Chiang Mai to Lampang Thailand Day Train Tour
Visit Lampang by train through beautiful mountain countryside, which makes getting there a totally different experience. Once you arrive there are several wonderful temples that we will visit and Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital.
Day 1We will meet you at your hotel at 8:15 AM in Chiang Mai Thailand and transfer to the train station in time for the 8:45 for the 2 and ½ hour ride to Lampang.
Leaving the city behind we ride through lush rice fields with farmers plowing their paddies pulled by their buffalos. The bright morning sun shimmering on the water filled paddies in contrast with the dark green mountains in the background and the stunning orange and gold temples with red roofs is a colorful sight.
We enter the mountains as the train slowes as the weight of cars resisted the incline against the pull of the engine. The rest of the trip is through dense forest, across streams over high trussed bridges with sheer drop offs and through tunnels.
The train makes a few stops on side spurs waiting for the special express and rapid trains to pass on their way to Chiang Mai from Bangkok. As we wait vendors from the nearby villages walked the isles selling Thai sweets and fried rice dishes and fried chicken and barbeque pork.
Coming down the mountain we picked up speed as the tracks straightened out. On the outskirts of Lampang, again there are beautiful rice fields lined with tall palm trees, small temples and farmers working feverously in the paddies. One last bend in the track and we arrive in Lampang. We will be greeted by our driver and visit 3 temples and lunch before The Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital.
In the heart of the city you will discover a different form of architecture. The buildings are old, constructed of brick, stone or wood, and columns from floor to roof are a distinctive feature. Balconies adorn the upper levels and large window and door shutters are a predominant characteristic. In many Thai cities, modern day constructions have replaced the buildings of the past, but in Lampang many forms of Lanna architecture can still be seen in old shops and homes that have been retained and preserved. The river is another place to view authentic and ancient constructions. At intervals, old stone bridges straddle the two banks and some of them have been painted in a most attractive blue and white. With one bank bordering the inner city and the other facing onto mainly residential and rural scenes, a trip on a boat down river is an interesting and worthwhile venture.
Lampang also has more than its fair share temples, but it is the diversity of the architecture that make these old places of worship so interesting. Many temples have strong Burmese overtones as a result of the 300-year occupation of both Chiangmai and Lampang, but there is also a strong Lanna influence as that of well as that of the early Haripoonshai period:
Wat Phra Chetuwan is a classic example of Lanna-Thai style, and wooden carvings along the top of the main wiharn are simplistic yet attractive. In a very good state of repair, this temple is worth a look and is only five minutes walk from the city hall on the regular horse-drawn carriage route.
Wat Chedi Zao Laang is one of Lampang's most famous temples as well as being one of the oldest. Dating from the Haripoonshai period (11th - 13th century) one of the many magnificent features of this temple is a large compound holding no less than 20 sparkling white Chedis. This temple is five kilometers out of the city.
Wat Phra Gaew Don Tao is a classic,old style Burmese temple. The wiharn,which is carved from wood, and a gleaming white chedi with a golden spire are at the center of this temple. A visit gives you a better feel as to just how pronounced the Burmese influence was on the Buddhism of the region.
Wat Phra Thart Lampang Luang once housed the famed Emerald Buddha, which rested there for 30 years. The Emerald Buddha has occupied many temples over its history including the Luang Phrabang Buddhist center in Laos and Wat Chedi Luang in Chiangmai. It is now in Bangkok at Wat Phra Gaew. Wat Sri Choom is another Burmese style temple and the center of attraction here are the many wood-carved lintels on the temple buildings. It is also one of the few temples in Thailand that retains the classic Burmese gilt work on the walls and ceiling of its main wiharn.
We then have lunch at a nice Thai restauramt then travel to Friend of the Asian Elephant Hospital. We will then visit the elephants with your guide and staff then orientation then travel by private air conditioned vehicle to Chiang Mai and your hotel. (L)
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