Nan Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do and see in Nan, Thailand, from cultural attractions to outdoor adventures and hiking trails. Find out about local food and beverage, where to stay, and how to get around.

Introduction to Nan

Nan is a hidden gem in Northern Thailand, nestled in the lush valleys of the Nan River. This quaint town remains relatively untouched by mass tourism, making it a perfect destination for travelers who prefer authentic cultural experiences. Nan boasts of a rich history and vibrant culture, with colorful temples, serene landscapes, and unique local cuisine.

List of Places to Visit in Nan

Whether you’re interested in cultural attractions, outdoor adventures, or just soaking up the local way of life, Nan has something for everyone. Here’s our list of top places to visit in Nan:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Wat Phumin: This stunning temple features exquisite murals depicting local life and legends.
  • Nan National Museum: Discover the town’s rich history and cultural heritage through fascinating exhibits and artifacts.
  • Wat Phra That Khao Noi: The temple sits atop a small hill, offering a breathtaking view of the town and surrounding landscape.
  • Nan Riverside Art Gallery: This gallery showcases contemporary art and culture from local artists and artisans.

Natural Attractions of Nan: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Doi Phu Kha National Park: This national park offers breathtaking views of mountains, waterfalls, and forests. It’s also a popular destination for trekking, camping, and wildlife spotting.
  • Bo Kluea Hot Springs: These natural hot springs offer a rejuvenating soak amidst stunning mountain scenery.
  • Mae Charim National Park: This park boasts of stunning waterfalls, lush forests, and wildlife, including gibbons and tigers.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Nan

  • Doi Samer Dao: This hiking trail offers a challenging climb to the summit, with stunning views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.
  • Nan Riverside Biking Trail: This trail takes you through the town’s charming old quarter, picturesque rice paddies, and serene riverside.

Best Things to Do in Nan: Activities and Tours

  • Nan Walking Tour: This guided tour takes you through the town’s old quarter, with stops at historical temples, markets, and local shops.
  • Nan River Boat Trip: Take a leisurely boat ride along the Nan River while spotting wildlife and enjoying the stunning scenery.
  • Thai Cooking Class: Learn how to cook authentic Thai cuisine with local ingredients and techniques.

Week-Long Itinerary for Nan

Day 1: Explore the town’s old quarter, visit Wat Phra That Khao Noi, and enjoy sunset at Wat Phumin. Day 2: Take a day trip to Doi Phu Kha National Park and trek to the summit for stunning views. Day 3: Visit Bo Kluea Hot Springs and explore nearby hill tribe villages. Day 4: Take a Thai cooking class in the morning and join a Nan River boat trip in the afternoon. Day 5: Visit Mae Charim National Park and hike to Namtok Tat Mok Waterfall. Day 6: Cycle along the Nan Riverside Biking Trail and visit Nan National Museum. Day 7: Relax and explore the local food scene, including a visit to Nan Riverside Art Gallery.

Food and Drink Scene of Nan

Nan’s local cuisine is unique and full of flavor. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Kaeng Hang Le (pork curry with tamarind and ginger)
  • Sai Oua (northern Thai sausage)
  • Khao Soi (coconut milk curry soup with noodles)

Local Beverages

  • Nam Oi (sweet and sour herbal drink)
  • Nam Thip (cane sugar drink with lime)
  • Cha Yen (Thai iced tea)

Where to Stay in Nan: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Nan offers a range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. Here are some of our top picks:

  • Boonmee Guesthouse: This charming guesthouse sits on the riverbank and offers cozy and comfortable rooms.
  • Nan Seasons Boutique Resort: This upscale hotel boasts of stunning views, a swimming pool, and a spa.
  • Sinthana Resort Nan: This family-run resort offers homely atmosphere and affordable rooms.

What to Buy in Nan: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Cotton Fabric: Nan is known for its high-quality cotton fabric, which you can buy at local markets and shops.
  • Ceramics: Handcrafted ceramics featuring local designs and patterns make great souvenirs.
  • Hill Tribe Handicrafts: You can find unique handicrafts made by local hill tribes at markets and shops.

Local Culture and Customs of Nan

Nan has a rich cultural heritage, and locals take pride in preserving their customs and traditions. As a visitor, it’s important to be respectful of local culture and customs:

  • Dress modestly when visiting temples and other cultural sites.
  • Remove your shoes before entering sacred spaces.
  • Ask for permission before taking photos of people and religious objects.
  • Refrain from public displays of affection.

Best Time to Visit Nan

The best time to visit Nan is between November and February when the weather is cool and dry, and the landscape is lush and vibrant. March to May is also a great time to visit, although the temperatures can be high. Avoid the rainy season from June to October, which can make outdoor activities difficult.

Do’s and Don’ts of Nan


  • Try the local food and beverages.
  • Learn about local culture and customs.
  • Take part in outdoor activities and adventures.
  • Shop for unique handicrafts and souvenirs.


  • Disrespect local culture and customs.
  • Litter or damage the natural environment.
  • Photograph people without permission.
  • Engage in illegal activities.

Safety and Health

Safety in Nan

Nan is a safe town for travelers, but it’s important to be cautious and vigilant, especially when traveling alone or at night. Keep your valuables secure and be aware of your surroundings.

Health in Nan

Nan is a relatively safe destination in terms of health risks. However, it’s advisable to take the necessary precautions, such as using mosquito repellent and avoiding tap water.

Getting to Nan: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Nan

The nearest airport to Nan is Nan Nakhon Airport, which offers domestic flights from Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Bus Stations Near Nan

Nan Bus Terminal offers regular services to and from Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Chiang Rai, and other nearby destinations.

Other Options

You can also hire a private car or join a tour group to travel to Nan. Local transport options include tuk-tuks, motorbikes, and bicycles.

How to Get Around in Nan

Nan is a small town, and most attractions are within walking distance of each other. However, if you wish to explore further, you can hire a motorbike or use local transport options such as tuk-tuks and songthaews.

Where to Go Next from Nan: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Chiang Rai: This vibrant town is known for its unique temples and local culture. It’s just a few hours’ drive from Nan.
  • Pai: This relaxed town is popular among backpackers and nature lovers, with stunning landscapes and several outdoor activities.
  • Chiang Mai: This cultural hub boasts of terrific food, traditional crafts, and cultural attractions.


Nan is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or just slowing down and taking it all in, there is something for everyone in Nan. With our comprehensive guide, you can plan the perfect trip to this picturesque town and experience all that it has to offer.