Before the Sukhothai period, the region was inhabited by the Mon, a Burmese ethnic minority, who settled at Ban Tak, about 20 km north of today's Tak. Later the area was an important western gateway of the Sukhothai Kingdom.
Various "the greats" had their armies based in the region and are so associated with Tak: King Ramkhamhaeng the Great, King Naresuan the Great, King Narai the Great, and King Taksin the Great.
In the early nineteenth century, King Rama II moved Tak from the right to the left bank of the Ping River. This established the current Tak as a distinct place from the older town (today's Ban Tak).
The region's mountains and forests contain many national parks, such as Taksin Maharat National Park, Mae Moei National Park, Lan Sang National Park, and Namtok Pha Charoen National Park, and various waterfalls. The grandest are Namtok Thi Lo Su and Namtok Thi Lo Re. They attract tourists and whitewater enthusiasts.
There is no direct flight to Tak. The nearest airport is in Mae Sot (90 km west of Tak), served by Nok Air from Bangkok (DMK). From there, minibuses are departing about hourly and need two hours to Tak.
Buses leave Bangkok's Mo Chit or northern terminal regularly and shouldn't cost more than 300 baht for an air conditioned bus. The journey should take about 7 hours, but allow for longer. From the bus stop it's about a 10 min walk to town centre and about 20 min to Viang Tak. At night, take a samlor to avoid Tak's aggressive feral dogs.
The Transport Company Limited offers daily bus service between Bangkok and Tak between 05:30–13:00 and 16:30–22:00, and between Bangkok and Mae Sot between 08:00–19:00. For further information, contact the Bangkok (Northern) Bus Terminal (Chatuchak) or Mo Chit Mai, Tel. +66 2 9362852–66, or visit their website. For a private bus between Bangkok and Tak between 09:30–22:00, and between Bangkok and Mae Sot at 22:00, contact Than Chit Tour, Tel. +66 55 511307 or Bangkok office Tel. +66 2 9363210–13. For service between Bangkok and Tak between 12:30–22:00, and between Bangkok and Mae Sot at 22:15, contact Choet Chai Tour, Tel. +66 55 511054, +66 55511057 or Bangkok office Tel. +66 2 9360199.
The Transport Company Limited and private operators offer air conditioned and ordinary bus services between Mae Sot (Tak) to Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Phitsanulok, Lom Sak (Phetchabun), Lampang, Phayao, Chiang Mai, Mae Sai (Chiang Rai), Chum Phae (Khon Kaen), and Bo Rai (Chanthaburi). For further information, contact the Tak Provincial Bus Terminal, Tel. +66 55 511057; Mae Sot Bus Terminal, Tel. +66 55 532949; or Thai Phatthanakit Khonsong Company on Intharakhiri Rd, Mae Sot, servicing Mae Sot–Chiang Rai–Mae Sai, Tel. +66 55 532331.
From Bangkok, take Hwy 1 (Phahonyothin Rd) and switch to Hwy 32 (Asian Highway). Drive through Ayutthaya, Ang Thong, Sing Buri, and Chai Nat. After arriving in Nakhon Sawan, turn left to Hwy 1. Travel through Kamphaeng Phet and head for Tak. The total distance is 420 km and takes around 5 hours.
Tuk-tuks can be picked up at the bus station and are reasonably priced.
Rental vehicles, including motorbikes, are non-existent. The town centre is not very big and you can easily walk around it in less than an hour. There are some samlors which hang out at the various 7-Elevens. Your accommodation's staff will likely be able to advise you. When travelling at night, other than along the riverside, be careful of stray dogs.
Tak province has some beautiful waterfalls, including Thailand's largest, the magnificent Thi Lo Su in Umphang. There is a pretty cool hilltribe market on the way to Mae Sot.
While this fairly uninspiring Thai town is out-classed by it natural surroundings, its one saving grace, the riverside, is particularly pleasant at sunset when the evening stalls emerge.
- 1 Lan Sang National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติลานสาง).
- 2 Taksin Maharat National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติตากสินมหาราช).
- Namtok Pha Charoen National Park.
- Khun Phra Wo National Park.
- 3 Bhumibol Dam (Yanhi Dam).
- Si Maharat City Pillar Shrine (ศาลหลักเมืองสี่มหาราช). A shrine was established in 1992 to commemorate the four great kings.
- King Taksin the Great Shrine (ศาลสมเด็จพระเจ้าตากสินมหาราช). In 1947, the people in the town considered that the existing shrine was not worthy of its subject. They built a new shrine and commissioned the Fine Arts Department to sculpt a larger than life size statue of King Taksin the Great in a sitting position with a sword across his lap.
- 4 Wat Bot Mani Si Bunrueang (วัดโบสถ์มณีศรีบุญเรือง). The ubosot (ordination hall) was built during the reign of King Rama IV. There is a Mon–style pagoda that enshrines the Buddha's relics in its umbrella-shaped top. The wihan or vihara houses the principal Buddha image called Luangpho Phutthamon, which was built during the Sukhothai period.
- Wat Doi Khoi Khao Kaeo (Wat Phrachao Tak, วัดดอยข่อยเขาแก้ว หรือ วัดพระเจ้าตาก). The important ancient places are the ubosot (ordination hall) with double-slab-boundary stones signifying royal patronage, the Buddha's footprint in the ubosot, and two chedis (pagodas) where the ashes of King Taksin the Great's father and mother repose.
- Wat Mani Banphot Worawihan (วัดมณีบรรพตวรวิหาร). It has an angular Mon-styled chedi (pagoda) with 16 indented corners at the back. Inside the ubosot, there is a portrait of King Rama V royally given to this temple, and a Buddha image Phra Phuttharup Saengthong.
- Wat Sitalaram (Wat Nam Hak, วัดสีตลาราม หรือ วัดน้ำหัก). The ubosot and a wooden building were built in European-style. The ordination hall once burnt and rebuilt. It has a wood-carved gallery in the front and houses a Buddha image of the Ayutthaya period.
- Trok Ban Chin (ตรอกบ้านจีน). This place is near Wat Sitalaram. Until the extension of the Ping River, the area had been a trading area and on a distribution route of goods and consumption products from the Pho estuary in Nakhon Sawan to Ban Tha Chin.
- Wat Khao Tham (วัดเขาถ้ำ). Inside the temple, there is the Buddha's footprint, Phra Sangkatchai, and Kwan Yin (Goddess of Mercy). Luangpho Thanchai, the stucco Buddha image sculpted within one day, is housed in the ubosot. There is a chedi atop the hill overlooking Tak town.
- Wat Mani Phraison (วัดมณีไพรสณฑ์). Within the compound, there is a unique building called Chedi Wihan Samphutthe which contains 512,028 Buddha images and has 223 small pagodas on its outer surface. The ubosot is more than 200 years old.
- 5 Wat Chumphon Khiri (วัดชุมพรคีรี). A temple more than 200 years old. A newly built chedi is an imitation of Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar. The principal Buddha image in the ubosot is of the Mara-subduing attitude. A 200-year-old drum is kept in the wihan.
- Namtok Mae Kasa (น้ำตกแม่กาษา). There is a path leading up to a high mountain. A cave in front of the waterfall has a 5 m wide stream of water which serves as an entrance to the waterfall.
- Bo Nam Ron Mae Kasa (บ่อน้ำร้อนแม่กาษา). This 2 m wide hot well is in Tambon Mae Kasa. Hot and cool streams flow to meet at this well.
- Hill tribe Development and Assistance Centre and Tak Plant and Production Factor Service Centre (Doi Muser) (ศูนย์บริการวิชาการด้านพืชและปัจจัยการผลิตตาก (ดอยมูเซอ)). In the centre, the Ban Umyom Hilltribe Cultural Centre was established to give knowledge and advice to hill tribe leaders in tourism management. There is a display of clothes, jewellery, and household utensils, and an imitation of the Muser's house. Outside the cultural centre, there is an imitation of a Chakhue dancing ground. (Chakhue is a dance of the Muser)
- Doi Muser Horticultural Experiment Station (สถานีทดลองพืชสวนดอยมูเซอ). The station conducts experiments and research on coffee beans, tea, fruit, vegetables, and temperate flowers. From November to December, the area around the station is covered with Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia diversifolia) in full bloom.
- Doi Muser Hill Tribe Market (ตลาดสินค้าพืนเมืองชาวเขาดอยมูเซอ). On the roadside of the Tak–Mae Sot route (Highway 105) near km29.
- Chaopho Phra Wo Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อพะวอ). The story has it that Chaopho Phra Wo was a Karen warrior who was appointed by King Taksin as chief of the Mae Lamao border pass to protect the land.
- Wat Phothikhun (Wat Huai Toei, วัดโพธิคุณ หรือ วัดห้วยเตย). The interesting feature is the ubosot. The boat-like ubosot has three storeys. The ground storey has no decoration. Decorations were made to the walls, ceiling, and heads of the posts on the second storey. On the third storey where religious ceremonies are performed, it was finely decorated on the walls, posts, and ceiling, with the arts of bas-relief, painting, glass inlaying, and gilding.
- 6 Wat Thai Watthanaram (วัดไทยวัฒนาราม). This is a temple of the Mahayana Buddhism (Great Vehicle) of the Thai Yai people. Inside the temple, there is Phra Phutthamahamuni, an imitation of the sacred Buddha image in Mandalay, Union of Myanmar.
- Thai–Myanmar Friendship Bridge (สะพานมิตรภาพไทย-พม่า). The bridge is in Tha Sai Luat, across the Moei River between Tak's Mae Sot District and Myawadi in the Union of Myanmar.
- Rim Moei Market (ตลาดริมเมย). It is a community on the bank of the Moei River. It is also a market of local products of Thailand and Myanmar, as well as a market for gemstones from Myanmar.
- Phrathat Hin Kio (พระธาตุหินกิ่วที่ดอยดินจี่). It is a miracle of nature that a gigantic rock can stay on such a cliff. The rock is so slim at some point that it seems to be parted into two pieces. A Mon-styled chedi was built on the exact width of the rock.
- 7 The Moei River (Thaungyin in Myanmar, แม่น้ำเมย). This river is the border between Myanmar and Thailand. It is 327 km (203 mi) long, flowing north.
- Mae Ramat District. is a district of Tak that borders Myanmar, 120 km (75 mi) from Tak town. Most of the areas are forests and mountains. It was presumed that the Mae Ramat District was a community of the Karen people.
- 8 Wat Don Kaeo (วัดดอนแก้ว). One of the three marble Buddha images built at the same time in a Burmese style of sculpture was invited from Yangon to house in the wihan (image hall) here.
- Mae Tuen Wildlife Sanctuary (เขตรักษาพันธุ์สัตว์ป่าแม่ตื่น). Most of the areas are a range of high steep and complex mountains where there are different types of forest: hill evergreen forest, dry evergreen forest, mixed deciduous forest, and deciduous dipterocarp forest.
- Doi Khun Mae Tuen (ดอยขุนแม่ตื่น). There is a wide rocky ground and a small cave with stalagmites and stalactites. Inside, where many wild animals, such as barking deer, serow, bats. live.
- Lam Nam Mae Tuen (ลำน้ำแม่ตื่น). This large tributary of the Ping River flows to merge with the main stream above the Bhumibol Dam.
- Doi Soi Mala (ดอยสอยแม่ลัย). It is the highest mountaintop in the Mae Tuen Wildlife Sanctuary, about 1,600 m (5,200 ft) elevation. One interesting thing here is a salamander (or named as Chingchok Nam) which is a rarely seen ancient species, similar to a lizard with a pink body.
- Umphang District. A district bordering the Union of Myanmar and the largest district in Thailand. Umphang was once a gateway town on the western border subject to Uthai Thani Province. It was also a checkpoint for the Burmese people who crossed the border to trade in Thai territory.
- Ban Boran. The houses built on stilts have an open ground floor. There is a set of stairs in the front of the house. A bench is set in parallel to the portico.
- Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary. It covers a total area of 1,619,280 rai and has been maintained as a conservation forest to preserve natural resources. This western woodland is also an origin of a World Heritage Site. Most trees are species of a rain forest and a deciduous forest. Wild animals found are clouded leopard, Malayan tapir serow, hawk, pelicans.
- Namtok Thi Lo Su. This large waterfall is on a limestone mountain, 900 m (3,000 ft) elevation. It originates from Klo Tho Creek cascading along a steep cliff.
- Namtok Thi Lo Cho (Namtok Saifon). Its rapidly flowing stream against boulders causes sprays of water that look like falling rain from the sky, and a rainbow is therefore created.
- Namtok Se Pla. This waterfall on a limestone mountain flows in tiers, and is 10 m (33 ft) wide and 50 m (160 ft) long. Its flowing stream against boulders looks like a beautiful white cloud.
- Namtok Thi Lo Re. The main stream of water flows along the high steep cliff into the Mae Klong River from the height of 80 m (260 ft) amidst the beauty of nature.
- Doi Hua Mot. There are no large trees on these mountains; only small grasses, such as cycad and Thian pa (Impatiens calcicola) grow in general. Wildflowers can be seen in full bloom during the rainy season.
- Tham Takhobi. This large cave with a high ceiling has a wide path in tiers and many walking lines inside. Its stalagmites and stalactites are attractive.
- Ban Tak District. It was once a city of Tak and an important gateway to the west of the Kingdom of Sukhothai.
- Wat Phra Borommathat. The ubosot has a beautifully carved-wooden door. The old wihan has a high ceiling with double tiers, and is well equipped with ventilation channels so that it is cool inside. A gilded stucco Buddha image is housed in the wihan.
- Chedi Yutthahatthi (the Chedi in Honour of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great). This Sukhothai–style artwork stands on a cement square base 12 m (39 ft) in width.
- Petrified Forest Park. where some of the world's largest fossil trees are preserved (the longest one is up to 72 m (236 ft) or about 236 ft (72 m) long) The exact age of the gravel, sand, and fossil wood deposits has not been determined. However, according to the study of geology of northern Thailand region, they must be more than 800,000 years old. This is the first and the largest petrified forest park in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
- Mae Salit Stone Mortar and Production Site. is the largest granite mortar in Thailand. The fact that the village of San Klang is where the famous stone mortar Khrok Ang Sila is made as an "One Tambon One Product" handicraft, is known to a few.
- Pha Sam Ngao. There, three deep holes were carved into the cliff at the mountain foot, and a gilded Buddha image is housed in each of the three niches.
- Wat Chonprathan Rangsan. The temple was established to replace the eight temples which were flooded in 1959. Important items of each of the eight temples were moved to be maintained in this temple.
- Wat Phrathat Kaeng Soi. It was presumed by the Fine Arts Department that this area was probably an important gateway town of the Hariphunchai Kingdom, named "Wiang Soi", over 800 years ago. Today, the archaeological evidence of the town lays underwater, and it can be seen only when the water recedes to a low level.
Wat See Tarra Rahm offers a Thai massage that costs around 100 baht, and a hot herbal body scrub for 50 baht. There are yoga classes every week night from 17:00. It costs 5 baht.
- Loi Krathong Sai Lai Prathip Phan Duang Tradition. Loi Krathong Sai is an ancient tradition which has long been inherited over the past. It is held every year in November which coincides with the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month. Krathong Sai is different from a Krathong cup in general. A cup of coconut shell is used as its body. Since the people of Tak love miang – a local snack made of coconut flesh, and produce miang as an important local product, a lot of coconut shells are left. During the Loi Krathong Festival, the people bring them to be cleaned and polished for making Krathong Sai. Prepared fuel is put in the coconut cups and then lit before floating them away in a line along the Ping River. The glittering cups provide an attractive scene on the Ping River at night. During this event, there is a competition of releasing the Krathong cups called Krathong Sai Lai Prathip Phan Duang to win His Majesty the King's Cup, cultural performances, a beauty contest entitled Thida Krathong Sai, and OTOP booths.
- Taksin Maharachanuson Fair and Red Cross Fair. King Taksin the Great who returned independence to the Thai nation had his background closely tied with Tak. The people of Tak, therefore, organise a traditional fair Taksin Maharachanuson to honour him and publicise his heroic deeds. There is a light and sound presentation held as offerings to propitiate his soul, exhibitions, entertainment performances and booths of agricultural goods and OTOP products. The fair and the Red Cross Fair are an annual event held together during 28 December to 3 January at the King Taksin the Great Shrine.
- Khuen That Duean Kao Tradition. This merit-making event is held to worship the Buddha's relics on the fourteenth waxing moon day and the full moon day of the ninth lunar month of Thailand's North, which coincides with the seventh lunar month of Thailand in general, or around late May or in June. There are processions of long drums, offerings, money donation trees, Pha Pa robe trees and victory flags, and a robe to cover Phrathat (the pagoda where the Lord Buddha's relics are enshrined), starting from Nong Lem, Saphan Bun, to Wat Phra Borommathat. A ceremony is held to offer the pagoda robe. On this occasion, a ritual is done to propitiate the chedi (pagoda) built to the north of the temple by King Ramkhamhaeng to mark his successful elephant-back fight against Khun Sam Chon, the ruler of the city of Chot. Also, the traditional merit-making by giving offerings to Buddhist monks is held at the temple.
There are many morning, afternoon, evening, and night markets, the pick of which is the Thursday night market. It's slightly out of town past Phadungpanya School and so a samlor may be a good idea.
Miang Kham Mueang Tak or Miang Chomphon Its condiments include shredded coconut, fried dried rice, roast peanut, dried shrimps, crispy pork skin, small pieces of lemon, shallot, and ginger, fresh capsicum, soya bean sauce, and sesame cracker or leaves of Cha-phlu (Piper sarmentosum). The sesame cracker will be softened in water. The rest of the condiments will be wrapped by a soft cracker into a titbit and topped with a drop of soya bean sauce. Miang Kham is a kind of snack popular in Tak and nearby provinces.
Kuaitiao Phuen Mueang Remarkably, noodle soup here is cooked with small flat threads. Other condiments are powdered dried shrimp, small pieces of crispy pork skin, shallot, fried garlic, chopped pork, sliced cow pea, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and fish sauce.
Kabong Cho This kind of snack got its name from Burmese words: Kabong means a pumpkin and Cho means 'fried'. Pumpkin is coated with flour and fried until crispy. The tip of crunchiness lays on flour called Paemong (from Burmese pe mont) which is made from young soybeans. Nowadays, besides pumpkin, other vegetables, such as raw papaya, gourd, and bean sprouts are applied. The fried vegetables are eaten with sweet and sour dipping of which ingredients are tamarind juice, sugarcane juice, salt, ground peanut and garlic.
Seng-phe and Halawa These are typical sweets of the people of Thai Yai. Seng-ph looks like red sticky rice conserve, cooked from sticky rice, sugarcane juice and coconut milk, and baked or grilled until its coconut creamy topping turns brown. Halawa is cooked from rice flour, granulated sugar, coconut milk, and tapioca, and topped with coconut cream like Seng-phe. Both of them have a sweet and creamy taste.
Tak is full of street vendors, though quality is hit and miss. The fried chicken (gai tawt) opposite Video Ezy is good, as are some of the stalls in the afternoon market one or two streets back from the river.
Viang Tak and the other big hotel have dark, loud and charmless drinking holes; and in a conservative backwater like Tak, dark, loud and charmless drinking is not fun. The most pleasant drinking is to be had by the river with something picked up from the 7-Eleven.
- Kamphaeng Phet (70 km southeast, 1:10 h by bus) – laid-back provincial town with a World Heritage historical park
- Sukhothai (80 km east) – former capital of the Siamese kingdom with imposing temple and palace ruins and Buddha statues
- Mae Sot (90 km west, 2 hrs by minivan/bus) – at the Burmese border.
- Umphang (260–280 km southwest, 5 hrs by songthaeo) – isolated, mountainous district with several impressive waterfalls, including the Thi Lo Su, Thailand's highest waterfall, as well as some of the country's highest mountain peaks.
|Routes through Tak|
|Chiang Rai ← Lampang ←||N S||→ Kamphaeng Phet → Bangkok|