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Phayao History

Phayao or Mueang Phu Kamyao was once a town in the Lanna Thai Kingdom. “Phu Kamyao” or “Phayao” means the Doi Yao or Long Mountain Village, which was established in 1095 by Phokhun Si Chom Tham, a king of the Lua Changkharat Dynasty of the Hiranyanakhon Ngoenyang Chiang Saen. The town was in the most prosperous period during Phokhun Ngam Mueang’s reign. Later, there were changes in its administration in accordance with the influences of various empires that had ruled over this land. Until the Rattanakosin Period, the name “Phayao” was changed into Phayao and became a part of Chiang Rai province. On 28 August, 1977, it was acclaimed the 72nd province of Thailand.

Phayao is a province that tourists usually overlook and rather pass to travel to Chiang Rai. In fact, Phayao also possesses a variety of beautiful and well-known tourist attractions, especially the perfect condition of forests. They are shady with large trees covering the province’s area. Although there was deforestation in the past, forests have recovered as time has passed. Kwan Phayao is a viewpoint spot to admire the nice sunset during dusk. Famous fruit of the province with a sweet taste comparable to those of other places is lychee which usually comes out during May. Handicrafts made of water hyacinth in modern designs well reflect the craftsmen’s skills of Ban San Muang. Moreover, there are many national parks with a variety of tourist attractions awaiting for tourists to come and experience. For example, Doi Phu Nang National Park is a habitat of the largest numbers of peacocks in the North, while the 33°C waterfall is located at Phu Sang National Park.

Phayao covers an area of approximately 6,353 square kilometres. Administratively, it is divided into 7 districts and 2 minor districts including Amphoe Mueang Phayao, Amphoe Chun, Amphoe Chiang Kham, Amphoe Chiang Muan, Amphoe Dok Khamtai, Amphoe Mae Chai, Amphoe Pong, King Amphoe Phu Sang, and King Amphoe Phu Kamyao.


Chiang Rai is administratively divided into 18 districts; namely, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Rai, Amphoe Chiang Khong, Amphoe Chiang Rung, Amphoe Chiang Saen, Amphoe Doi Luang, Amphoe Khun Tan, Amphoe Mae Chan, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang, Amphoe Mae Lao, Amphoe Mae Sai , Amphoe Mae Suai, Amphoe Pa Daet, Amphoe Phan, Amphoe Phaya Mengrai, Amphoe Thoeng, Amphoe Wiang Chiang Rung, Amphoe Wiang Chai, Amphoe Wiang Kaen and Amphoe Wiang Pa Pao.

How to get here

By Car

Many routes can be taken as follows:

Route 1 : Take Highway No. 32, Asia Highway, passing Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Ang Thong, Sing Buri, and Nakhon Sawan Provinces. Go into Highway No. 1 in Nakhon Sawan, passing Amphoe Khlong Khlung in Kamphaeng Phet and Tak Provinces. Pass Amphoe Thoen, Amphoe Sop Prap, and Amphoe Ngao in Lampang Province. Enter Amphoe Mueang Phayao. The total distance is 755 kilometres.

Route 2 : Take Highway No. 32, Asia Highway, passing Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Ang Thong, Sing Buri, and Nakhon Sawan Provinces. Turn right into Highway No. 117 until reaching Phitsanulok and turn left into Highway No. 12 to Sukhothai. Turn right along Highway No. 101, passing Amphoe Den Chai in Phrae Province and turn left into Highway No. 103, passing Amphoe Rong Kwang. Take Highway No. 1, passing Amphoe Ngao into Amphoe Mueang Phayao. The total distance is 782 kilometres.

Route 3 : This travel route can be conducted in a circle by taking the route of Bangkok –  Nakhon Sawan – Phitsanulok – Sukhothai – Si Satchanalai – Den Chai – Phrae – Rong Kwang – Phayao, a total distance of 782 kilometres. The return trip is by taking the route of Phayao – Chiang Rai – Mae Suai – Wiang Pa Pao – Doi Saket – Chiang Mai – Lampang – Tak – Bangkok, a total distance of 966 kilometres or taking approximately 9 hours.

By Bus

The Transport Company Limited provides both ordinary and air-conditioned bus services, leaving the Northern Bus Terminal on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road. For further information, please contact Tel: 0 2576 5599 or or the private-run Siam First Tour, Tel: 0 2954 3601, Sombat Tour, Tel: 0 2936 2495 – 9, the Transport Company Limited (Phayao Office), Tel: 0 5443 1363, 0 5443 1488.

From Chiang Mai, there are both ordinary and air-conditioned buses to and from Phayao everyday. For further information, please contact the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal on the Super Highway Road, Tel: 0 5324 2664

By Train

From Hua Lamphong Railway Station, a train can be taken to Lampang or Chiang Mai Railway Station and continue by bus to Phayao. For further information, please contact the State Railway of Thailand, Tel: 1690, 0 2220 4334, 0 2220 4444 or

By Air

There are many direct flights from Bangkok to Chiang Rai every day by;

Thai Air AsiaTel. 0 2515 9999
Thai AirwaysTel. 1566, 0 2628 2000

Distances from Amphoe Mueang Phayao to other districts:

Amphoe Dok Khamtai15Kilometers
Amphoe Mae Chai24Kilometers
Amphoe Chun48Kilometers
Amphoe Chiang Kham76Kilometers
Amphoe Pong79Kilometers
Amphoe Chiang Muang117Kilometers
Amphoe Phu Kamyao18Kilometers
Amphoe Phu Sang87Kilometers

Distances from Amphoe Mueang Phayao to nearby provinces.

Chiang Rai94Kilometers
Amphoe Mae Sai (Chiang Rai)156Kilometers
Chiang Mai222Kilometers

Attractions highlight

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