An ancient city with a hospitable population famed for its beautiful women, Lamphun retains its old-world charm and draws visitors to its natural beauty. Lamphun, a small northern province sandwiched between Chiang Mai and Lampang has a long and storied history. Lamphun was founded as the city of Haripunjaya, a Mon kingdom-city, arguably part of the Dvaravati civilization, established in the ninth (perhaps seventh) century by former Buddhist monks from Lopburi.
Haripunjaya was first ruled by Queen Camadevi, daughter of the king of Lopburi, who established a legacy for the province’s reputation for beautiful women. The kingdom she ruled over thrived for several centuries, exerting wide influence across the region, before King Meng Rai used subterfuge to conquer the town in late 12th century and integrate it into the Lan Na Kingdom based in nearby Chiang Mai.
Today, Lamphun still retains the enchanting ambience of a small but old community, where life moves at a leisurely pace and remnants of the city’s fortifications remind visitors of the city’s proud history. Lamphun is some 670 kilometers from Bangkok and only 26 kilometers from Chiang Mai. Located on the banks of the Kuang River, Lamphun features a skyline made of temple spires and attractions across the province include ancient sites as well as forests, mountains, and lakes.
Nearly a thousand years after subjugation by the Lanna Kingdom from Chiang Rai, Lamphun remains a fairly sleepy province, particularly in contrast to its more popular and populous neighbor, Chiang Mai. This is in fact Lamphun’s allure. The charming provincial capital retains its fortified, moat-enclosed old city where the local population lives a relatively slow-paced lifestyle. Visitors will enjoy visiting exquisite temples via bicycle or samlor, bicycle powered cabs, and exploring a lush countryside where various hill tribe communities live and a number of natural attractions, including as Doi Khun Than National Park, feature many exotic plants and wildlife.