kha approximately 16 kilometers away, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is a very spiritual and meaningful place for locals. It is one of the most visited temples in Lampang. Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is a 13th-century Lanna-Thai Lü style temple. Think about that. It makes it over 2,500 years old.
It is free to enter and the grounds are quite large. You could spend a couple hours wandering the grounds enjoying the beautiful wooden temple called Wihan Luan, which dates back to 1476. It is thought to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest wooden structure in Thailand.
This particular structure, which translates to sanctuary, had a tripe tiered wooden roof with huge teak pillars with murals of Buddha’s previous lives painted on the wooden panels.
Other temples within the city include:
- Wat Kaew Don Tao Suchadaram (most important temple in Lampang, supposedly built by first ruler)
- Wat Pong Sanuk Nua (Lanna-Burmese Shan; UNESCO Award for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage)
- Wat Si Rong Mueang (20th century Burmese style, made from Teak)
- Wat Pratu Pong (old temple with teak guardian angles)
- Wat Srichum (one of the oldest temples in Lampang, Burmese style)
- Wat Pa Fang (Lanna-Burmese Shan)
- Wat Chai Mongkol (across from Pa Fang, known for the Kuti, a white cement building with Burmese-style wooden roof typically the monk’s living quarters)
- Wat Chedi Sao Lang (the temple of twenty chedis / stupas)
- Wat Mon Phaya Chae (temple on a mountain, many stairs in various sizes are involved)
Lampang is famously known as “The Ceramic City”. In fact, there is a HUGE sign on the left side of the road, if coming from Chiang Mai that reads “CERAMIC CITY”. Most of the ceramics you might see around Thailand come from Lampang and the surrounding villages. If there is a rooster on the bowl, or cup, or plate, it’s likely from Lampang. After all, the rooster is the symbol of the city.
There are several locations throughout the city where you can go to see, buy and learn about ceramics. One of my personal favorite locations is the cermaic market (pictured) located right in the heart of the city. It covers a small block with several little shops, containing mostly the same items, but occasionally you can find something unique. From wind chimes and piggy banks, to coffee cups and plates, there is surely something for everyone.
Other options include the Indra outlets provide a great place ti go for purchasing ceramics and at times, you can “make your own cermaic item,” which I think is just painting. But, it’s another fun thing to try out in Lampang.
You can also check out the Dhanabadee Ceramic Museum if you’re interested learning more about in the history of ceramics.
In northern Thailand, Lampang in particular, the coffee culture is strong. Many of the surrounding villages and mountains in Lampang grow a variety of coffee beans, arabica being the most prominent.
Because of this, Lampang’s number of coffee cafes have skyrocketed, with new cafes opening each week. I honestly couldn’t even keep track of them, even when I lived there. I created a google map of all the coffee shops I could find, including many that I visited. It was how my friends and I would typically spend our Sundays.
A few of my personal favorite coffee shops include Go Cafe (offers soy milk), Dapbliw (outside sitting area overlooking rice fields, 3km out of town), Jojo’s Art Cafe (outdoors, but great working space), and Flat White (flat white coffee is available and cold brew). Coffee prices will vary. Some can be a little as 30 baht, while others can be upwards to 100+baht.
Below, you will find the google search of “Lampang Coffee”, however if you’re looking for a more detailed list Click Here for my personal google map.
Not a Coffee Drinker?
Try a delicious Thai Tea (cha thai) or Matcha Latte. Try a Rose Tea or Green Tea (Cha Kiew) or a Lemon Green Tea (cha kiew manow). You could also try a vanilla milk, pink milk or green milk. There are many options for non-coffee drinkers at every cafe.
Tips for Ordering using Thai
- Thai’s LOVE sugar. You can find it in EVERYTHING. If you’re like me and don’t like to sugary of drinks, order your coffee or beverage “MAI WAN“. This in Thai translates to “no sweetness”.
- If you want a plain black coffee or americano, you can also say “MAI SAI“, which translates to “with nothing”.
- RON – hot ; YEN – iced ; FRAPPE – frappe; Remember the adjectives come after the noun, so you say the drink first then the temperature. My drink of choice “Latte Yen Mai Wan” (Iced Latte, no sugar)
Several places around town are beginning to offer a small discount (2-5 baht) for using reusable tumblers/coffee cup. This is HUGE for this city, as plastic is a major problem.
Baan Sao Nak:
Baan Sao Nam is a traditional Lanna-Burmese style home, turned museum. In 1895, a wealthy Burmese man, Mhonh Chang Ong, built this home from teak wood. There are about 116 pillars supporting this home, which is one of the main components. It’s about 50 baht to enter and only takes about 30 minutes-1 hour to explore the traditional home.
This is one of the things Lampang is most famous for. As a traditional method of transportation dating back a century ago, Lampang has keep it alive and strong. The sounds of hooves clacking the streets is a common sound heard throughout the city. There are several places you can go to find a carriage, the most popular being near the Museum Lampang or the clock tower; a symbol of the city.
This famous bridge connects the outer city with the inner city of Lampang.. It’s a popular landmark that can be enjoyed both during the day and the night. This once wooden bridge was built for King Chulalongkorn and is a local landmark in town.
My recommendation would be to visit this bridge during dusk and walk under the bridge. Here, standing along the river, you will get to see the 1000s of night birds come alive. Continue walking along the water front to see some beautiful street art.
This free mecum is a great place to begin your Lampang adventure. It tells the story and history of Lampang and offers English translations.
Get Outside the City
- This is a MUST see temple if you’re up for an adventure. It’s known as the Floating Pagoda Temple. It’s located 66 km north of Mueang Lampang. It is doable on a motor scooter, but it’s best to go by songthaew. You can also combine this temple with Chae Son National Park and hot springs in one day! Makes for a great day trip!
Wat Phrathat San Don and the Bamboo Bridge
- This temple and bridge are located along the main freeway between Lampang and Phrae. It’s about 23km but there are several back roads / smaller roads that can get you there. I’m not a huge fan of the freeways, due to the speed of the cars. The backroads offer a most peaceful and enjoyable drive.
Wat Doi Prachan Mae Tha
- This temple is located south of Mueang Lampang about 24 km. It’s a great location for sunrise and easy to get to by motor-scooter or songthaew. It’s a beautiful drive through small villages along the way to this Temple in the Sky.
Chae Son National Park and Hot Springs
- Located about 75km north of the city, this is a common day trip for travelers and locals alike. Chae son is famously known for egg boiling, as the hot springs are ridiculously hot. They are not hot springs for wading in at all. I think the average temperature is something like 180+ degrees. There is also a waterfall, that can be reached by a small hike.
Khun Tan Train Tunnel
- This is the longest train tunnel in Thailand measuring at 1352 meters long, which is roughly 1 mile. It is located about 50-60 km north of Lampang, just pass the Khun Tan National Park. It costs 9 baht by train one way and only takes about 30 minutes. If you decided to drive by motor-scooter, be aware that it is extremely hilly. It will take about 90 minutes to drive and I don’t recommend 2 passengers per bike. I’ve had friends who ended up needing to walk up the hills because the bike didn’t have the power.
Mae Moh Mine and Powerplant
- Although not a huge tourist attraction, the Mae Moh Mine is the largest lignite coal mine in Thailand. It has been the sole coal resource for the power plant since 1978. The power plant can feed about 50% of the power source to northern Thailand.
- However, in October 2019, a statement was released by EGAT to begin process to decommission the power plant. There are already several areas of the mine that are used for other activities such as the Mae Moh Festival. The mine can be seen on a clear day for miles. It’s a beautiful property.
Thai Elephant Conversation Center
- This is not an ethical park to western standards, but its a place that the locals truly care about. Please do extra research and decide for yourself. I mention it because it is a place the local take pride in as the King’s White Elephants are housed there and it’s the only government ran conversation center.
In April of each year, much like the entirety of Thailand, Lampang throws a HUGE Songkran Festival. With entire roads shut down for the water fight and events occurring each night at the large mall, Central Plaza, you can party from dusk to dawn very easily.
In the month of November, Thailand celebrates Loi Krathong Festival. Lampang has a huge Loi Krathong festival along one of the main streets near the Clock Tower that lasts several days. On the true full moon, you can release a krathong into the river and watch the fireworks.
Also in November, there is the Mae Moh Festival. This festival’s main component are thousands of wild Mexican sunflowers that bloom each year along the hillsides.
In the Month of December, the local Sports/PE Institution is home to the Winter Festival. With events occurring each night, countless food stands, rides and games, it’s truly fun for the whole family.
Also in December, Lampang hosts a large Christmas/New Year market right near the clock tower. There are children carnival games, food, and shopping, plus several places for photo opportunities.
Eating in Lampang
This is a hard topic to touch on because Lampang has a wide range of places. You can enjoy a variety of local cuisine street carts, fancy restaurants, and several options for western food.
Khao Soi is one of the most popular northern Thai dishes. There are several located throughout the city, where you can enjoy khao soi. The most favorite khao soi place is called “Khao Soi Islam.” There are two locations, with one being easy to find. However, my personal favorite is a restaurant located near Bunyawat Witthayalai School. This is a common argument among the locals.
There are several places for pad thai, but my personal favorite is an amazing family’s street cart. They are located next to a Kodak shop just outside of Bunyawat. It open at around 5pm and close around 10pm. They are the best for street cart pad thai in the city, in my personal opinion. If you fancy a more restaurant style pad Thai, head to Burklerk Restaurant at the train station market. This is one of my go to spots (the Burklerk gym is my second home; this is their restaurant).
This is a very popular type of food option in Lampang. Malah is basically skewers with different foods on them. You can get anything from squid and fish, to pork and chicken, to livers and hearts, to corn, mushrooms and okra. The options are endless.
At these malah restaurants, there are bins with the foods and you grab what you want. Then you had it too the people grilling, tell them your spicy level, and go sit down. It’s one of my favorite options for a group or dinner before a night out.
Place for Variety
If you are look for a place with options, then head to Aroy 1 Baht. It’s a reasonably priced sit-down restaurant with easy 10 pages worth of Thai food. They have seafood options, meat options and vegetarian options. It’s a popular place for tourists and locals alike.
Vegetarian / Vegan Options
If you are a vegetarian, there are a few places around town (that I know of). One place is called Waengbun Lampang Cafe and Restaurant. They offer anything from holy basil stir fried mushrooms to Tom Kha soup (coconut soup). Plus, it has a beautiful outdoor sitting area. Another place is Guan Yim Vegetarian Store. They also have a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options.
Located near Bunyawat Witthayalai School, is an early morning market. Opening at around 5am, there are many places to buy breakfast, or take-away lunches. However, majority of this market is for locals to purchase produce, meat, and rice for home cooking. It is a very traditional and local market, if you like experiencing true Thailand.
There are five main food markets opened during the day and night. Assawin Market, located near the clock tower, is an early morning market that offers take away food and produce and an evening market that offers more than just food. It’s one of the larger markets in Lampang.
The train station market is a predominantly nighttime market with one or two places open for lunch. Here you can get anything from Japanese Yakisoba noodles, to the traditional Som Tom salad and Pad Prik Pao (veggie stir fry).
The Phra Bat Market is a morning food market offering locally cooked fish, rice, fresh fruits and vegetables, and more. It is located on the northern side of Ratsadapisek Bridge until approximately 6pm. There are a few places that stay open past 6, but the majority of the market closes in the early afternoon.
The Fresh Food market is a 24-hour indoor / outdoor market and located near the Museum Lampang. During the day, there are multiple food stalls open for breakfast and lunch and smaller stores with various food products. At night, the food court opens outside and merchants from all over come to see their fresh produce and products. You can get anything here; from frogs and turtles, to papaya and pomegranate. You can find fresh fish and dried fish, roti and bakery goods, roasted chicken, eggs, cooked and fresh produce, and so much more. At late night (8pm-early morning), the market becomes a bulk-buying market. This is where majority of restaurants purchase their food.
One thing I’ve been super fortunate for during my time living in Lampang, has been the vast amount of western style food. It really does help keep the homesickness at bay. It’s one of my favorite parts to this city, regarding food that is.
The BEST pizza places in all of Thailand, in my opinion, is located here in Lampang; Long Jim’s Pizza.
Long Jim’s Pizza offers a variety of salads, pasta, calzones, and stone-oven pizza along with an assortment of drinks. Prices are more on the expensive size, but totally worth it if you need a pizza fix.
The owners of Long Jim’s Pizza recently opened a new breakfast cafe located right near the clock tower. It’s called Blue Bird Cafe. They specialize in more western style breakfast and some Tex-Mex options like breakfast burritos and nachos. It’s one of my favorite breakfast joints if I need my tex-mex fix.
The Hangout Cafe is another option for western style food. The owner, Nick, is from England so they do offer a few British breakfast options, if you need some beans and toast. They also offer things like chicken sandwiches, fajita wrap, and salads, plus the traditional Thai cuisine.
If you are in need of a fried chicken sandwich or a hamburger, then head to Dreamer Cafe. They have the best fried chicken sandwich in all of Lampang. It’s reasonably priced and they have a wide range of beverages as well, including smoothies.
There is also a place for Italian (Mr. Lasagna), Indian (North Star Curry), and steak (Pappa’s). There is also Tulip Cafe which offers a wide range of western food, including things like ribs, steaks, and pies.
Night Life in Lampang
I’ve heard it so many times that Lampang is just a sleepy town. Well, let me tell you, that’s not true…if you know where to go. Is it as crazy as a night in Chiang Mai at Zoe in Yellow? Absolutely not, but not many places are.
Chilled and Relaxed Style
These are great places to come to sit, eat, and drink, with occasional live music. Majority of these places also serve food. Cool Up Cafe would be my vote for top Mixed Drinks”
Wild, Loud, and Crazy Style
If you’re looking for something a little more wild and crazy; a place to just let go. Have no fear, Lampang has a few places you might be interested in.
This large bar is great for both small and large groups. Table service is offered and usually they have some specials going on, whether beers or large mixed buckets. There is a large screen, typically placing football and from 10-11:30pm, they have a live band.
This place gets busy early in the night. Thailand bars (most) close around midnight. This is one of those places. There is a live band every night they are open and if you sit to the front, it does get extremely loud. The prices are good and the atmosphere is really fun!
Popularly known for their crazy pool parties, this place can get crazy. They offer table service, live music and decent drink prices.
This would be my recommendation for those crazed football fans. Black Bar plays a lot of the Preimer league games well into the night. They will sometimes have special concerts that will require entry fee.
This is the bar you go to for late night fun! It starts to get busy around 10pm and stays open until 2-3am. It can get busy and if you want a table for the whiskey and beers then I would recommend going slightly earlier. The live music is from their house band and is always good; playing popular Thai pop songs with DJ mixes in between sets. This bar will cause a hangover.
This late night bar is a blast. It has live music and dancers up on a huge stage with lots of tables, standing room only. This is similar to Loft Bar, as it’s a late night bar open until 3am (maybe even past that).
Side Note to Reader:
Lampang, Thailand has been my home for 16 months. I’ve seen quite a lot of the town during my time, but not nearly enough. There are so many hidden gems within this town, so don’t be afraid to go out and explore. I tried spending majority of my free time exploring different areas. From drinking coffee and eating to going out and partying, you name it. But in the end, it was just impossible to go everywhere and try everything. Lampang is a larger city than you might think, with several neighborhoods and villages connected by one small road. I have absolutely LOVED my time living in this town, and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I hope this guide to Lampang helps you fall in love with this city and province as much as I have fallen in love with it over the past 16 months.
Also, There are several universities here as well, which both offer their own little towns within a town. I never explored much around the universities regarding food and nightlife as I am out of the college life and didn’t enjoy driving home late at night. But I encourage you to explore those areas and find your own hidden gems.