7 Best Things to Do in Lamphun - A Day-Trip Backpacking Itinerary from Chiang Mai

7 Best Things to Do in Lamphun

A Day-Trip Backpacking Itinerary from Chiang Mai

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Lamphun is a city located in the northern part of Thailand and it is one of the oldest city in the country that dated all the way back to the 8th Century when the city was established as the capital city of an ancient Mon kingdom of Haripunchai, even before the first Siam kingdom, Sukhothai was established in the 12th Century.

Due to its significant historical value, Lamphun is a great place to make a day-trip from Chiang Mai to see all the beautiful ancient Haripunchai temples and learn more about Hariphunchai, the most northern Mon kingdoms in the area.

Here are the ultimate backpacking guide and 7 best things to do in Lamphun complete with all the information you need to get here from Chiang Mai. Without further ado, let's begin with an itinerary map of Lamphun.

Lamphun Things to Do Itinerary Map

Lamphun Itinerary Map

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When to Visit Lamphun

A gold umbrella and a chedi at Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun, Thailand.

The best time to visit Lamphun is from November to January where the weather is cooler and less humid due to Thai's northern climate making it much more enjoyable to cycle around Lampang.

That said, Thailand in recent years has suffered a lot from air pollution due to the burning season and it is extremely prevalent during Thailand's winter period (December - January) so even though the weather is cooler, your visibility might not be the best. Be sure to buy a face mask if you decided to visit Thailand during this time.

March - April is the hottest and humid period of the year so if you can't handle heat very well, avoid visiting during this time. The air quality may be a bit better during this time but it's not guaranteed.

All the other months are considered to be a rainy season which, even though the weather is a little more manageable than the summer months, you will also be seeing a lot more rain which might prevent you from enjoying the outdoors. Air quality during this time should be better due to rain.

As you can see, the best time to visit Thailand used to be during its wintertime BUT now that the air quality is getting worst and worst, you will have to decide which is more important to you as a traveler, good weather but bad air quality or vice versa.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Since we are visiting Lamphun as part of a day-trip, you will be spending your night in Chiang Mai instead of Lamphun. There isn't a whole lot to do in Lamphun, especially if you do not have your own vehicle, to justify staying in the city overnight hence why I recommend you stay overnight in Chiang Mai instead.

Budget - Suneta Hostel Chiang Mai - 9.6 USD/Night (Dorm)

Mid-Range - OYO Sunshine House - 17 USD/Night (Standard Double Room)

How to Get to Chiang Mai, Thailand

Getting to Bangkok, Thailand

The mote around Lamphun city in Thailand.

In order to get to Chiang Mai, first, you will have to get to Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. Thankfully, Bangkok is a large hub in the region and so you should have no trouble finding a flight from your home country to Suvarnabhumi International Airport or Don Muang International Airport (budget airlines only), Thailand.

From the US, unfortunately, there are no direct flights to Chiang Mai or Bangkok so you will have to rely on transit flights by Emirates, Qatar, or Turkish Airlines from the East Coast or ANA Airlines or Korean Air from the West Coast.

From Europe, you can fly from most popular European hubs like London, Paris, or Frankfurt via Thai Airways or local carriers like British Airways, Air France, or Lufthansa to Bangkok and then you can fly domestically to Chiang Mai. You can also go with Etihad, Qatar, or Emirates if you don't mind transiting.

From within Asia, there are several low-cost airlines offering several routes from many hub cities like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Jakarta to Chiang Mai that transit through Bangkok. AirAsia and Thai Lion Air are great low-cost options and they also provide direct routes from places like China to Chiang Mai.

To find a cheap flight to Bangkok, I would recommend you use Skyscanner or Momondo to look for the cheapest route and schedule so you can compare and pick the best one.

12 Hours in Bangkok

Getting from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand

A train ticket from Lampang to Chiang Mai, Thailand

By Air: The fastest way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is to fly from Don Muang Airport to Chiang Mai International airport to one of the many low-cost airlines in Thailand. For AirAsia, there are over 13 flights per day and can cost as low as 492 THB which is even cheaper than taking a bus or a train. There are also Thai Lion Air and Nok Air that offer the route so be sure to check them out too.

By Bus: If you are not in a rush, you can also get a bus from Morchit Bus Terminal in Bangkok and it will take you about 10 hours to reach Chiang Mai Bus Terminal Arcade 2. The bus leaves from Morchit Bus Terminal every hour from 5:30 - 22:00 and it should cost about 400 - 800 THB per person.

If you are looking for a VUP bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, you can book through here: Book a VIP bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

By Train: You can also take a train from Hua Lamphong Train Station in Bangkok to Chiang Mai Train Station which can take anywhere from 11 - 15 hours. It is a long ride and you are not even saving that much as the price for a ticket is about 400 - 500 THB. There are 7 trains running between the 2 stations from 08:30 - 22:00 every day.

To get the train ticket, I would recommend you go to Hua Lamphong train station a few days before and get it from there as there is no official way to book the train ticket online quite yet and the route can be quite packed at times.

To book a train ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, you can book through here: Book a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

A Complete Backpacking Guide To Chiang Mai

How to Get from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal to Your Accommodation

The statue of the 3 kings in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Chiang Mai is massive and extremely crowded and so the easiest way to get from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal Arcade 2 to your accommodation is to hail a taxi with Grab application available on Android and iOS.

It should cost around 100 - 120 THB to get from the bus terminal to the city center and depending on the traffic, it could take from 15 minutes to an hour to arrive.

Getting from Chiang Mai to Lamphun, Thailand

Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 1 (Chang Phueak Bus Terminal) in Thailand.

From Chiang Mai, you will first have to make your way to the Talad Warorot Song Taew stop west from the city center, right by the Ping River. From the city center, you can catch a yellow Song Taew from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 1 (Chang Phueak Bus Terminal) to Talad Warorot for 10 THB and should take about 10 minutes. Make sure you ask the driver whether they are going to Talad Warorot or not before getting on.

Talad Warorot Song Taew stop in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

From Talad Warorot, you can then get on a blue Song Taew often park in front of the Song Taew stop along the road by the river and the blue Song Taew will take you to Lamphun in 1 hour and for 20 THB.

The bus stop where you get the bus back from Lamphun to Chiang Mai in Thailand.

Once you arrive in Lamphun, the Song Taew will drop you off in front of Hari Phun Chai National Museum which is where you will have to be to get back to Chaing Mai. The blue Song Taew connecting Chiang Mai to Lamphun runs from 5 AM to 8 PM every 30 minutes so be sure to be back in time for the last bus back.

Once you get back to Talad Warorot from Lamphun, you can then find a yellow Song Taew that goes to Mae Rim where you can then drop yourself back off at Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 1 (Chang Phueak Bus Terminal) just like before or you can just call Grab Taxi and get back to your accommodation from Talad Warorot.

How to Get Around Lamphun

The shadow of a samlor riding in Lamphun, Thailand

By Walking: Lamphun is not big and most of the attractions are within less than 30 minutes' walking distance from each other and so you can quickly cover most of the attractions I listed here on foot in one day.

By Samlor: That said, Thai's weather can also get quite hot and walking under that heat is not fun even for me, so if you are looking to get to temples like Wat Chammathewi that is a little further away, you can get on a Samlor, a local cycle rickshaw which acts as a slow form of taxi.

A local man riding Samlor in Lamphun, Thailand

Samlor is a great way to slowly get around the Lamphun for around 20 - 40 THB. To get a Samlor, you can flag them down on the street and tell them where you want to go, negotiate the price, and pay money once you arrive. The price I got to get from the Hariphunchai Museum to Wat Chammathewi was 40 THB.

By Moto-taxis: There is also a moto-taxi stand right at the corner by Hariphunchai Museum where you can ask them to drop you off where ever you want within the city. Be sure to negotiate the price before you get on one.

By Tourist Trams: I got tipped by a samlor that you can also get on one of the tourist trams that leaves from the Haripunchai Museum for 50 THB and they will take you around the city to 9 of the well-known temples but you will need a few hours to do the round. If you arrive in Lamphun early in the morning and do not mind leaving late, getting on a tourist tram is probably the most cost-effective way to get around Lamphun.

How Much Money Do I Need For Lamphun

From this one-day itinerary in Lamphun, we can calculate approximately how much money you will be spending for a one-day itinerary in Chiang Mai as follows:

Accommodation: With a total of 2 nights in Chiang Mai, you will be paying around 20 USD (629 THB)

Food: Food costs about 40 THB minimum in Lamphun and 50 THB in Chiang Mai so expect to pay around 140 THB for one day.

Transportation: For a trip to and from Lamphun, you will have to pay 40 THB and a Song Taew ride in Chiang Mai for around 10 THB so in total you will pay 50 THB for transportation.

Activities: You will have to pay 100 THB for the Haripunchai museum and 20 THB for Wat Phra That Haripunchai, so you can expect to pay around 120 THB for activities.

Total Budget for 2 days in Chiang Mai: 939 THB (30 USD)

Is it Safe in Lamphun, Thailand?

Like most less-traveled places in Thailand, Lamphun is very safe and you will likely not meet any undesirable scammers that you often meet at other crowded places.

That said, always try and negotiate with moto-taxis or Samlor before getting on one just in case they try to get more money out of you. In my experience though, since Lamphun does not get as many tourists, most locals there are mostly trying to survive day-to-day and not many are out to scam you like in Bangkok.

Just like in any foreign city, please be sure to exercise precautions. Do not leave your things unattended and watch out for your belongings at all times.

Internet in Lamphun

There are 3 major carriers in Thailand, AIS, DTAC, and True, all of which offer a pretty similar range of traveler's packages as well as coverages. I personally use AIS as I have been with them since my first phone and they have a lot of Support Center around Thailand and their coverage hasn't failed me yet so if you are looking for a reliable carrier, I can recommend AIS.

There are 3 packages for tourists, 5 GB for 5 days at 160 THB, 15 GB for 8 days at 299 THB, and 30 GB for 15 days. Depending on how long your trip to Thailand will be, you can pick one of these 3 packages that fit your itinerary the most.

With these 3 packages, you can top-up more in case you need more data or calls for your trip. More often than not, 5 GB is more than enough for me to travel around Thailand for a month.

For more information about Thailand's local sim card: Thailand's Prepaid Data Sim Card.

Travel Insurance

If you are looking for travel insurance to go along with your trip to Thailand, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure.

Get a Quote from World Nomads

7 Best Things to Do in Lamphun

Learn About the History of Haripunchai at Haripunchai National Museum

The entrance of Haripunchai National Museum in Lamphun, Thailand.

One of the first things I like to do when arriving in a historically significant city like Lamphun is to visit its national museum and learn about history first before actually going out and explore.

Haripunchai National Museum is the place to be if you are looking to learn about the Mon Kingdom of Haripunchai. The museum housed over 3000 historical artifacts, bones, relics, and antiques found in Lamphun. The museum will also go into detail on the history of Lamphun that dated back before the first establishment of the Thai Kingdom, Sukhothai.

The museum will be right in front of you when you get off a Song Taew from Chiang Mai. The temple opens at 9 AM until 4 PM from Wednesday - Sunday. The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday. The entrance fee is 100 THB for foreigners and 20 THB for Thais.

A Complete Backpacking Guide To Sukhothai

Visit the Famous Wat Phra That Haripunchai

The gold chedi of Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun, Thailand.

One of the most popular and the main attractions why one would visit Lamphun is to see Wat Phra That Haripunchai with their own eyes and that is what you will see next after visiting the Haripunchai National Museum.

A gold pagoda and the main temple hall at Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun, Thailand.

Wat Phra That Haripunchai is a Lanna/Mon style temple built in 1150 during the reign of the Haripunchai kingdom to enshrine another Buddha relic found here. The temple complex is huge and comprised of many structures all dated from different periods of time.

The temple ground of Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun, Thailand.

Within the temple ground, you will find many beautiful chedis and one of the oldest in the temple is the stepped-pyramid shape Suwanna Chedi which is one of the last few remaining examples of Mon-style architecture in Thailand.

Buddha with sharp shins at Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun, Thailand

One of the main prayer hall in Wat Phra That Haripunchai also housed a highly revered Buddha image of the north called "Buddha with sharp shins", a large seated Buddha image that was cast all the way back in the 15th century.

The exterior of the main prayer hall at Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun, Thailand

The main prayer hall exterior is decorated with a beautiful and intricately designed facade and the usual multi-tiered roof you often see in Buddhist temple in the north of Thailand.

Viharn Phra Chao Lawo at Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun, Thailand

It's not just the main prayer hall that gets all the attention though. There are several other impressive structures worth your attention, albeit smaller. One of that structure is the Viharn Phra Chao Lawo, a small temple-like structure painted in red and beautifully decorated with an intricately designed pattern just like the main prayer hall.

The entrance with 2 lions at Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun, Thailand

The arch of the entrance of Wat Phra That Haripunchai is also one of the most impressive structures of the temple with 2 huge statues of purple lions guarding the beautiful impressive white entrance into the temple ground. The entrance fee to the temple is 20 THB for foreigners.

Pay Respect at Phra Nang Chamathewi Monument

Phra Nang Chamathewi Monument in Lamphun, Thailand

After learning about the history of Lamphun and Haripunchai at the museum and Wat Phra That Haripunchai, you should now be familiar with the name Phra Nang Chamathewi, the queen that found the Haripunchai Kingdom in the 11th Century.

Not too far from Wat Phra That Haripunchai, you can drop by Phra Nang Chamathewi Monument, a memorial monument erected in her name just south of the temple. The monument is surrounded by a park, making it a great place to hide from the heat and relax a little before continuing on to our next temple outside the city's wall.

Admire the Beauty of Wat Mahawan Woramahawihan

The gold pagoda of Wat Mahawan Woramahawihan in Lamphun, Thailand

Wat Mahawan Woramahawihan is a beautiful temple that housed one of the holiest Buddha imags in the province, Phra Sila Dam. The temple is located just west from the city's wall and you can easily reach there by foot from Phra Nang Chamathewi Monument.

The facade of Wat Mahawan Woramahawihan under renovation in Lamphun, Thailand.

Legends have it that the temple was built way back in the 6th Century by Phra Nang Chamathewi to house a black Buddha image statue which was a war booty from a battle against the Lavo Kingdom, another old kingdom (present-day Lopburi) that dated back before the time of the Thais.

The gold pagoda and the prayer hall perfectly aligned at Wat Mahawan Woramahawihan in Lamphun, Thailand

Although the temple in its place now is built in the 50s, you can still see the Black Buddha Image statue still inside the prayer hall. Another worthy attraction of the temple is the Lanna-style chedi located behind the main prayer hall which shows that the temple was extended further when the Lanna Kingdom came to power in this region after the collapse of the Khmer Empire in the region.

The temple is free to enter. It is not very big but the intricate design of the facade of the prayer hall will surely occupy your mind for a while as you continue to make your way westward to another important temple, Wat Chammathewi.

Be Blown Away by the Old Wat Chammathewi

The temple ground of Wat Chammathewi in Lamphun, Thailand.

You can either walk from Wat Mahawan Woramahawihan or you can hail a Samlor to take you there for about 20 THB. Wat Chammathewi or Wat Ku Kut is another temple that was built in the early 12th Century during the Haripunchai Kingdom's reign.

The exterior of Wat Chammathewi in Lamphun, Thailand.

The temple is named after the Queen Phra Nang Chamathewi, the founder of the Hariphunchai Kingdom. The temple comprised of 2 ancient chedis, which are the main attractions of the temple, and the main prayer hall. The temple ground itself is spacious with lots of trees and mini-museum for you to stroll around.

Mahabol Chedi and the prayer hall at Wat Chammathewi in Lamphun, Thailand.

The main attractions of the Wat Chammathewi are the 2 ancient chedis, Mahabol Chedi and Ratana Chedi, two of the last remaining Mon structure in the country.

Mahabol Chedi at Wat Chammathewi in Lamphun, Thailand.

Mahabol Chedi is a well-preserved stepped pyramid chedi built by one of the kings of the Hariphunchai Kingdom to commemorate his victory over the Khmer in the early 12th Century.

The close up of Buddha images on Mahabol Chedi at Wat Chammathewi in Lamphun, Thailand.

The chedi is a structure built with stucco standing on a square base with 5 tiers of smaller side rising up to 21 meters with Buddha images cast on 4 sides of each tier all the way to the top.

The interior of the main prayer hall at Wat Chammathewi in Lamphun, Thailand.

There is also the main prayer hall, all painted in blue, and along the upper parts of the wall inside the temple, you will find several murals depicting scenes from the history and battles of Hariphunchai and Phra Nang Chamathewi, the queen. The temple is free for everyone.

Have Lunch at Longan Noodles Restaurant

A crowded interior of Longan Noodles Restaurant in Lamphun, Thailand

After spending most of our time exploring inside the city wall and the western part outside the wall of Lamphun, it is time to go the opposite direction and cross the eastern mote of the city and explore what the east side has to offer.

The walking street at Tha Singh Bridge in Lamphun, Thailand

But before we continue on, we should stop for lunch first. To cross the eastern mote, you will have to cross the Tha Singh Bridge which is also a small walking street where you can buy souvenirs for cheap. Once you cross the bridge, on your left you will find a local restaurant called Longan Noodles Restaurant, which is where we will be having lunch.

Another interior shot of Longan Noodles Restaurant in Lamphun, Thailand

The restaurant is known for its delicious Longan, a sweet local fruit, and their use of it in noodles which is something you do not see often but somehow, the restaurant made it worked.

Stewwd chicken with Logan noodle and longan drink at Longan Noodles Restaurant in Lamphun, Thailand

The sweet aroma of longan in their noodle soup with stewed chicken fills the restaurant as you walk by. Together with their oh-so-sweet Naam Lamyai, or ice longan drink, and their delicious noodle, all your tiredness, and sweat from exploring Lamphun will dissipate and make the whole trip from Chiang Mai worthwhile.

The restaurant is open from 9 AM to 3 PM. The noodle should cost you around 30 - 40 THB per dish and drinks should be no more than 20 THB, which is the kind of price I expect to pay for food in Thailand.

Visit Wat Phra Yuen

Wat Phra Yuen in Lamphun, Thailand

Photos by Thien Jira

After refilling your energy with a Longan noodle, you can continue westward to Wat Phra Yuen, a temple built by Phra Nang Chamathewi in the 13th Century for the monks of Lahore kingdom.

The main attractions of this temple are the 4 ancient standing Buddha images, one that was built during the Hariphunchai's reign and another 3 extended further during the Sukhothai era. The admission fee is free and it opens during daylight time.

Other Things to Do in Lamphun

Check Out the Mickey Mouse Collection at Mickey's House

The entrance of Mickey's House in Lamphun, Thailand.

Last but not least, if you are traveling with kids, you might want to drop by Mickey's House, a personal collection turned museum of a local that contains thousands of Mickey Mouse's memorabilia from all over the world for you to geek out at.

The Mickey Mouse's collection at Mickey's House in Lamphun, Thailand.

The admission fee is free. There is also a cafe attached to the collection museum and it is always good to buy a drink or two in appreciation of the work requires to run and maintain such a beautiful collection of Mickey Mouse.

And there you have it, a complete backpacking guide and a one-day itinerary for Lamphun. If you have a day to spare in Chiang Mai, be sure to drop by and visit Lamphun. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me in the comments below.

Further Reading for Thailand

Looking for more information for your trip to Thailand? Here is a collection of articles about Thailand that you might find useful:

The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.

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