Phayao Lake: A Hidden Gem in Northern Thailand

Phayao Lake, also known as Kwan Phayao, is a stunning freshwater lake located in the northern region of Thailand. It is the fourth largest lake in the country, covering an area of about 1,980 hectares and has a maximum depth of 1.5 meters. The lake is surrounded by picturesque mountains and palm trees, making it a popular destination for tourists seeking natural beauty and tranquility.

Phayao Lake is a must-visit destination for those traveling to Northern Thailand. The lake offers a variety of activities for visitors, including cycling, fishing, and picnicking. Visitors can rent a bicycle for approximately 50 baht and spend an enjoyable hour or so cycling around the lake. The lake is also home to about 50 species of fish, making it a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts. In the evening, locals and tourists alike can be found enjoying the low sun, picnicking, exercising, and aerobics at the lake.

Phayao Province is a hidden gem in Northern Thailand, and Phayao Lake is undoubtedly its star attraction. The province is located about 691 kilometers north of Bangkok and is known for its natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture. Phayao Lake is a perfect place to relax and unwind, surrounded by stunning scenery and a peaceful atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities or just a place to relax, Phayao Lake is definitely worth a visit.

Location and Geography

Phayao Lake, also known as Kwan Phayao, is the largest freshwater lake in Northern Thailand and the fourth largest in the country, covering an area of about 1,980 hectares. The lake is located in the province of Phayao, which is situated in the northern region of Thailand. The town of Phayao, the capital of the province, is located on the shore of the lake.

Phayao is surrounded by mountains, including the Phi Pan Nam Range, which adds to the scenic beauty of the area. The lake is fed by the Ing River, which flows through the town of Phayao before entering the lake. The shape of the lake is almost half-circle-moon shape, with a depth of 1.5 meters.

Description of Phayao Lake

Phayao Lake is a popular attraction for visitors to the area. The lake is home to about 50 species of fish, making it a popular spot for fishing. Visitors can rent a boat and spend a relaxing day on the lake, taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.

The lake is also home to a variety of aquatic plants, including water hyacinth, which adds to the natural beauty of the area. There is a small island in the middle of the lake, which can be accessed by boat. The island is a popular spot for picnicking and enjoying the views of the lake.

Overall, Phayao Lake is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Northern Thailand. The natural beauty of the area, combined with the peaceful atmosphere, makes it a perfect spot for relaxation and enjoying the outdoors.

History and Culture

Phayao Lake has a rich history and culture that is deeply intertwined with the region’s natural resources. The area around the lake was once a vital source of water for the surrounding villages, and it was here that the ancient city-state kingdom of Phayao was founded in 1096. Over the centuries, Phayao grew in importance and became an equal partner with King Mangrai of Lan Na and the Sukhothai kingdom in the 13th century.

Temples and Buddha Images

One of the most striking features of Phayao’s cultural heritage is its many temples and Buddha images. The most famous of these is Wat Si Khom Kham, which is located on the southern shore of the lake. This temple is home to a stunning golden Buddha image that is said to be over 500 years old. Other notable temples in the area include Wat Analayo, Wat Sri Don Chai, and Wat Phra That Chomthong.

Phaya Ngam Mueang Monument and City Pillar Shrine

Another important cultural landmark in Phayao is the Phaya Ngam Mueang Monument and City Pillar Shrine. This monument is dedicated to the legendary king who founded the city of Phayao, and it is a popular spot for tourists to take photos. The City Pillar Shrine, which is located nearby, is a sacred site where locals come to make offerings and pray for good fortune.

Phayao Cultural Exhibition Hall and Stone Inscription

For those interested in learning more about the history and culture of Phayao, the Phayao Cultural Exhibition Hall is a must-visit destination. This museum features exhibits on everything from the region’s ancient kingdoms to its traditional pottery and teakwood columns. Another fascinating cultural artifact in the area is the Phayao Stone Inscription, which dates back to the 15th century and is one of the oldest examples of written Thai language.

Overall, Phayao’s rich history and culture make it a fascinating destination for travelers looking to explore Thailand’s lesser-known regions. Whether you’re interested in ancient temples, traditional crafts, or the region’s fascinating history, there’s something for everyone to discover in this beautiful lakeside town.

Activities and Attractions

Phayao Lake is a beautiful destination that offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the top things to do and see around the lake.

Boat Rides and Scenery

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Phayao Lake is by taking a boat ride. There are several boat tours available that offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The boats are usually operated by local fishermen and can be hired from various locations around the lake.

Walking Street and Cafes

Phayao Lake has a charming walking street that runs along the lake’s edge. The street is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery. There are also several cafes around the lake that offer great views and delicious food.

Parks and Promenade

Phayao Lake has several parks and promenades that are perfect for a leisurely stroll or picnic. The most popular park is Kwan Phayao, which is located on the northern side of the lake. The park features a large fountain, gardens, and a playground for children.

Phu Langka Forest Park and National Parks

Phu Langka Forest Park is located about 30 minutes from Phayao Lake and is a great place for hiking and trekking. The park features several trails that lead to stunning viewpoints and waterfalls. There are also several national parks in the area, including Doi Luang National Park and Doi Phu Nang National Park, which offer great opportunities for hiking and wildlife watching.

Waterfalls and Hot Springs

Phayao Lake is surrounded by several waterfalls and hot springs that are worth visiting. Namtok Champa Thong is a beautiful waterfall located about 20 minutes from the lake, while Namtok Phu Sang is a 7-tiered waterfall located in Phu Sang National Park. There are also several hot springs in the area, including Mae Puem Hot Springs.

Viewpoints and Sunrise/Sunset

There are several viewpoints around Phayao Lake that offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The best time to visit these viewpoints is during sunrise or sunset when the sky is painted with beautiful colors. Some of the best viewpoints include Phu Langka Viewpoint and Phu Chi Fa.

Overall, Phayao Lake is a great destination for those looking to relax and enjoy the beauty of Northern Thailand. Whether you’re interested in hiking, boating, or simply enjoying the local cuisine, there’s something for everyone around the lake.

Accommodation and Reviews

When it comes to accommodation in Phayao, there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you prefer hotels or guesthouses, there is something for every budget and preference.

Hotels and Guesthouses

Some of the most popular hotels in Phayao include Win Hotel Phayao and Sabuy Best Hotel Phayao. Both of these hotels offer comfortable modern rooms and free WiFi access in all areas. Win Hotel Phayao is located in the city center, making it a great option for those who want to be close to all the action. Sabuy Best Hotel Phayao, on the other hand, is located close to the lake, offering beautiful views and a peaceful atmosphere.

If you prefer guesthouses, there are plenty of options to choose from as well. Sabuy Residence Phayao offers good value for money rooms close to the lake. The breakfast gets rave reviews as does the home-cooked Thai food and the owners are super friendly. Another great option is Kwan Phayao Lake House, which is located right on the lake and offers stunning views.

Breakfast and Dishes

When it comes to breakfast and dishes, Phayao has plenty to offer. Many hotels and guesthouses offer a complimentary breakfast, which is a great way to start your day. Some of the popular dishes in Phayao include Khao Soi, a Northern Thai noodle dish, and Som Tam, a spicy papaya salad.

If you’re looking for coffee shops, there are plenty of options in Phayao Town and Phayao City. Some of the popular coffee shops include Coffee in Town and Mobile Coffee, both of which offer great coffee and a cozy atmosphere.


When it comes to reviews, many travelers have had positive experiences staying in Phayao. Guests have praised the hotels and guesthouses for their comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and great locations. Many guests have also enjoyed the local dishes and the beautiful views of the lake.

Overall, Phayao offers a great selection of accommodation options, delicious food, and stunning views. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly guesthouse or a luxurious hotel, you’re sure to find something that meets your needs in this beautiful city.