This is just a story inspired by traveling to Lampang in North Thailand in begin 2000.
Slowly the Special Express train from the busy and polluted Bangkok finally stopped in the so picturesque railway station of Lampang. After a night in the cold second-class air-conditioned sleeper I strolled on to the platform and I already felt the cool and fresh winter air from North Thailand. Walking in the train station it looks like times has passed here for the last two decades or so. Once outside I see myself in the real world of Lampang of today. A samlor was waiting for me to bring to me to my final destination in Lampang, The River Side Guesthouse. In a few minutes we did leave the modern Thai provincial city of Lampang behind us and we entered the old centre along the river Wang.
There it is, between some other old wooden houses, where Lorenzo and her husband created what I call a place of retreat and peaceful harmony. Together they made a wonderful place to live together with their little son and the loveliest 3 dogs I have ever seen. And they are inviting family and good friends to enjoy that same happiness together. The in typical northern style build original wooden old house is located along the Wang river. Lorenzo is waiting for me at the big wooden gate and one of the dogs just wakes up from his afternoon nap. When the wooden gate closes behind me it’s like I’m in a new hidden away world. Lorenzo guides me to my room trough the little garden with a small fish pound. The softly sound from the water that is pounding into the small fountain makes a melodious music. My room is one of the all different 10 rooms, all with private bathroom with hot shower and a fan in the bedroom. All rooms are decorated with beautiful wooden furniture in typical Northern design and photo’s from the private collection of the owners.
After a refreshing shower and change of cloths I walked to the lobby room, which is actually an open veranda with view over the river. After checking-in I have a fresh muesli with yogurt & fruit and enjoy the quiet morning. Lampang itself is a small city divided by the Wang River. One side is what I call the modern Lampang with restaurants, pubs, banks, shops, disco, Internet shops, even a Big-C, and of course the big fresh market. The other side of the river is what I call the old Lampang with many small streets, old wooden houses, little market places, temples and schools. The Wang River itself is not spectacular and because of the damming of the river there is not so much water in it anyway.
Lampang seems to be a place forgotten by the most tourists but actually it has some nice attractions. The two most famous are the Elephant Conservation Center and the Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang. Both a few kilometers outside the side the city and in different directions. On the way to the Elephant Conservation Center you are passing the also becoming famous Jungle Market. Not for the fainted ones because here you will see that the northern Thai people eat really everything. I myself at that moment was not in a mood for the tourist tour and I just took a walk trough town and in the evening I took a horse carriage ride with one of the famous horse drivers of Lampang. He dropped me of at a hidden away Karaoke bar where I did meet an old Thai friend of me. Together we did drink a small bottle of Seang Som and enjoyed the food and music until late in the night or actually early in the morning. I walked back trough the empty streets and did fall a sleep to wake up in the afternoon for my “breakfast” in the little tropical garden. Actually I had to leave Lampang in the morning to go to Chiang Rai, but as it was so late in the afternoon already that it was better to stay one more night and leave the next day. If Lampang would let me go ……
Epilog : Lampang has changed a bit in the years following, but it is still a lovely place. But there is now even an Central Plaza Shopping Mall and there are some Western restaurants!