Temple Hunting in Nan

wat sripanton thailand

Nan is a town bordering Laos in the remote valley of the Nan river in Northern Thailand. It marked the mid-way point of our Northern Thailand road trip and after having travelled 700km on the back of a scooter I was exhausted and in desperate need of a rest.

Up until now, we had been arriving in towns late in the afternoon, staying a night and then leaving the following morning. This routine was really starting to take its toll on me.

We therefore came to the excellent decision of staying in Nan an extra night, giving us a chance to explore the town and rest our aching butts for a day.

I spent the first day in Nan sleeping.

Yes, really.

When Dave woke me up to ask if I wanted to go on a short afternoon bike ride with him and Stuart that afternoon, I gave a non-committal mumble and rolled over back to sleep. Good thing too, as they ended up riding a ridiculous 350km to the Laos border and back. Something which almost resulted in their deaths.

I definitely made the best decision.

Feeling guilty about having seen absolutely nothing of Nan the previous day, I woke up on our final morning and immediately reached for my camera.

“Dave!”, I squealed excitedly. “I’m going temple hunting! Isn’t that exciting?! Come with me!”

It was now his turn to roll his eyes, mumble under his breath and fall back asleep. Fine. I would go by myself.

Being a temple town, I didn’t have to do much hunting. Much like Chiang Mai, simply choosing a street to walk down resulted in the discovery of several interesting wats.

There was Wat Hua Kuang, which is thought to be one of the oldest wats in the town.

Wat Hua Kuang in Nan, Thailand

Wat Hua Kuang in Nan

Wat Hua Kuang temple

temple in nan

Next up, was Wat Phra That Chiang Kham. Also known as the “Monastery of the the Relic Supported by Elephants”, there is a beautiful chedi towards the rear surrounded by a ring of elephants.

Wat Phra That Chiang Kham

Wat Phra That Chiang Kham in Nan

Wat in Nan, Thailand

Wat in Nan, Thailand

Nan temple

Wat Mingmuang, which was by far the most elaborate temple I’ve ever seen. I notice something new every time I look at these photos – the dragons, the witches, the jewels, the elephants… I could have spent all day walking around the wat, discovering new and intricate design details.

Wat Mingmuang in Nan, Thailand

wat mingmuang nan thailand

Wat Mingmuang, Nan

“There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold”.  Could Robert Plant have been singing about Wat Sripanton, the final stop on my temple tour of Nan? As I’d been riding around town, this was the temple which always caught my eye and up close it was even more extravagant than I’d expected.

Wat Sripanton, in Nan, Thailand

Wat sripanton in Nan

wat sripanton thailand

And that concluded my temple hunting adventure in Nan. I’d spent just under an hour exploring and only visited two different streets in town.

Who would have thought there would have been so much variety in such a small area? 


  1. cashflowmantra
    April 11, 2012

    There is a lot of gold on those temples. I have to go read about this 350km bike ride also. Sounds like an interesting story.

  2. Monica
    April 11, 2012

    Gorgeous pics Lauren.From what I’ve heard about Nan it sounds beautiful so would love to go there some day.

  3. Lindsey
    April 11, 2012

    Wow, I love all these photos – especially the ones from Wat Mingmuang! I’m so jealous of you right now, Lauren!

    I loved the line: only visited two different streets in town. I was thinking they must have been spread out – it sounds like an amazing place to visit!

  4. Someday I'll Be There - Mina
    April 11, 2012

    Love those photos Lauren! Looks like it’s an amazing town!

  5. Waegook Tom
    April 11, 2012

    Gorgeous photos, Lauren! I LOVE anything gold, and the sky looks so blue and pretty. I want that colour on a t-shirt.

  6. Carol
    April 12, 2012

    Lauren you make me envy on you! I love those pictures and I think Nan is a great place

  7. April 12, 2012

    WOW! Amazing photos! I love how temples in this part of the world are so intricate and colorful.

  8. Lauren of Spanish Sabores
    April 13, 2012

    Wow, Lauren! These temples are incredible. I’ve been backtracking through your posts for the past half hour and can’t stop reading and looking at your pictures. Gorgeous and absolutely addictive. I need to get to Thailand!

  9. April 25, 2012

    Wow, the temple looks stunning, inside and out!
    Thank you for the great images!