Thursday, June 20, 2024

12 of the Greatest Issues to do in Phrae, Thailand

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back of a thai woman with dark hair wearing a blue and white flowery patterned long sleeved top hanging something onto a double layered washing line with several indigo dyed clothes on it. things to do in phrae thailand.

Among the greatest issues to do in Phrae, Thailand… a city of indigo clothes, teak wooden homes, and conventional crafts.

Far within the north of Thailand, peaceable Phrae is way too usually neglected by guests.

The small capital of a sparsely populated and sleepy province of the identical title, Phrae feels pretty “off the overwhelmed path”. Particularly compared with north Thailand’s extra well-known cities reminiscent of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Nevertheless it’s time to place Phrae in your Thailand bucket listing! When you love heritage, conventional crafts, nice meals, and laid-back vibes, that is the city for you! Listed below are a number of the prime issues to do throughout your go to…

Disclaimer – my journey to Phrae was supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. As at all times, all phrases and opinions are 100% my very own.

What’s Phrae Identified For?

Simply over a century in the past, Phrae was the rich coronary heart of a booming teak logging trade. Putting teak wooden mansions nonetheless dot the city, however the bustle of commerce is lengthy gone. As a substitute, this can be a quiet little city beloved for its sleepy vibes, fabulous espresso retailers, and conventional crafts.

courtyard of a temple in thailand with a small white building covered in small conical turrets with golden pointed roofs. there is a golden statue of a man holding a staff in front on a red tiled floor and the sun is setting behind the white building with lens flare between the turrets.  things to do in phrae thailand.
Wat Phong Sunan

Probably the most well-known native craft is Mo Hom: northern Thailand’s iconic indigo-dyed textiles.

Spend 5 minutes in Phrae and also you’ll rapidly realise that this pure blue dye is an intrinsic a part of the city’s identification. Indigo-dyed garments and textiles are in each store, on each road. Virtually each native wears it – even the pets!

Procuring, craft-making, temple-hopping, or discovering native historical past… no matter you’re into, there are loads of enjoyable issues to do in Phrae to maintain you busy. Simply make sure to spend a while enjoyable and having fun with the city’s chilled-out tempo of life, too!

Fast Listing: High Issues to do in Phrae (should you’re brief on time)

emily in a long blue dress with flowers walking up the top of an outdoor staircase with white stone steps with a red line down the middle going uphill to a carved stone archway at a temple in thailand
Wat Phra That Cho Hae

When you solely have a day or two within the metropolis – right here’s a fast listing of the can’t-miss sights in Phrae, Thailand. You’ll discover extra data on each within the subsequent part.

  • Take a tram tour of town centre.
  • Uncover the custom of Mo Hom pure indigo dye and take a tie-dye workshop.
  • Don’t miss Wat Phra That Cho Hae temple.
  • Look across the historic Governer’s Palace (Khum Chao Luang).

12 Issues to Do in Phrae, Thailand

1. Take a Tram Tour of the Metropolis Centre

For the proper introduction to Phrae and a fast overview of town’s prime sights, hop aboard one of many Tram Excursions of town centre.

looking out of a second floor window at a grassy lawn surrounded by hedges and trees. there is a paved road running through with a small white electric tram painted bright blue on the lower half.

These cute little open-sided trams are the most effective issues to do in Phrae and an effective way to see the highlights of the city in a single afternoon. They’ll take you previous a lot of the main sights and temples, stopping at some so you may get down and take pictures.

Good to Know: The tram excursions depart from exterior Khum Chao Luang Museum (see part 8). The driving force’s commentary is in Thai, but it surely’s nonetheless a enjoyable method to discover and also you’ll get overview. High tip: drop pins in your Google Maps to remind your self which spots you need to come again to whilst you’re in Phrae.

2. Uncover the Custom of Thai Indigo at Baan Thung Hong Village

looking over the shoulder of a thai girl as she is painting large blue flowers onto a piece of white canvas using indigo dye
Portray with Mo Hom dye

One of many issues Phrae is most well-known for is the artwork of Mo Hom indigo dye. You’ll see folks sporting indigo-dyed garments ALL over northern Thailand. Mo Hom clothes is usually nicknamed “Thai denim” as a result of it’s so prolific!

Mo Hom was delivered to Phrae by migrants from Puen in Laos. The Puen folks have been farmers, and used the hom plant which grows within the close by mountains to create a dye that supplied pure solar safety. This pure dye grew to become considered one of Phrae’s hottest exports, from hand-painted textiles to easy tie-dyed clothes.

Thung Hong, a village on the outskirts of Phrae, is the house of Thai indigo. Right here, you’ll discover a small market and lots of retailers and stalls promoting an enormous number of textiles and garments.

older thai lady with short dark hair wearing a blue and white tie-dyed kaftan top standing in front of several blue and white tie dyed fabrics and scarves hanging up in two layers behind her. Mo hom indigo dye in phrae.
Auntie Ngeam is a mo hom legend!

Ban Pa Ngiam is among the unique workshops, so is among the greatest locations to be taught extra. The store is run by Prapapan Sritrai – aka Auntie Ngiam, a third era craftswoman who discovered find out how to make the dye from her grandmother.

Go to to see artisans at work creating indigo-dyed merchandise – and to buy lovely hand-made merchandise. It’s also possible to take a workshop to make your very personal tie-dyed indigo memento. There’s a spread of nice patterns to select from – some easy, some extra sophisticated – so you may make a shawl, bag, or t-shirt that’s fully distinctive.

3. Take a Tye-Dye Workshop at Baan Matjai Do-it-yourself & Cafe

emily wearing a black dress and holding up a blue tie-dyed canvas bag in a small leafy courtyard with many blue dyed fabrics hanging up behind her.

There’s one other excellent spot to strive Mo Hom indigo dying for your self. Household-run Banmatjai (additionally referred to as Baan Matjai) is a stunning workshop, cafe and boutique retailer simply north of Phrae.

When you love arts and crafts, that is the place to come back! In addition to indigo workshops, in addition they provide pottery portray periods – and have a beautiful espresso store the place you possibly can chill out (whilst you determine simply what number of indigo items you need to purchase!).

three thai women all wearing blue indigo dyed clothes in front of a small wooden shop, all three women are storking a golden retreiver dog, two are sat on the floor with the dog and the other is standing up
Mrs Amonpun Suchanok together with her daughters Chidchanok and Chadanoot

I had an absolute blast on the Banmatjai indigo workshop. The stunning women who run the store will allow you to select and form your design (I like to recommend protecting it easy if it’s your first strive!). Then, you merely dip it into the dye, rinse it off, and dangle it as much as dry.

Head for a espresso whilst you wait – or try the gorgeous boutique in quest of sliiiightly extra skilled indigo items! The workshop prices 150 THB and it’s a extremely enjoyable method to make a novel memento of your time in Phrae.

4. Pay a Go to to Wat Phra That Cho Hae Temple

tall outdoor staircase with white stone steps with a red line down the middle going uphill to a carved stone archway at a temple in thailand with trees on either side of the staircase.  things to do in phrae thailand.

Phrae is residence to one of the necessary Buddhist temples in northern Thailand: Wat Phra That Cho Hae. The large golden chedi (stupa) within the temple advanced is claimed to deal with the hair and left elbow relics of Lord Buddha – so this is a crucial pilgrimage web site for Thai Buddhists and the centre of Buddhism in Phrae.

The 33m-high chedi was constructed between 1336 and 1338 and is roofed in brilliant brass sheets coated with gold inlay. The title “Cho Hae” title refers to a standard satin cloth which was wrapped across the historic pagoda when it was first constructed.

tall golden stupa at a thai temple with a small golden umbrella-like statue in front and a long golden fence around it wrapped in orange fabric. it is a grey day with thick clouds behind the stupa.

When you can, attempt to time your go to with Wat Phra That Cho Hae Pageant, held in the course of the fourth lunar month of the 12 months (often round February or March). Devotees stroll clockwise across the chedi holding lit candles. Exterior, a big truthful is held across the temple with music, meals, and celebrations.

5. See Conventional Bamboo Hat Making at Hommai Baandin

close up of an elderly lady's hands as she ties long pieces of dried grass into a conical shape to make a hat. the lady is wearing a blue tie-dyed t shirt and indigo-dyed trousers.

Uncover extra native crafts at Hommai Baandin in Ban Na Laem, a small village on the outskirts of Phrae. Right here, you possibly can see the artwork of conventional bamboo and palm leaf hat making.

Proprietor Kris based Hommai Baandim when she realised that the heritage of Lanna-style hat-making was nearly misplaced. Throughout the Covid pandemic, Kris got here residence to take care of her mum – and realised that her village was the one place in Thailand that also make this hat.

She shaped a small collective, Kublon Group Enterprise, to protect this – together with different conventional crafts. There’s a small restaurant serving scrumptious native delicacies, hat-making demonstrations, and even a small workshop so you possibly can uncover the craft for your self.

6. Find out about Lanna Historical past on the Komol Vintage Textile Museum

close up of the lower half of a line of mannequins wearing traditional long woven skirts from northern thailand

Located about 45 minutes drive west of Phrae city centre, within the close by Lengthy District, Komol Phaboraan Textile Museum is price a day journey for anybody occupied with studying slightly extra about native historical past and tradition.

Phrae was as soon as a part of the Lanna Kingdom, together with close by Nan province and most of Northern Thailand. Komol Museum options a group of historic materials from the Lanna folks, a few of that are over 200 years previous and fantastically preserved.

Proprietor Komol Phanichpan seen that a few of these materials and kinds have been dying out, so opened the museum to protect them. The gathering has expanded over time and contains a number of attention-grabbing items, together with conventional clothes worn in Thai movies and the sarong worn by Bui Simon – the Thai Miss Universe winner in 1988.

DON’T miss the basement rooms which home essentially the most uncommon exhibit within the museum: a group of Barbie dolls. It began as a group of dolls in hand-made outfits showcasing completely different native costumes. However the distinctive exhibit grew to incorporate Barbies from the enduring Dolls of the World assortment, in addition to quite a few popular culture dolls reminiscent of Marvel and Harry Potter characters!

7. See the Reclining Buddha and Large Tortoise at Wat Phong Sunan

large golden statue of a buddha lying on its side wiht its head on one hand and the other arm lying on its side at a temple in phrae thailand

There are numerous lovely and historic temples to go to in Phrae’s small, peaceable city centre. But when solely have time to go to one, make it Wat Phong Sunan.

This lovely and eclectic temple advanced has a number of intriguing options. There’s a Buddha statue stated to be over 560 years previous, a formidable golden reclining Buddha statue, and an infinite golden turtle statue.

However maybe most eye-catching is the flowery picture corridor, which is roofed with a forest of 108 white spires – every topped with a gold cone. Go to round sundown to see these catching the sunshine fantastically.

8. Step Again in Time on the Phrae Governors Palace (Khum Chao Luang)

Exterior of the Governor's Palace in Phrae Thailand - a large two storey white mansion built from wood with pale green trim and a grey tiled roof. the sun is setting behind a tree next to the house with lens flare coming through the branches. there is a large lawn and hedges in front of the house.

Khum Chao Luang, the previous Governor’s Palace, is a good place to study Phrae’s historical past. This spectacular mansion was in-built 1892 for Chao Luang, the final ancestral ruler of Phrae. He lived there till 1902 when Phrae’s independence got here to an finish and he fled to exile in Luang Prabang.

Like lots of Phrae’s historic mansions, the palace is crafted largely from native teak wooden (see part 9). Phrae’s teak trade was booming on the time, and Chao Luang had change into very rich off the again of the teak commerce – as you possibly can see from the extravagant furnishings and artefacts discovered all through the property.

Interior of a bedroom in the Governor's Palace in Phrae Thailand with pink painted walls and a large pink four poster bed with lace trim. there are paintings on the wall and dark pink curtains around the windows

There’s a darker historical past right here, too. The basement beneath the mansion comprises a small jail with three low-ceilinged cells. Apparently, these have been used to imprison slaves. One of many rooms above has a small trapdoor within the picket ground to permit meals to be handed right down to the prisoners under.

9. Uncover Phrae’s Historic Teak Buildings

upper floor balcony at the Phrae Governor's Palace with green painted wooden pillars and a white painted wooden railing. there are lace curtains in the foreground of the shot and palm tree leaves visible behind the balcony.  things to do in phrae thailand.

A century in the past, Phrae was the centre of a thriving teak logging trade. Commerce with European powers at the beginning of the nineteenth century introduced an enormous increase to the native economic system – and lots of native nobles grew to become very rich from it, constructing extravagant, European-influenced picket mansions.

At the moment, Phrae’s teak buying and selling legacy nonetheless has a robust presence all through the city, which is dotted with historic teak buildings. One of the vital notable is the Governer’s Palace (see above), however there are a lot of extra to look out for as you discover Phrae city centre.

outside of a large two storey mansion built from white painted teak wood with an unpainted wooden staircase leading up to a large wooden porch on the upper floor and a grey tiled roof above
Teak Museum

To be taught extra, head to the Teak Museum. Consisting of three teak buildings which beforehand belonged to the East Asiatic Firm, the museum delves into the historical past of teak logging. There are additionally shows of regionally crafted teak merchandise reminiscent of arts, footage, and crafts work.

Extra teak buildings to look out for:

  • Wat Chom Sawan – see part #10
  • Vongbury Home Museum – see part #11
  • Ban Prathap Chai – accomplished in 1976.
  • Gingerbread Home Gallery – retailers, a restaurant, an artwork gallery, and a B&B in a standard teak wooden home.
  • Baan Thep Museum – a historic mansion transformed right into a museum.
  • Wichai Racha Residence – a good looking, red-hued mansion in-built 1898 by Cantonese artisans. 
exterior of a two storey mansion built from reddish coloured teak wood with a grey tiled triangular roof. the second floor is lined with rows of narrow shuttered windows and there is a verandah around the ground floor of the property.  things to do in phrae thailand.
Wichai Racha Residence

10. Go to the Teak Temple of Wat Chom Sawan

exterior of a large thai temple built from reddish coloured teak wood with a grey tiled roof and two multi-tiered pagodas in front on either side of the front door

One of the vital iconic teak buildings in Phrae is Wat Chom Sawan (or Wat Jom Sawan) a Burmese-style temple constructed largely from teak wooden. Development started in 1894 and was accomplished within the early 1900s, so there’s a number of historical past right here.

Inside are colourfully painted teak wooden ceilings and fantastically carved picket pillars. Look out for the “Luangpho San”: a determine woven from bamboo and coated with gold leaves over black lacquer.

11. Take a look at Vongbury Home Museum

The Wongburi House In phrae Province a large white wooden mansion with wooden shutters and pink details with a large garden in fornt with trees and a pond and a small fountain
Inventory picture as a result of I wasn’t capable of take one myself.

There’s yet another notable teak wooden constructing to go to whilst you’re in Phrae. Khum Vongbury (or Wongburi) Museum is housed in a shocking pink-and-white teak mansion relationship from 1907.

I solely visited the surface of the property, which is beautiful in its personal proper, with lengthy verandahs, rows of shuttered home windows, and elaborate wooden carvings.

Inside is a small museum showcasing the heritage of the household who constructed and owned the home, with artefacts from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries together with furnishings, artwork, and silverware.

12. Escape to Phae Mueang Phi Forest Park

small orange sandy canyon with tall columns of sandstone in it and green forest behind at Phae Mueang Phi Forest Park in Phrae Thailand
Inventory picture as I didn’t go myself

Escape into nature with a visit to Phae Mueang Phi Forest Park, positioned about 12km north of Phrae’s centre. The forest park is greatest recognized for its uncommon rock formations, with sandstone columns carved by years of abrasion – some as much as 30m excessive.

Phae Mueang Phi roughly interprets as “Ghost City Grove” – due to the spirits that dwell within the forest. Based on native legend, an aged lady discovered some silver and gold within the forest years in the past. When she tried to take it residence, the forest spirits prompted her to get misplaced till she put the treasure again.

Sadly, I didn’t have time to go to Phae Mueang Phi on my journey – however as considered one of Phrae’s hottest sights, I’d say it’s a must-do. The simplest method to attain the park can be by renting a moped, however you possibly can additionally take a taxi – simply make sure that to pre-book the return journey.

The best way to Get to Phrae in Northern Thailand

close up of a golden buddha statue's head and shoulders with gold temple wall behind

Air: There’s an airport in Phrae, and it used to have home flight connections with Bangkok. Sadly, these flights haven’t but resumed because the pandemic. The closest airport is in close by Nan, about two hours drive from Phrae. There are twice-daily flights from Bangkok to Nan by way of AirAsia.

Prepare: There isn’t any prepare station in Phrae itself, however there may be one at close by Den Chai. That is about half-hour from Phrae centre and there are common transport companies between the 2. Den Chai is on the principle Bangkok – Chiang Mai prepare route so there are common companies.

The prepare from Bangkok to Den Chai takes 8 to 9 hours. Tickets begin from round 250 THB ($7 USD). From Chiang Mai to Den Chai, the journey time is round 4 hours, with tickets from about 150 THB ($4 USD). Click on right here to go looking prepare instances and ticket costs on 12Go-Asia, my most trusted reserving platform.

Bus: Phrae has respectable bus connections with the remainder of Thailand. From Chiang Mai, the journey time is round 4 hours and prices round 150 THB ($4 USD). A bus from Bangkok to Phrae can take something from 7 to 12 hours, with costs various relying on the service.

I at all times suggest utilizing 12Go-Asia to examine instances and costs and to e-book tickets. They even have pictures of the companies so precisely what to anticipate!

Closing Ideas

grey tabby cat lying on a concrete floor wearing a small indigo blue bandana around its neck
Even the cats in Phrae put on indigo!

It might be a comparatively small city in a far-flung northern province, however Phrae has rather a lot to supply guests. The entire province has a wealthy historical past and a good looking tradition to find.

Phrae’s conventional arts and crafts are what set the world aside. The area’s heritage feels very a lot alive, particularly whenever you meet locals like Kris at Hommai Baandim and the women behind Banmatjai, who’re combating to maintain the province’s traditions alive and maintain them present.

Just a few years in the past, the Phrae Craft Honest was launched to showcase and have a good time the distinctive crafts and expert artisans that make this province such a particular place. It’s held yearly over the primary weekend in December – so should you’re in Thailand on the proper time, make sure that to go as much as Phrae for the Craft Honest.

With a lot to see and do in such a small city, you possibly can simply spend a number of days exploring Phrae and the encompassing province. Come for the heritage, the historical past, the teak mansions, and the purchasing… however keep for the city’s splendidly laid-back vibes!

Learn Extra

Issues to do in Nan Province Thailand

What to Eat in Chiang Mai

Every little thing you Must Learn about Nan Province

Are there any extra nice issues to do in Phrae, Thailand that I’ve missed from this listing? Scroll down to depart a remark!

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