Located in the remote Nan River Valley and tucked in the corner of Thailand’s “axe,” Nan is another province that sees few visitors making it a charming unexplored town. In the past, Nan was a separated independent city with almost no communication at all with the outside world. Then it became a part of Lanna (Laos), Myanmar, and finally Thailand, leaving evidences of those cultures behind to be seen in the present day. Moreover, many old traditions and customs are still very well-reserved and practiced by the local people especially the religious ones as you can see from magnificent temples all around the province, causing it to be an ideal destination for strong believers.
One cultural component that makes Nan different from other provinces is its hilltribe population including Mien, Hmong, Mabri, N’ tin, Khamu, and Thai Lue. These people live peacefully in villages north of the town remaining their fascinating traditions and lifestyle worth learning. Visit the Nong Bua village and check out their handicraft handed down for generations and some tribal fabric that is now in-trend for Thai youngsters.
Nan’s most exciting event of the year is certainly the Traditional Boat Racing Festival around the 10th-11th month of lunar calendar. It has been carried on for centuries to mark the end of the Buddhist Rains Retreat and to celebrate the Kathin festival. Spectators do not only witness the Racing Boats Competition, but also the cheering squad and beauty boat contests. These boats are special as they are made from dug-out tree trunks, carved, and decorated in vibrant colors to imitate Naga, the sacred water creature according to the Buddhist teaching.