Essentially a culture stop for Chiang Mai sightseers, this provincial capital sits quiet- ly along the banks of the Mae Kuang, a tributary of the Mae Ping, without much fanfare regarding its superlative as one of Thailand's oldest cities. The old fortress wall and ancient temples are surviving examples of Lamphun's former life as the northernmost outpost of the ancient Mon Dvaravati kingdom then known as Hariphunchai (AD 750–1281). For a period, the city was ruled by Chama Thewi, a Mon queen who has earned legendary status among Thailand's constellation of historic rulers.
The 26km ride between Chiang Mai and Lamphun is one of the city's primary attractions. It's along a beautiful country road, stretches of which are canopied by tall dipterocarp trees.