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Asia > Southeast Asia > Thailand > Northern Thailand > Northern River Valleys > Phayao
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Phayao town sits on the shores of Phayao Lake.

Phayao (พะเยา) is a city in the Northern River Valleys of Northern Thailand, about 700 km from Bangkok and 100km northeast of Chiang Mai.


Surrounded by mountains and valleys, Phayao sits in a peaceful, though modestly developed, area. The town was the centre of an independent city state until it was folded into the Lannathai kingdom in the mid-14th century.

The modern town covers most of the eastern shore of Phayao Lake.

Get in

Buses run regularly from Bangkok's northern bus terminal (Mo Chit). The north's hubs of Lampang and Chiang Mai also have regular buses. The nearest railway stations are in Lampang and Chiang Mai.

Get around

There are tuk-tuks at the bus station.


The lake and its fishers are a relaxing sight.


  • Take a boat trip to the "sunken wat" in the middle of the lake. Small boats leave from the jetty. Price: 40 baht per person.
  • Take a lakeside stroll or do as the locals do and picnic on the grassy shore.
  • Doi Phu Nang National Park.



  • Hwy 1202 Garden Cafe & Guest House, Hwy 1202 km9.5 (Travelling N at intersection of Pra Tu Chai at Hwy 1 and Hwy 1202 turn right (to Pa Daet), go approximately 9.5km to location on right), +66 87 0004725. Hours variable.
  • Wood Oven Pizza (A block from the waterfront). Authentic American-style pizza with homemade sausages and real fountain drinks. All profits are reinvested in local projects. Pizzas are quite large and are available by the slice. 200+ baht.

A long stretch of cheap (roughly 50 baht) night eateries starts about 200m from the bus station. Buy (and open) beer at the 7-Eleven across the road and take it to your stall of choice.


  • Norbulingka Coffee, 637/2 Phahonyotin Rd, +66 54 411291. 07:00-19:00. Tibetan-style Thai coffee shop with Theravadan bookshelves, Nepalese murals, and prayer flags fluttering. 50 baht.


  • Gateway Hotel, 7/50 Pratugakong Rd (Turn left from the bus station, it is about 200m on the left), +66 54 411333. Modern, air-con, 10 storey hotel, with great views of the lake from the upper floors. Thai or Western buffet breakfast included. Hot showers. Staff are friendly and some English is spoken. 800 baht.
  • Ruernchomkwan Homestay, 39 Chaykwan Rd (On the lake shore, close to the jetty), +66 54 480933, +66 89 4337311. Generally spotless but the bathrooms may not always be the freshest. Susceptible to outside noise and loud maids, but still a decent option. The lake view double room (No 6, 800 baht) on the second floor is lovely and shares a spacious and comfortable terrace with a single room next door. dorm 100 baht, rooms from 500 baht.
  • 1 Tharn Thong Hotel, 55-59 Donsaman Rd, +66 54 431302. Unostentatious concrete building in the city centre, friendly staff, simple and clean rooms with fan or air-con and TV, Wi-Fi, free drop-off at the bus station, bike hire. Not quite as nice as staying at the lake front, but really OK. No English language sign. Good for the price. Up to 300 baht for double room with air-con, cheaper rooms with fan.

Go next

Routes through Phayao
Chiang Rai  N Thai Highway-1.svg S  LampangBangkok

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