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Like all the other Northern provinces with the exception of Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, Phrae is too often overlooked by western tourists who miss a great chance to get acquainted with its beautiful natural wonders and a good number of historical sites all within the boundaries of a small and laid back capital city, easy to reach and even easier to explore.
Historic Phrae was once a key hub in the teak trade. The legacy of those days is an impressive collection of antique wooden mansions. Given this, along with ample greenery, scenic temples and a pleasant riverside location, you'd expect this small city to be well-established on the tourist trail.
It's a great place if you're looking to kick back for a few days by wandering the low-key attractions and enjoying the tasty local food. Phrae's residents – who include many monks – must be among the friendliest folks in Thailand, too, which makes staying here all the more pleasurable.

Best time to visit

The rainy season running from May to October shouldn’t stop you from visiting Phrae with the exception of August when chances of longer and stronger storms are higher, and this could be a problem when visiting the national parks or simply renting a motorbike making the ride more dangerous and definitely less pleasant.

The best time of the year is the cold and dry season from November to February, while April and May should be avoided by people who don’t want to deal with the heat.

One of the main festivals of the province, Phrathat Cho Hae Fair takes place in March when every day locals walk in procession around the temple in traditional Lanna clothes and carrying robes that will be used to cover the chedi of the most revered temple in the province. Visitors are welcome to participate in the procession and join the celebrations at night-time.

Check the below table for the general idea of Phrae weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 30.7 22.6 14.2
Feb 34 25.4 16.4
Mar 35.9 27.8 19.1
Apr 37.1 29.9 22.4
May 35.5 29.6 23.7
Jun 34.3 29.3 24.1
Jul 32.9 28.4 23.9
Aug 32.6 27.9 23.7
Sep 33.1 27.9 23.7
Oct 32.8 27.2 22.3
Nov 32.2 25.5 19.2
Dec 30.2 22.9 15.7

Phrae’s current weather and 7-day forecast

PHRAE WEATHER

With its peaceful old town, one-of-a-kind handicraft and intriguing natural landscapes, there’s no reason to skip this northern city.

Check out these top things to do in Phrae, Thailand, and enjoy authentic local experiences before the rest of the world catches on.

1. Take a peek into local lords’ lives inside their teak mansions

With its wealth of teak forests, including private forests planted by the local noblemen, the old town has a good collection of elegant teak houses. They were the residences of the city's local lords and today they are open to the public. Visit the well-preserved teak mansions and get a rare glimpse into bygone days, especially these three:

1) Vongburi House

Vongburi House, or alternatively spelled Wongburi, is a fine example of the Thai take on gingerbread houses. Fusing Lanna architecture with European style and painted in pink, the mansion was repurposed into a museum and the interior is as attractive as the exterior. Vongburi House displays each room, furniture and antique as when the house was still inhabited a hundred years ago.

2) Khum Chao Luang

The mansion of the city's last prince, Chao Piriyathapawong. Like Vongburi House, Khum Chao Luang is a beautiful gingerbread house but painted in cream and green. In addition to the family's artifacts, you can find the portraits of the lord, his wife and other family members inside.

3) Pratubjai House

While Pratubjai House (Impressive House) isn’t a property of the city's ruler, it’s still very fascinating. The owner designed and decorated the house himself and he isn’t an architecture! Using 130 teak pillars, Pratubjai House is the world’s largest teak house. The whole process is entirely legal and in fact, Pratubjai House was built to preserve teakwood. Truly an impressive project.

2. Stroll around and temple hop in the old town

Apart from its collection of teak mansions, the old town is full of beautiful temples and quaint shops and cafés. Walking or biking around the old town area is the best way to enjoy its relaxing vibe.

So many options to choose from, right? To give you some ideas, here are the locals' favorite temples.

1) Wat Phra Bat Ming Muang

It actually comprises two temples: Wat Phra Bat and Wat Ming Muang. Pay respect to the city’s most important Buddha statue, Phra Buddha Kosai Sirichai Maha Shakyamuni. The ancient pagoda Phra Chedi Ming Muang with the replica of Buddha footprint is also in the temple complex.

2) Wat Phong Sunan

At Wat Phong Sunan, you’ll find a lot of distinctive features, such as the enormous red-lipped Reclining Buddha, the pagoda with numerous golden and white spires and walls decorated with glass balls. The definition of a feast for the eyes.

3. Eat your way through Kad Kong Kao

This evening walking street is a Saturday-only affair. While it’s small compared to night markets in other northern cities, Kad Kong Kao is packed with yummy treats. Shop from local uncles and aunties, listen to Lanna-style music by local buskers and admire old wooden houses along Khum Lue Road. It’s going to be a heart-warming evening.

4. Admire the Burmese-style teak temple, Wat Chom Sawan

This northern city isn’t just about teak mansions. Located a short distance from the old town, Wat Chom Sawan is a teak sanctuary by Shan people. The temple is one of the best preserved temples of its kind. Apart from its impressive exterior, Wat Chom Sawan houses a unique gilded Buddha image woven from bamboo called Luang Pho San.

5. Go indie with indigo at Ban Thung Hong Village

At Ban Thung Hong, traditional is pretty indie. Mo Hom, Thailand’s classic indigo farmer shirts and pants, are born here. Hom is the name of the indigo plant used for dyeing. From weaving to dyeing, you can learn the whole process of Mo Hom production or even design and make your own costume! Mo Hom outfits are made from cotton, so they’re perfect for summer or hot days and also durable. The locals at Ban Thung Hong Village are creative and have branched out into other products like Mo Hom bags, umbrellas and etc.

If you want to take a break, there’s Indigo House Café with their famous Indigo Coffee.

6. Be mystified by the city of sandstone, Phae Muang Phi

Phae Muang Phi, which translates to Spirit Grove, is a forest park that looks more like a wilderness carved out of sandstone. Although surrounded by spooky legends, Phae Muang Phi is completely safe to navigate. Let your imagination run wild as you contemplate the strange landscape, including Mushroom Rocks.

7. Pay respect to the city’s signature temple, Wat Phra That Cho Hae

Don’t miss Wat Phra That Cho Hae. Known as the city’s most revered temple, Wat Phra That Cho Hae has a stunning Chiang Saen-style octagonal pagoda that enshrines Buddha relics. Cho Hae is the name of a high-grade satin and as the story goes, the locals tied Cho Hae satin around the pagoda as a sign of reverence. The temple is especially sacred for people born in the Year of the Tiger.

8. Gaze at the Coral Mountain

Venture further along the mountain trail of Doi Pha Klong National Park and you’ll be rewarded by one of Thailand’s most unique sights. Rising high into the sky is Phu Khao Hin Pakarang, a jagged mountain that resembles coral reefs.
Doi Pha Klong National Park has many other highlights, such as strange rocks at Maharaj Rock Garden, the giant Buddha statue and weird rock formations at Erawan Cave and an abundance of rare animals and plants.

Mid-range options

Hug Inn Phrae 

Add: 6/1 Tesaban Road 2, Nai Wieng Muang Phrae 54000, 54000 Phrae, Thailand

Set in Phrae, Hug Inn Phrae has a restaurant, free bikes, garden, and free WiFi. This 3-star hotel offers valet parking and luggage storage space. There is free private parking and the property offers free airport shuttle service.

All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. At the hotel, all rooms are fitted with a private bathroom with free toiletries.

A à la carte breakfast is available every morning at Hug Inn Phrae.

Guests at the accommodation will be able to enjoy activities in and around Phrae, like cycling.

Maeyom Palace Hotel 

Add: 181/6 Yantarakijkosol Road, 54000 Phrae, Thailand

Maeyom Palace Hotel has a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a bar and shared lounge in Phrae. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, room service and currency exchange for guests.

At the inn, the rooms come with a private bathroom with a hairdryer.

Maeyom Palace Hotel offers a continental or American breakfast.

Taris Art Hotel Phrae 

Add: 69 Rachadamnoen, Nai Wiang, Mueang Phrae, 54000 Phrae, Thailand

Featuring free WiFi and a restaurant, Taris Art Hotel Phrae offers accommodation in Phrae. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site.

Each room comes with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Certain rooms include a seating area for your convenience. You will find a kettle in the room. The rooms come with a private bathroom equipped with a shower.

You will find free shuttle service at the property.

Deluxe options

Huernnana Boutique Hotel 

Add: 7/9 Sasibutra Road, Tabol Nai-Vieng, Muang, 54000 Phrae, Thailand

Huern na na Boutique Hotel provides free round-trip transfers from Phrae Bus Station and Phrae Airport. It offers air-conditioned rooms with a balcony and free Wi-Fi. The hotel is equipped with a spa, pool and tour desk.

The hotel is a 10-minute drive to Baan Wong Buri and a 15-minute drive to Phrae Bus Terminal. It is a 20-minute drive from Phrae Airport and a 30-minute drive from Wat Phra That Cho Hae.

Rooms are fitted with modern Thai décor. They come with a 42-inch flat-screen satellite TV, safety deposit box and minibar. They also have an electric kettle, slippers and bathrobes. Free toiletries and hairdryer are included in an en suite bathroom.

Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist guests with rental cars, currency exchange and laundry. The property has meeting and karaoke facilities. Free private parking is possible on site.

Guests can enjoy Thai, Chinese and European cuisines at Huern na na. Coffee and baked items are offered at Coffee Corner. Cocktails and light snacks are served at Pool Bar.

Food scene in Phrae is all about local food. There are not so many Western and international options, but Thai food – especially its northern variation – is exceptional.

Markets and Street Food

A small night market on Charoen Mueang, close to the police station and the old city moat, opens every day at around 5.00pm. A bit disappointing compared to what you can usually expect from a food market in Thailand, it is still a good choice for a quick and cheap dinner. Though it does not offer a big variety, all the street food favourites are there, and you’ll have no problem to find grilled chicken, meat skewers, noodles and a selection of rice dishes. A few tables are available to enjoy your dinner on site.

Local Food

A popular spot among locals, Pan Jai (Wira Road, open every day from 8.00am till 5.00pm) is located in the old town close to the city hall and it’s a great spot to have a break for lunch during your visit. It’s a food court kind of a restaurant, but in a more traditional setting than your usual shopping mall food court. They offer a large variety of dishes, with the majority of them being specialties of the Northern Thai cuisine.

Khao soi is a rice noodle dish, coming from the Burmese culinary tradition, and extremely popular in the Northern provinces. A bowl will come for just THB30. Khanom chin nam ngiao is a variation on the classic thin rice noodles coming with pork blood in the soup. There is a salad bar where you can order different kind of papaya salad (som tam), a famous dish coming from the Isaan provinces; keep in mind that it comes extra spicy, even if they usually prepare it in a softer version when they see a westerner. None of the counters have an English menu but many of them have a dashboard with pictures of the plates (and some of them have an approximate English translation). Or you can simply look at the pots and the trays and choose what you feel more attracted to. Everything is extra cheap, with the majority of dishes coming for less than THB50. If you want to avoid the peak hours, go there before 11.30am or after 2.00pm.

Few hundred meters away from Pan Jai, Khao Soi Che Lek (35 Nam Kue Road) is, as you can guess from the name, the place to go to try one of the best khao soi in town, in the province, and according to some locals and Thai visitors – in the whole country. Unfortunately there’s no English sign, but if you can’t find it ask anybody in the old town and they’ll be able to direct you. There is not a lot of choice apart from their main dish, but pork or chicken satey and a good selection of desserts will complete a great meal. Again you don’t have to worry about the bill; you’ll never spend more than THB50 for a single dish.

Dining in style

For a fine dining experience in a wonderful setting you’ll need to move a bit out of the city centre and head close to the Bic C Superstore. Rom Mai Yai Restaurant (234 Phaya Pon road) will impress you from the very first moment you sit at your table on a wooden platform on the pool/pond with plenty of fishes keeping you company while you’ll be having your dinner. The menu is quite extensive with lots of choices of Thai food, all delicious and well presented. We tried the lab plaa (minced fish salad) and it was really worth it. On a nice open terrace overlooking the dining area, a band performs soft music every night, and, if you feel like it, there’s room for a slow dance. All this will come for a price, but considering the setting and everything else we wouldn’t say it’s excessive.

Get in

Nok Air flies from Bangkok Donmueang Airport. Flights leave daily at 13:00 as at April 2016.

Contact us for the latest flight schedule and price. Or you can check via some online platform such as SkyScanner.com or Kayak.com

Here you can find some tips to book the cheapest flight

The bus station is at the north end of Yantarakitkoson Rd, some 300 metres to the right.

You can also take the train to Den Chai and take a songthaew to Phrae.

A bus from Uttaradit bus station will cost you B50. This is the Chiang Mai/Mae Sai bus.

A bus from Phitsanulok costs B112.

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via rome2rio.com

Get around

This City can be walked around as it is reasonably compact. The bus station is about 1 Km from the roads leading to the City Centre.

There are no Tuktuks here. But there are plenty of motorcycle taxis as well as samlors (three wheel pedal tricycles). Bargain your price beforehand.

If you want to travel any distance, then hire a songteow (two bench pickup truck). Ensure that the price is either per person, or all persons included.

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Thailand BLOG ARTICLES

International travelers to Thailand will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or ATK test results from October 1st, 2022 onward.

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Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced these changes on Thursday after the National Communicable Diseases Committee (NCDC) had a meeting on Wednesday.

Instead of isolating those who have contracted the disease would be required to wear a mask, socially distance themselves from others and wash their hands frequently for the first five days. They also need to stay away from those who are immunocompromised and vulnerable.

Dr. Sophon Iamsirithaworn, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, informed that since the present Covid-19 mutation doesn’t cause serious symptoms in most people, disease control measures can be relaxed.

National Security Council secretary-general Supoj Malaniyom added that the new measures are being put in place to help improve the economic conditions of the country.

“The primary aim will be to ensure the economy is back on track so people could earn their livelihoods once more,” he said.

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