LAMPHUN ATTRACTIONS The town of Lamphun was originally the centre of the Mon Kingdom, known as Hariphunchai and believed to have been founded in the late 7th or early 8th century AD. The first andmost famous ruler of Hariphunchai was Queen Chamma Thewi, whose legendary amorous and diplomatic exploits are the subject of numerous Lanna folk tales. Independence wasfinally lost in the late 13th century, when Lamphun was taken by King Mengrai and incorporated into his Lanna Kingdom. With its provincial capital just 26 km. south of Chiang Mai, Lamphun is a small province of 4,506 sq. km. Renowned for its productive lamyai orchards, its quality hand-woven silk and cotton, and its enchanting old-world charm, Lamphun has a long history and it is memories of this which hold the greatest attraction for travellers.
WAT PHRATHAT HARIPHUNCHAI
Situated in the centre of town, Wat Phrathat Hariphunchai
dates from the early 12th century, when it was founded during the reign of King Athitayarat, a descendant of Queen Chamma Thewi. Its dominant feature is the 46-metre-tall golden Chedi, which was rebuilt in 1443. Also of note are the ancient-stylebrick arches adorned with fine designs, a pair of sculptured lionsat the door, a square-shaped Chedi and a Khmer-style Buddha statue.
HARIPHUNCHAI NATIONAL MUSEUM
Located almost opposite Wat Phrathat Hariphunchai on Inthay- ongyot Road, the museum’s exhibits include prehistoric human skeletons and art objects from the Dvaravati, Hariphunchai, Lanna and Rattanakosin periods. Open Wednesday-Sunday from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
PHRA NANG CHAMMA THEWI STATUE
Situated in the Nong Dok Public Park, the statue honoursthe first ruler of Hariphunchai.
SUTHEWA RUSI STATUE
In front of the Town Hall, the statue relates to a legend that
a rusi, or ascetic, was the actual founder of Hariphunchai. According to the tale, the rusi, as an ascetic refraining from worldly affairs, invited Phra Nang Chamma Thewi, a daughter of the King of Lop Buri, to ascend the throne and helped her to establish Buddhism in the land.
WAT CHAMMA THEWI
Commonly referred to as Wat Ku Kut, the temple on the Lamp- hun-San Pa Tong Road is believed to date from the 8th or 9th century and was rebuilt in 1218. The Chedi is a square structure, similar to that found at Bodhgaya in India, and reput- edly enshrines the ashes of Queen Chamma Thewi.On each side of the Chedi are niches holding a total of 0 Bud- dha statues.
On the road parallel to the old city wall to the west of town, Wat Mahawan houses the image of Nak Prok which is commonly known as Phra Rot Lamphun, and serves as the model for a famous votive tablet.
WAT PHRA YUEN
Notable for its Ku Chang Ku Ma Chedi, which is surrounded on four sides by standing statues and commemorates Queen Chamma Thewi’s war elephant and her son’s steed.
BAN NONG CHANG KHUN
This is the most famous longan-growing area in the country, some 8 km. before Lamphun and with a further 7 km. after a right turn. The fruits are in season from July to August.
The district of Pa Sang is a handicraft centre and famous for its handmade cotton, produced primarily in the village of Ban Nong Ngueak. Also at this village is an ancient temple noted forits fine Burmese-style architectural influences.
This is the site of a 1,400-year-old community dating back to the Hariphunchai Kingdom. Located some 40 km. south of Lamphun town, it offers a scenic and delightful vista of greenfields and mountains. It also has several old temples built inindigenous styles, such as Wat Phra Chao Ton Luang, with its 600-year-old Buddha statue, and Wat Pa Puai and Wat Dong Rusi, both with 100-year-old wooden scripture halls. Among the natural attractions in the area are Tham Luang Pha Wiang, a cave some 15 km. south of the district town with oddly-shaped stalactites.
WAT PHRABAT HUAI TOM
This is the largest temple in Li district, about 5 km. off Highway 106 at KM 47, which boasts a large Lanna-style Chedi and an extensive place of worship built in laterite by Karens living in the vicinity who were admirers of the highly revered Phra Khru Ba Chaiwongsa.
MAE PING NATIONAL PARK
Covering an area of over 1,000 sq. km., the park’s main featureis the Ping River, which here flows through an area of forestsand sheer cliffs. Certain parts of the waterway spread out to form reservoir-like bodies of water with numerous small islands and rapids. Another attraction is the 7 -level Ko Luang water- fall. Fascinating stalactites and stalagmites are to be found inside nearby limestone caves.
LAMPHUN SPEICIAL EVENTS
SONG NAM PHRATHAT HARIPHUNCHAI
This is Lamphun’s best-known annual event, held to celebrate the province’s principal religious site.
The fair showcases the province’s most famous fruit with a beautifully decorated longan parade and contests.