Phrae: Sabai Sabai in the “Upper North”
Phrae (pronounced “pray” with a rolling ‘R’) is an old and important province in the geographical area formally known as “upper northern” Thailand.
Phrae (pronounced “pray” with a rolling ‘R’) is an old and important province in the geographical area formally known as “upper northern” Thailand.

More than just a province, Phrae is also a town as well as a community. The people that live in Phrae have often been there as families for decades, and though Phrae town is quite small, there are a variety of things in the city limits and it’s surrounding areas to enjoy- including one of the largest reserves of teak forests in the Kingdom.

Of the many small towns and provinces that can be visited in the north, Phrae is one of the more “Sabai Sabai” places- there is no little-to-no traffic, and most of the local coffee shops open late and close early, with normal operating hours between 11 am to 5pm.

Though it is very (very) small, Phrae does have it’s own airport that is serviced exclusively by Nok Air from Bangkok (DMK), which currently operates two flights per day to the province.

At the moment, Phrae is still being developed for tourism, however this does not come at the cost of its charm. In fact, when visiting Phrae it is clear to see that though tourism is being welcomed by locals, there is a concerted effort to preserve its heritage through experience. Here are a couple of things you can do in Phrae that are a part of this vision:

1. Indigo tie-dye
Making indigo tie-dye is the activity that draws the most attention to the small (but growing) tourism sector in Phrae. The activity itself is one that takes a couple of hours but is educational and rewarding- for admission into any of the available tie-dye classes, you get to make something that you will keep, such as a bag or a shirt.

2. Tree Museum
The “tree museum”, also known as the Teak Museum, is a small collection of really beautiful wood. The building itself is in a teak building maintained by the Department of Forest and has a variety of wood on display as well as found in forests in Thailand on display.

Tree Museum 

Tree Museum 

Tree Museum 

Most notably, the museum houses a collection of carved single-piece teak wood elephants that are well-preserved.

3. Bonus: Making “Tung Sai Moo” art at a temple.
Like anywhere else in Thailand, there is no shortage of temples (wats) to visit in Phrae.

One of the local activities that you can participate in is the making of paper cutout flowers, which are called “pig intestines” in Thai language because that is how they look
when finished, depending on your angle.

Tung Sai Moo

Tung Sai Moo

Tung Sai Moo

Tung Sai Moo
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