Phayao Province

Infobox Thai Province
name = Phayao
thai = พะเยา
capital = Phayao town
area = 6,335.1
arearank = 35th
population = 502,780
population_as_of = 2000
populationrank = 46th
density = 79
densityrank = 52nd
isocode = TH-56
governor = Thanasek Atsawanuwat
governor_since = November 2006

Phayao (Thai พะเยา) is one of the northern provinces ("changwat") of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from east clockwise) Nan, Phrae, Lampang and Chiang Rai. In the north-east it borders Xaignabouli of Laos.


The city of Phayao is located at the Phayao lake (Kwan Phayao) in the valley of the Ing River. Three big mountains surround the valley, the Doi Luang (1697m), Doi Khun Mae Fat (1550m) and Doi Khun Mae Tam (1330m).


After Phayao was founded in 1096 it was a small city-state kingdom. In the 13th century it gained enough importance to be equal partner of King Mengrai of Lannathai and the Sukhothai kingdom. However a later king of Lannathai captured Phayao in 1338, and made it part of Lannathai. During the Burmese rulership of Lannathai the city became deserted, and in 1897 became part of the province Chiang Rai. Becoming effective on August 28, 1977 it was split off from Chiang Rai again, and became a province of its own.



The province is subdivided in 9 districts ("Amphoe"). These are further subdivided into 68 subdistricts ("tambon") and 632 villages ("muban").



An extensively fresh-water lake, Kwan Phayao (กว๊านพะเยา) is the largest fresh-water fish habitat in the upper North which provides the livelihood of many of the local people. To protect the lake from pollution, motor boats are not allowed on the lake.

The Pho Khun Ngam Mueang Memorial (อนุสาวรีย์พ่อขุนงำเมือง) commemorates a former king of Phayao, or Phu Kam Yao, who was in power some 700 years ago. During his reign, the state prospered and expanded its territory.

Wat Si Khom Kham (วัดศรีโคมคำ) It houses the largest Buddha statue of Lanna Thai, Phra Chao Ton Luang, a sitting Buddha with a lap width of 14 meters and height of 16 meters. It is said that it took no less than 33 years to complete it.

Ho Watanatham Nithat (หอวัฒนธรรมนิทัศน์). The indigenous museum deals with the history and ancient relics of Phayao, including native culture and traditions and creativity.

Kwan Phayao Pavilion and the Phayao Fresh-water Fishery Station (พระตำหนักกว๊านพะเยาและศูนย์วิจัยและพัฒนาประมงน้ำจืดพะเยา) is the first facility in the world to successfully breed Pla Buk, the giant catfish. There is an aquarium displaying many species of fish and waterplants.

The Chiang Saen-style Chedi at Wat Si Umong Kham (วัดศรีอุโมงคำ) is still in good condition. The Lanna-style Buddha statue, Phra Chao Lan Tu (พระเจ้าล้านตื้อ), is regarded as the most beautiful anywhere.

Wat Phra That Chomthong (วัดพระธาตุจอมทอง) Surrounded by an arboretum, the temple offers a panoramic view of the town and the lake.

Wat Analyo (วัดอนาลโย) Covering an extensive area, cool and shady under leafy canopies of large trees it features building and sculptures of religion-based characters by contemporary craftsmen of great skill.

Namtok Champa Thong (น้ำตกจำปาทอง) is a beautiful and tall waterfall amid natural surroundings.

Ban Tham Indigenous Cultural Centre (ศูนย์วัฒนธรรมพื้นบ้านบ้านถ้ำ) It has a large collection of native agricultural tools and implements as well as ancient objects from which the cultural lifestyle of the Lanna people in the past can be studied.

Doi Phu Nang National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติดอยภูนาง) A variety of birds are found, especially peacocks which come to the park area for breeding from January to March. The park also has a scenic waterfall called Namtok Than Sawan.

Chiang Kham (เชียงคำ) is home to many Thai Lue people. An interesting temple in Chiang Kham is Wat Nantaram (วัดนันตาราม), a Burmese-style site built entirely with teak. Another place of interest is Wat Phra That Sop Waen (วัดพระธาตุสบแวน) with its 700-years-old Lanna-style Chedi.

Namtok Phu Sang (น้ำตกภูซาง) It is fed by a hot spring on the mountain which flows into the brook before cascading over the fall.

Local Products

Products made from water hyacinths. Hand-made cotton (ผ้าฝ้ายทอมือ) is a handicraft of the Thai Lue people.



Sacrificial Combined Force 2324 Monument Fair (งานฉลองอนุสรณ์ผู้เสียสละพลเรือน ตำรวจ ทหาร 2324) is organized annually at the end of January until the beginning of February at the memorial near the Chiang Kham Airport, Tambon Chiang Ban, Amphoe Chiang Kham. It is a merit making ceremony dedicated to the civilians, policemen and soldiers, who passed away in their fighting with the communist terrorists in 1980-early 1981 (2523-early 2524 B.E.). Moreover, it is a charity fair to raise money to assist the descendants of the deceased. Other activities include games, performances, exhibitions and a fair consisting of various booths of the government authorities.

Winter and Red Cross Fair (งานฤดูหนาวและงานกาชาด) is organized at the end of December until the beginning of January every year at the ground near the Phayao Bus Terminal. In the event, there is a fair full of booths from the governmental and private authorities, contests, as well as, various games.

Phayao Jewellery Industry and Quality Products Fair (งานเปิดโลกอุตสาหกรรมอัญมณีและของดีเมืองพะเยา) takes place at the beginning of February every year at the Phayao Jewellery Centre, Tambon Mae Ka. It is a trade fair of jewellery and products of Phayao.

Cassie Flower Blooming Day (งานวันดอกคำใต้บาน) takes place on 14 February every year at the ground in front of the Dok Khamtai District Office. Activities are the handicraft contests and sales of souvenirs.

Pho khun Ngam Mueang Fair (งานบวงสรวงพ่อขุนงำเมือง) is organized on 5 March every year at the Pho khun Ngam Mueang Monument with a beautiful and magnificent procession of the worship offerings.

Thai Lue Cultural Festival (งานสืบสานตำนานไทลื้อ) happens at the beginning of March every year at the Wat Phrathat Sop Waen, Amphoe Chiang Kham, consisting of folk games, cultural performances, as well as, lifestyle of the Thai Lue people. In the event, people will dress up in the traditional costume. Also, there will be a cotton spinning demonstration, dessert making, Lue singing, Choeng or martial art dance, and Makon game.

Songkran Festival (Pi Mai Mueang) (งานประเพณีสงกรานต์-ปี๋ใหม่เมือง) is organized during 13-16 April every year behind the Mueang Phayao Municipality and in every district.

Pu Cha Phaya Lo Fair (Bucha Phra Lo) (ประเพณีปู่จาพญาลอ-บูชาพระลอ) is organized on 9 April every year at Wiang Lo Ancient Town, Ban Huai Ngio, Amphoe Chun, with an aim to pay respect to the Wiang Lo ancestors and to create folk consciousness to cherish and preserve the site. In the event, there are parades, light and sound presentations, a procession inviting the spirits of Wiang Lo’s past kings, Khan Tok dinner at night, as well as, cultural performances.

Phayao Lychee and Quality Products Fair (งานเทศกาลลิ้นจี่ และของดีเมืองพะเยา) takes place in May every year at the ground behind the Mueang Phayao Municipality. In the event, there are fairs offering lychees and quality products of Phayao and a lychee beauty pageant.

Sky Rocket Festival (งานทำบุญบ้องไฟ) is organized in June every year at Tambon Ang Thong, Amphoe Chiang Kham. In the festival, there is a traditional dance procession and sky rocket contest.

Candle Procession Festival (งานแห่เทียนพรรษา) takes place one day before the Buddhist Lent Day at the ground behind the municipality office and in every district. Beautifully engraved candles are brought to participate in the parade. Various cultural shows are performed, as well as, the contest for the most beautiful candle is organized. After the contest, all the candles are offered to the temples.

Hilltribe Traditional Festival (งานประเพณีชาวเขา) is organized in December every year at Tambon Rom Yen, Amphoe Chiang Kham. Traditional dances and games of the hill tribe people, which are a winter tradition, are performed.

External links

* [ Province page from the Tourist Authority of Thailand]
* Website of province
* [ Phayao provincial map, coat of arms and postal stamp]

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