Legend handed down for more than 1,400 years refer to this ancient town as Hariphunchai. Its first ruler was Queen Chamthewi who was of Mon extraction. In the late 12 th century, King Mengrai overran the town and subsequently integrated it into the Lanna Kingdom.

Today, Lamphun still retain its enchanting ambience of a small but old community. It is some 670 kilometres from Bangkok and only 26 kilometres from Chiang Mai. Located on the banks of the Kuang River, its attractions include ancient sites and relics as well as forests and mountains and delightful lakes. Lamphun is the most famous producer of longan fruit.

:: Attractions

The town's most important temple is the centrally located Wat Phra That Hariphunchai. The large compound was founded in 1044 but the 46-m elegantly tapered central Chedi, capped with a 9-tiered umbrella of pure gold, dates from 897. The famous Wat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai was modeled after this Chedi. Renovated in 1930s, the temple contains interesting structures and Buddha images, such as the pyramid-shaped brick Chedi, murals depicting a Buddhist hell, a 15th century Lanna Buddha, the world's largest gong cast in 1860, and a 'Happy Buddha' - fat, smiling Chinese-style Buddha image.

On the opposite side of the road, the small Harinphunchai (Lamphun) National Museum displays an excellent collection of various styles of Buddha images from the Dvaravati, Hariphunchai, and Lanna eras.

In the southeast corner of the old walled city is the Chamthewi Monument where steady streams of locals place offerings at the foot of the statue daily. She is depicted as a well-proportioned, attractive woman with an outstretched left hand and clutching a sword in her left hand. Legend says she arrived in the 8th century from the town of Lop Buri to the south with a group of monks, doctors and other educated people to establish a new city in the north. Under her leadership, Lamphun became a prosperous center of trade and the town's fame was widely known.

Two of the nation's oldest Chedis are located at Wat Chamthewi , commonly known as Wat Ku Kut. Built in 1218, they are the only remaining examples of Dvaravati architecture in Thailand. The paintings on the wiharn interior walls depict scenes from her legendary life.

The province is renowned for its sweet and succulent longan fruit, known as "lumyai" to Thais. The town of Ban Nong Chang Khun to the north of the city, in particular, has an abundance of orchards where harvesting can be seen and fruits bought directly from the orchards. The fruits are in season during July-August. Longans were introduced to the area during the reign of King Rama V, and have since spread into neighboring provinces. There are several species today which are popular among consumers.

The gold capped, white pagoda of Wat Phra That Doi Hang Bat is visible from afar, and offers a scenic panorama of the surrounding areas. A deep depression in the stoney ground is believed to be a sacred place where Lord Buddha once prepared his alms bowl.

Separating Lamphun from Lampang is the densely forested Doi Khuntarn National Park. Within the park is a 1,362 meter-long tunnel, regarded as the longest in Thailand, for the railway that runs through the mountain.

The traditional ways of life of a Karen hilltribe village can be observed at the Huay La Karen Village. See them weave cloth the traditional way, unlike others who have adopted mopre modern practices.

Covering an extensive area in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, and Tak, the main feature of the Mae Ping National Park is the Ping River flowing through the park's forests. On both sides are fertile forestlands with sheer cliffs providing beautiful natural scenery. Certain parts of the waterway spread out to form reservoir-like bodies of water with numerous small islands and rapids. Another attraction is the 7-level Ko Luang Waterfall, just 20 km from the park headquarters and accessible by road. Fascinating stalactites and stalagmites are to be found inside nearby caves.