Visit Historic Structures of Phrae in Thailand
The city of Phrae has a history dating back to the Lanna Thai Kingdom, and it retains many of its incredible historic structures, so it is not a typical tourist stop. Being off the beaten path means that Phrae is not packed with crowds of international tourists, letting you get a better feel for an authentic side of Thai life. Phrae is located in the heart of a major teak forest, so many of its buildings are also made from teak. Don’t miss the Pratabjai House, the Khum Chao Luang, which was stayed in by the Thai King and Queen, and the remaining portions of the old city wall.
With a population of slightly less than 20,000, Phrae is a rather quiet town with its tourist attractions concentrated mainly inside the walled city. I had visited during a weekend but found other tourists sparse, local weekenders included. After getting off the bus from my 2 hour journey from Nan, I immediately walked towards Wat Chom Sawan which is just a few blocks away.
I was struck by the unusual architecture of the main prayer hall. departing from the Lanna style that I see all over these parts. Most guidebooks describe the style of Wat Chom Sawan as Burmese, but having visited Burma a couple of times before, I really could not see the similarity. The temple is noted for the heavy use of wood and multi-tiered roofs, a style which is pretty unusual for Thai temples.
Walking around the older parts of Phrae (แพร่), one is struck by similarities with the historic Lao city of Luang Prabang: ample greenery, traditional wood buildings and scenic temples dominate the scenery, and monks form a significant part of the traffic. The city’s residents must be among the friendliest folks in Thailand, and Phrae’s location on the banks of Mae Nam Yom and its ancient wall also invite comparisons with Chiang Mai. Yet despite all this, Phrae is a little-visited city and a great destination for those who require little more than a few low-key attractions, good local food and cheery company.