A day in NAAN : I’m a (trainee) historian!
Let’s start with an interesting city called Wiang Sa. The city was called the land under 2 reigns because, formerly, Naan was also part of Luang Prabang. Wiang Sa is rich in its historical values, so with THAIGUIDE, you will get to transform yourself into a historian for a day. It’ll be a day full of fun for sure.
Boon Yuen Temple
Boon Yuen Temple was established by the 56th ruler of Naan at the time when the ruler came to visit Wiang Sa. The temple is the largest in Wiang Sa and filled with rich history of Naan province dated back 200 years ago. The eastern Lanna architecture can be observed in Boon Yuen temple. The standing Buddha image and the 3 layered crafting door, which is one of the two known to exist in Thailand, are not to be missed.
The doors were crafted by Muean Pan Chang. The first door was the figure of Indra sitting on a lotus base which signifies the blooming happiness of Buddhism. Another door is the figure of Brahma sitting on three-headed elephant which can be translated as the strong faith in Buddhism. The carving is extremely delicate and took almost a year to complete.
Wiang Sa Antique Boat Museum
Wiang Sa Antique Boat Museum is just opposite Boon Yuen Temple. The museum is outstanding and easy-to-find with Naan boat situated in front of an old building constructed in 1952. The old building was later modified in 2009 to offer more functional space. The ground floor of the building is the municipality office and the upper floor is the Wiang Sa Antique Boat Museum. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama 9) and Queen Sirikit first visited Naan to meet his subjects in 1958 and the museum is considered “the first royal footsteps in Naan province”, and is also the pride of Naan people.
The most important feature in Wiang Sa Antique Boat Museum is the Naan boat which was used to compete in traditional boat racing competitions, usually held on the last day of the Buddhist lent, and can only be found in Wiang Sa. The body of Naan boat is the shape of a serpent which was later remodeled through generations. The present version of the boat is therefore slimmer and more colorful.
Besides the antique boats, a broad range of interesting items are displayed including antique iron, typewriter, and battle weapons, guns, and photos. You’ll never be bored learning the history here. The museum staff are always there to help between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Kalok Homestay is a traditional Lanna-style house which was modified by teacher Radom Inseng to be a Lanna learning center. The history of Lanna, Lanna dialect, Lanna music, and Lanna local wisdom are at Kalok Homestay for visitors to learn. Situated by the river, you should look for “wooden kalok” which was formerly used for sending emergency alerts or sending signals for social gathering. The wooden kalok nowadays, however, is used for calling the fish! Yes, you heard it right. The fish. The wooden Kalok is hit in order to create a sound that is familiar to the fish during feeding time, in the morning and in the evening. The locals will put fish food in a basket and reel it down to the river.
Chang Naan Coffee & Gallery
Chang Naan Coffee & Gallery is Wiang Sa’s famous coffee house, located on the main road. This place is super easy to find and beautifully decorated with a hipster/hill tribe style. The coffee house itself reused the old wood from antique houses to decorate the café. For those of you who love photography, you will love this place for sure.
Plus, the coffee beans used here are home grown in Naan province. So, not only will you get to taste Naan’s signature aromatic coffee, you will also get to shop some souvenirs which are locally made by the locals such as beautiful clothes. If coffee doesn’t give you enough artistic feel, why not visit the art gallery on the second floor. This place will surely give you some food for thoughts as well.
Hueon Rod Teep – House of bicycle
Not far from Chang Nan Coffee & Gallery is another interesting spot called Hueon Rod Teep – House of bicycle. Here you can see collections of bicycles from different eras dated for more than 60 years. This place is truly a heaven for bicycle lover. The collections of bicycles are so broad ranging from its infancy, the Penny-farthing, to the world war bikes.
Good news. The bikes here aren’t only for display. You can also ride one! For 50 bath, you can rent a bike and ride around Wiang Sa town. Hueon Rod Teep also provides you with a map with bike routes. Just pick your bike and ride on! By the way, don’t forget to take good care of them.
Operating hours: Morning 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and Afternoon 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.If you don’t want to go too far from Muang district of Naan province, you must visit Wiang Sa. Just a half-hour drive to the south, you’ll get to discover Naan’s culture and rich history in a fun and memorable way.