Just over 668km from Bangkok, little-known Nan is steeped in history. For centuries it was an isolated, independent kingdom with few ties to the outside world. Ample evidence of prehistoric habitation exists, but it wasn’t until several small meuang consolidated to form Nanthaburi on Mae Nam Nan in the mid-14th century – concurrent with the founding of Luang Prabang and the Lan Xang (Million Elephants) kingdom in Laos – that the city became a power to contend with. Associated with the powerful Sukhothai kingdom, the meuang took the title Waranakhon and played a significant role in the development of early Thai nationalism.
Parts of the old city wall and several early wats dating from the Lanna period can be seen in present-day Nan. Meuang Nan’s wats are distinctive: some temple structures show Lanna influence, while others belong to the Thai Lü legacy brought from Xishuangbanna, the Thai Lü’s historical homeland.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009