Welcome to Phayao
Few people, including many Thais, are aware of this quiet but attractive northern city. In an overzealous effort to remedy this, a tourist brochure we came across described Phayao (พะเยา) as the 'Vienna of South East Asia'. Although this is just slightly stretching the truth, Phayao is certainly one of the more pleasant towns in northern Thailand. Its setting on Kwan Phayao, a vast wetland, gives the town a back-to-nature feel that’s utterly lacking in most Thai cities, and the tree-lined streets, temples and old wooden houses of ‘downtown’ Phayao provide a pleasing old-school Thai touch.
The little-visited town is the perfect place to break up your journey to/from Chiang Rai, and can also serve as a bookend to a drive from Chiang Khong.