Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization)

Nan – A City of Lanna Handicrafts and a Member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network

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         Explore the city of history at Nakorn Nan Identity Hall, a modern art museum which incorporates the traditional Lanna art to serve as a learning center of the city’s culture and tradition. Experience the unique handicrafts of Nan province which are undergoing development to reach the global audience.   

          Nan has become one of the popular destinations among tourists seeking to escape the hectic city life for a retreat, experiencing the charms of the province’s slow-paced lifestyle. Besides its beautiful nature, Nan has many other tourist attractions for visitors to experience. These include the “Nakorn Nan Identity Hall” and creative tourism activities which enable visitors to experience the local lifestyle.

Photo: kwanchai /

Nan – The “Slow Life” City and Member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network

          As previously mentioned, Nan is a historical city rich with unique culture, a variety of traditions, and signature handicrafts. The Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization), or DASTA, designated its Nan Old City Special Zone Office to collaborate with the Nan Provincial Administrative Organization and relevant organizational networks to develop the core competencies of the province. The objectives of the collaboration are to drive Nan to become a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the area of local arts and crafts, as well as promoting cultural tourism to generate sustainable revenue for the community.

Nakorn Nan Identity Hall – The Source of Historical Information

          The contemporary art museum with a façade decorated with its signature white and brown colors. The gable roof is based on the traditional Lanna design. A photo-taking spot with the name of the museum is also provided at the front of the building for visitors to capture their moments as souvenirs. The interior of the museum is divided into 9 rooms – each room hosting exhibitions which present the history and background of Nan from past to present. The exhibitions effectively portray how people, culture, tradition, and art shape the province and its unique charm throughout the course of history.

          Moreover, tourists can experience the following four activities organized by the local community to experience the authentic Nan lifestyle:

         1. Ma Tao Lanterns at Ban Kom Kham, Muang Teed Subdistrict, Phu Wiang District

          Ma Tao Lanterns are named after the northern dialect “Ma Tao,” which means “watermelon” – suggesting the shape of these unique lanterns. These lanterns are hung as décor, and were traditionally decorated at the residences of nobles and chiefs upon guest visits. Locals also use the lanterns to decorate temples on Buddhist holidays and other special occasions. They are popular gifts for almsgiving, with the belief that the ceremony will bring brightening joy and prosperity to the giver – similarly to the light shining from the lanterns. The interior framework of the lantern is formed by bamboo, with corners similar to diamonds and a circular shape resembling watermelons. The exterior of the framework is covered with Sa Paper, decorated with golden paper in various patterns. These include the floral patterns, zodiac patterns, and rabbit patterns. The final steps include attaching the tails of the lanterns and hanging them on poles.

          Those who are interested to participate in workshops and activities may contact the center daily from 08:00-16:00 at the Kom Ma Tao Learning Center (Ban Kom Kham) on Thiranant Road. Tel: 0898540387
          2. “Tung Ka King” at Phra Kerd Temple, Nai Wiang Subdistrict, Muang Nan District

          “Tung Ka King” is a Thai Yai name, where “Ka” means “equal to” and “King” means “human.” Since “Tung” is a flag unique to northern Thailand, “Tung Ka King” refers to a human-sized flag. To be precise, it is a flag with a size equivalent to its maker or owner. The flag is used for ceremonies and rituals for blessing the owner or driving away bad omens. “Tung Ka King” is made of paper with patterns resembling angels and deities, with a size corresponding to its owner. The flag is exclusive to Nan province.

          The process of designing the “Tung Ka King” requires 3-4 days, since the design and pattern-making procedures can be time-consuming. Visitors who are interested in making their own “Tung Ka King” are encouraged to contact the community in advance, so the community members can make initial preparations to save time. Visitors can the enjoy decorating the “Tung” on-site and present them to the temple on the same day. Contact Information: A. Dampawun Mahayasawant (Pa Yuang) Tel: 087-9815338

          3. Ban Taam Weaving Community, Bor Suak Subdistrict, Muang Nan District

          The community members of Ban Taam have always used bamboo to weave utensils and household furniture. With the abundance of trees surrounding the community, the locals developed their woven goods into products that have generated sustainable revenue over the years. The signature product is the “Ta Laew” talisman, crafted with a single bamboo and woven into a pentagram to represent five gods. Locals believe that the talisman can protect its owner from evil and supernatural forces. Moreover, locals also weave bamboo to construct the “Ta Laew Mai Na” as an object believed to protect their crops from pests and plagues.  


          Those who are interested may contact the Ban Taam Weaving Community Enterprise daily by calling 0942344770 (Mae Sri Phan). The cost per person for the activities is 120 Baht, or 150 Baht including food.

          4. Northern Thai Dialect Calligraphy Worship at Nan Province

          Another activity in which visitors cannot miss is the Northern Thai Dialect Calligraphy Workshop. Since the ancient Northern Thai dialect and letters are not commonly used today, there are only a few remaining people who still master the reading and writing skills of the dialect. These dialect experts gathered to provide workshops for visitors in Nan province, providing what is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. The workshop is 2 hours long, and the Learning Center provides visitors with two types of bags to be decorated with calligraphy to choose from. The first type is a regular bag, with a price of 200 Baht. The second type is a bag decorated with Northern Thai textiles, priced at 400 Baht. The workshop involves experts guiding visitors to write the Northern Thai dialect on their bags of choice as décor. Those who are interested in the workshop may contact Khun Boonchote Saleeon daily via the following mobile number: 0898525457.

          Besides its lush nature, Nan province holds a wealth of Lanna culture and tradition. For those who seek to experience the authentic Lanna culture, visiting the Nakorn Nan Identity Hall and participating in the four community-organized activities will fulfill their desire.
Dasta Thailand