NAN PROVINCE

The northern reaches of the country, Nan deserves a visit for its natural beauty and its ethnic groups, very different from those of other northern provinces. Outside the valley of Mae Nam Nan, the Mien and, to a lesser extent, Hmong predominate, but the province is home to four other groups less known and rarely encountered elsewhere: Thai Lü, the Mrabri the Htin and Khmu.

Foreigners can now enter Laos at Ban Huay Kon village, 140 km north of Nan

Nan Wat Phra That Khao Noi, Nan, Thailand

Because of its isolation, Nan is not a tourist destination. In addition, the city has little character. Howev ¬ ever, if you take the time to get there, you will discover a city rich in history and culture. Many of its inhabitants are Thai Lü, descendants of immigrants from Xishuangbanna, in southern China. This cultural heritage is manifested in art and architecture, especially its lovely temples. The remains of the ramparts and several former wkt reflect the influence of Lanna.

History

For centuries Nan was an independent kingdom and isolated, virtually cut off from the outside world. The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, became a power when several small Meuang (city-states) is uni ¬ form Nanthaburi for rent in the middle of the fourteenth century. At the end of the fourteenth century, Nan was one of nine Thai-Lao principalities of the North, which included Lan Na Thai. The city-state prospered until the fifteenth century under the name of Chiang Kiang (cited Middle), a reference to its location halfway between Chiang Mai (New City) and Chiang Thong (Golden City, the current Luang Prabang ). The Burmese invaded the kingdom in 1558 and many of its inhabitants were transferred as slaves in Burma the city was almost deserted until western Thailand was retaken from the Burmese in 1786. The local dynasty then regained its sovereignty and remained semi-independent until 1931, when Nan resigned to accept the tutelage of Bangkok.

Trekking and rafting

Nan does not offer a plethora of organized treks as Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, and most visitors, especially Thais prefer floating than walking. Rafting on the Mae Nam Wa in the northern province, is practiced in flood period (September to December), preferably at the beginning of the rainy season. Rapids, Levels I to IV, along a jungle preserved and isolated villages.

THE MURALS OF WAT Phumin

Wat Phumin Thailand enjoys the same fame as the Sistine Chapel in Europe. Reproductions of the murals are sold everywhere in the middle of junk from the night market in Chiang Cà up postcards sold Bangkok. While depicting scenes happy, they were made at a time when Nan kingdom ceased to be a semi-independent and include several examples of social and political commentary, a rarity in Thai sacred art.Nan

These paintings, commissioned by Jao Suliyaphong, the last king of Nan illustrate particular Khaddhana Jataka, a relatively unknown story of one of Buddha’s life which, according to the excellent book by historian David K. Wyatt, Reading Thai Murals, was never described elsewhere in the Buddhist world. This story, on the left side of the north wall of the temple is an orphan looking for his parents. According to Wyatt, the story was chosen as a metaphor for the kingdom of Nan, also abandoned by a succession of “parents”, the Thai kingdoms of Sukhothai, Chiang Mai and Ayuthaya. At about the time of the execution of paintings, Nan

was incorporated into Siam by King Rama V, and most of its territory was ceded to France. Discontent that caused this decision appears in a scene on the west wall shows two male monkeys attempting to copulate on a background which, according to Wyatt, resemble the French flag.

The paintings are also interesting for their beauty, all the more remarkable that the artist had not Thit Buaphan while a limited color palette. They also fascinated by the vivid descriptions of daily life in Nan at the end of the nineteenth century. A representation of three members of a hill tribe on the west wall includes details like a man with a huge goiter and a barking dog, suggesting that this group is abroad. The recurring presence of a man wearing a shawl woman, busy with tasks traditionally feminine, one of the first descriptions of katows (transsexuals). The artist himself is depicted on the west wall, flirting with a

wife. Whereas Thit Buaphan, artist, spent more than 20 years to complete these paintings, we can forgive him this little sign of pride.

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