Phrae Travel Guide

Phrae is a provincial city in northern Thailand with a charming old city skirted by a partial moat. Its backwater status is a boon as tourists can enjoy quiet walks through temple courtyards and quaint backstreets.

Teak was a major commodity in years past, and there’s plenty of teak architecture on display in the old city. The oldest temples are purely Lanna style, with very little infusion from central Thai kingdoms. There are moments when you’ll feel like you’re visiting a temple in Myanmar or Laos.

The most important temple is Wat Luang at the city centre. Its counterpart, Phra That Phra Lo, is well outside the city limits. Further afield is Mae Yom National Park, a great place to walk among giant teak trees or to shoot the rapids on Yom River. North of town is Phae Meuang Pii, a striking natural area dotted with ghastly rock formations.

Getting There & Away

There’s a small airfield in Phrae with charter flights available to Bangkok (roughly one hour), but the main way to get to and from the city is by bus or train. VIP coaches reach Chiang Mai in 4 hours or can connect to Bangkok overnight. The nearest train station is in Den Chai (15 miles away) and can be reached in 30 minutes aboard blue, fixed-route pickup trucks. Express trains from Den Chai reach Bangok in 7 hours.

Things to Do

Phrae Attractions

Wat Luang

The city’s central temple was built when the city was founded and houses buddhist relics from myanmar.

Phae Meuang Pii

This ‘ghost town’ takes its name from the eerie rock formations that dot the landscape.

Mae Yom National Park

Named after the river that flows through it, this park has huge tracts of teak forest and good white water rafting facilities.

Phra That Phra Lo

This 400-year-old temple is the final resting place of an ancient monarch.