Phayao is both the name of a province in North Thailand as the name of the small provincial capital town along the banks of a huge lake called Kwan Phayao. Phayao is located between Lampang and Chiang Rai and makes a perfect one day stop while traveling in North Thailand. The lake is the biggest in Northern Thailand and although it was originally a natural lake the current level & size of the lake is created by closing the Ingle River in 1935. With that there is a submerged temple in the middle of the lake and that has become one of the other main attractions of Phayao. Nowadays Phayao is a small town with a wonderful boulevard along the lake to enjoy the typical Thai way of life. When exploring the little town you will still see some Thai wooden houses from the time Phayao was the colonial center of the logging business.
The highlights of Phayao
Popular destinations within Phayao province
What to do in Phayao?What most people do in Phayao town is enjoying a sunset dinner along Kwan Phayao and visit the in the Kwan Phayao sunken Wat Tilok Aram. If you are interested in history you could visit Ban Rong Hi an ancient building site. Or visit one of the few beautiful teak-wooden old houses that are still to be found in Phayao. If you are into markets you could visit the Evening Market at Rob Wiang Pratu Klong Road or the Morning Market. Phayao province is surrounded by mountains with small villages, centuries old temples, waterfalls and rivers. Have a look at Traveling 2 Phayao - Thailand
National Parks in Phayao, where nature meets adventure. Within Phayao province you will find Phu Sang National Park (bordering Laos), Doi Phu Nang National Park (bordering Phrae province) and Doi Luang National Park (bordering Chiang Mai province).
Temples in Phayao, of course also in Phayao are temples. The most famous temples are the Wat Tilok Aram in Phayao town, the Wat Nantaram in Chiang Kham and the ancient temples of Wiang Lor. But have a look at Temples in Phayao.
When to go to Phayao?Of course you can travel to Phayao the all year around, the weather is as hot as everywhere in Thailand during the hot season of April and May. Then the monsoon season begins that lasts until end October with chance of heavy rains and some local flooding. From November to March the cool season hits the North of Thailand and temperatures in Phayao province may go down to about 5℃ during night time (December-February). Phayao is an attractive destination all year around, but for outdoor activities it is recommended to visit during the cool season, from September to February.
Where to sleep in Phayao?In the old days there was not much accommodation in Phayao and it were mostly simple guesthouses. Luckily time has changed and there is now a range from nice Guesthouse & Home Staye's to comfortable Hotels. My personal favourite is BuaKaew Place as old mansion along Kwang Phayao that is turned into a hotel. But if you are with a bigger family you might like Kwan Phayao Villa with only 3 big family rooms. If you like modern comfort and a swimming pool have a look at Green Hill Hotel. My personal recommendation would be to stay close the lake and near the boulevard with restaurants. For more information read Accommodation in Phayao.
Where to eat & drink in Phayao?Phayao has always been famous for its lake side restaurants, serving fish (that probably not comes from the lake but that is another story). There is a wide range of Thai restaurants, Coffee Shops and some pubs along the boulevard along Kwang Phayao. But just walk along the boulevard and have a look where you would like to eat. For more information read Restaurants & Coffee Shops in Phayao.
|Teak wooden Colonial style house in Phayao, Thailand|
|Sunset view over Kwan Phayao in North Thailand|
How to get there & around?✈️ Phayao does not have an airport, nearest airport is in Chiang Rai or Lampang.
🚞 Phayao does not have an train station, nearest train station is in Lampang.
🚘 🛵 Phayao is along route 1 between Lampang and Chiang Rai, what is a major highway. Phayao can also be reached via route 120 from Chiang Mai.
🚌 Phayao can be reached by bus from all major cities in Thailand.
Where to go next from Phayao?
- Chiang Rai is about 93 km from Phayao and is considered the gate-way to Myanmar and Laos. Coming from Phayao you will be passing the famous White Temple of Chiang Rai.
- Phrae is about 150 km south-east of Phayao and is famous for its colonial history of the logging industry.
- Nan is about 150 km east of Phayao and an truly off the beaten path province where slow life still goes on in the mountains and small villages. A great route for motorbike riding. For more information about Nan province have a look at Destination Travel Guide Nan.
- Chiang Mai is about 160 km west of Phayao and is called the rose of the north. Taking route 120 to Chiang Mai is a beautiful motorbike route.
- Lampang is about 133 km south of Phayao and is famous for its old wooden Thai houses and beautiful Lanna style temples.