Moving to Thailand with a recruitment company, like Greenheart Travel, has its benefits. One of them, by far, is the amount of information they provide to you about budgeting, living abroad, and previous teacher-placement locations. For me, this was hugely important because I love doing research.
I didn’t know much about Thailand’s regions prior to my departure so it was nice to be provided with a list of different cities that I had the possibility of being placed. It also gave me a chance to narrow down where I might want to be placed to let Xplore Asia know more about my preferences. (They sent out a questionaire about a month prior to my arrival)
- Would I want a big city like Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket?
- Would I want to be more rural and live in a small town?
- Would I like the southern region, the northern region, or the eastern region?
- What makes each region special and unique?
These questions never crossed my mind when I decided to move abroad, but I’m glad they eventually did, and that I was given the chance to research beforehand.
Due to my extensive research, and by extensive I mean I had a google map and was pinning each city listed on the HUGE list that I was provided to find where exactly they were in Thailand, I was finally able to narrow down the region; The Northern Region of Thailand. And not only that, I found a city that I thought would make for a great home. It was close to Chiang Mai, but not as big. It was surrounded by mountains, but not the ocean. And, it had an airport to make for easy travel. The city name…Lampang.
Now, I understand this isn’t really “mapless,” it’s more planned out since I requested a specific city, but nothing is guaranteed in the world of teacher placement. I knew I didn’t really want to be in a beachy town as I lived on an island for two years and that I really wanted to be surrounded by mountains and land. But, needless to say, I wanted to make sure my experience in Thailand was one that I felt good about, so I requested the city of Lampang.
Lampang, Thailand, known as Nakhon Lampang, is located in northern Thailand in Lampang Province. It is approximately 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Chiang Mai and is the third largest city in the north.
In fact, one of the things that drew me to Lampang was its size. It only has about 60,000 people, whereas Bangkok has nearly 9 million and Chiang Mai has just over 131,000 residents. The size of Lampang stood out to me as the perfect size city. It’s large enough to not know everyone but small enough to be able to know people around town and become one with the town. It’s also large enough to have options for things to do but small enough where I’d feel okay leaving for vacation.
Lampang is home to a night market called Kad Kong Ta, commonly referred to in English as Walking Street. It’s located on Thanon Talad Gao, Old Market Street and runs every Saturday and Sunday evening from 5-10ish. It is quite an enjoyable evening activity, where you can find local oddities, traditional clothing, toy shops, food carts, household goods, and loads of other things.
Lampang is known throughout Thailand and is quite famous for Horse-Drawn Carriages. Tourists and locals travel here to tour the city in this traditional mode of transportation. I wake up most mornings to the clip-clopping sound of horses passing.
Lampang is also known as “The City of Roosters”, ironic considering I moved here from an island overtaken with roosters. The legend goes:
Buddha came to visit Lampang. A god, which in Buddhism means guardian deity, worried the people would not wake to show their respect to Buddha. He took it upon himself and transformed into a white rooster to wake the people of Lampang.
Now, throughout the city, province, and outside many temples, you will see a variety of roosters symbolizing the faithful God of Buddha who transformed into the rooster. The rooster is also widely painted on many of the ceramic items found throughout Lampang and Thailand.
Ceramics is one of the major industries here as the province has a large deposit of kaolin, a clay mineral used in ceramics. In fact, there are hundreds of ceramic factories throughout the province. Nakhon Lampang is home to the Dhanabadee Ceramics Museum, where you can learn all about the origin, history, techniques both old and new used in ceramic making, and apparently you can even create your very own, one of a kind ceramic item.
I just happen to live right near a huge ceramics market and have purchased several pieces for my room, for a very reasonable price. Two bowls, two plates, one coffee mug, one decorative dish, and one vase all for less than 200 baht (equivalent to ~$8 USD).
Historically, Lampang was a major city during the Lanna kingdom era (Burmese rule), however, its significance is usually overshadowed by its larger counterparts of the north, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. That doesn’t take away from the amount of amazing historical places to go visit. Burmese-style temples are some of those places. They are in small numbers throughout Thailand and in fact, only 31 remain. Of those, nine are located in here in Lampang. (I will at one point during my time living in Lampang, visit all 9 of these temples!)
Something you also might find interesting. The province of Lampang is home to the largest coal-fired power plant in all of Southeast Asia. The plant is located in the Mae Moh district, about 20 kilometers from the city of Lampang, which is home to a large lignite mine (used to run the plant). Limestone is also mined throughout the district. Mae Moh is quite a beautiful little town, between the property of the mining museum and the fields of wild sunflowers that bloom in November-Early December, a must see.
The province of Lampang is also home to several National Parks. Within these national parks, you can find things like waterfalls, hot springs, hiking trails, caves, tall peaks, railroad tracks and tunnels, and camping grounds. Basically, endless amount of Mother Nature’s beauty.
I could continue with the overview of my new home of Lampang, but I think you’re beginning to see the beauty. Don’t worry, as this isn’t going to be my only post of Lampang. I plan on writing a “Top ____” list for Lampang/Lampang Province in the near future!