Nestled in a valley between several mountain ranges in northern Thailand, Phayao is a serene slice of rural northern Thailand. Despite the beautiful and massive Phayao lake, the town hardly ever sees any tourists.
With plenty of seating along the lakeside, Phayao is known to be a town with a really relaxed vibe. Prior to the 1,300’s, Phayao actually used to be it’s own independent state. In the early 1300’s Phayao was absorbed into the Lannathai Kingdom. Today there are still numerous hill tribes that live out traditional lifestyles in the surrounding mountain areas.
Check out what XploreAsia teacher Steven Voortman has to say about his experience living and teaching in Phayao City!
What is special and interesting about your town?
“My town has a massive lake with a lakeside promenade of bars and restaurants, as well as a Wat on an island in the middle of the lake.”
Where are your favorite places to go out to eat and drink?
“Warehouse 9 is an awesome bar! Then there is BM bar, which is more of a nightclub, but so much fun, otherwise there are lots of little coffee shops around town and a couple of pizza places. There are nice places along the lake to eat and drink.”
Where can you go or what can you do to exercise?
“There are several gyms in Phayao, however, they are really expensive. There is one “muscle” gym that is well priced that I have signed up with.”
Where can you shop for all the necessities?
“There is a Tesco Lotus about 15 min out of the city center (walking) and a “mall” in town with a non-perishable foods type shop. If you want fresh veg go to Tesco, if you want fruit, go to local vendors down the street from Anuban Phayao.”
What is your accommodation like?
“Accommodation is fair, double sized bed with a large room and en-suite bathroom, and I also have a balcony, fridge, nice view etc. My room does get exceptionally hot from the afternoon sun though. It’s in an apartment/hotel complex where the other foreign teachers stay, but a few have moved out to smaller houses just across from my place.”
What can you do for fun in the evenings?
“There are a couple of restaurants, but the “night-life” consists of 2 bars by the lake, but don’t get me wrong, the bars are jamming. There are live bands almost every night, and djs on the weekends. But that’s about it. There is a cinema, but it’s kind of expensive, and only has English movies every other day.
What do you do on the weekends?
“Sleep, exercise, have movie nights, take the scooters out for a ride down the back-streets… Phayao’s quite far from neighboring big cities, so you’d have to make a weekend trip out.”
What is the best nearby excursion or trip?
“Chiang Rai is only an hour bus away, which is awesome, but in phayao, there are National Parks fairly far from the city, about 30 min by scooter. Phayao doesn’t really have many major tourist attractions. The Bo 12 viewing point is pretty amazing (bit of a hike to get there though).”
What are some tips you could give to new teachers in your town?
“Buy an induction heater, it’s well worth the investment. Also, get a scooter. Even though everything is walking distance, having a scooter makes weekends bearable and shopping trips a breeze.”