People often think of Tak province and its main town, also called Tak, as a pass-through town when heading up to the northern part of Thailand. What most people don’t realise is that Tak is actually a jewel of the north and certainly worth a longer visit than just passing through. We recently spent three days and two nights exploring the province and now have plenty of recommendation for where to visit, eat and stay. Though this area may be less visited than other parts of the country, it is full of Lanna (northern Thai) charm that can’t be missed.
From Bangkok, we started our trip very early in the morning and headed to our destination, the main town of Tak, a small town that’s big on charm and various attractions. It took six hours to drive from Bangkok to Tak, including stops along the way to eat and relax. We reached Tak just before noon and were ready to begin exploring!
We started by paying respect to Buddha for good luck at Wat Phra Borommathat. This is a Temple for paying homage to a 200-year-old Buddha relic that is thought to be good luck for people born in the Year of the Horse and also Luang Por Tan Jai, a big Buddha image that’s 18 metres wide and worshipped by Tak people. The temple also has a museum where we saw collections of rare and ancient utensils, ancient lamps, containers, and both Thai and foreign coins from different periods of time. On the other side of the museum, there is also a beautiful White Stone Luang Phor Tan Jai Buddha image.
Opening Time : Open daily from 05:00 A.M.-06:00 P.M.
Admission Fee : Free entry
Another stunning attraction that is not far away from the Temple is the Petrified Wood Forest Park. At this park, we witnessed how amazing nature can be, visiting a 120,000-year-old petrified tree that is the largest fossilised tree in Asia and the tallest in the world with a height of 72.22 metres and a diameter of two metres. There are seven other fossilised trees in the area nearby. Visitors can walk along the nature trails and study both the fossilised and living trees’ details along the route to learn more about geology and how fossils are formed.
Opening Time : Open daily from 08:00 P.M.-03:30 P.M.
Admission fee : Free entry
During the long ride, our stomachs started rumbling and our energy was quite low, so we decided to drive back to downtown Tak for a break. On the way, we stopped for some Food at Miang Jom Pol. The miang kham, a traditional Thai snack, here is known for its sweet, sour, and slightly salty sauce, which is made using fermented soybeans. Chopped up lemongrass, fresh ginger, lime, garlic, roasted peanuts, grated coconut, and crispy dried rice are wrapped in a black sesame chip or a wild betel leaf, then drizzled with the sauce and eaten in one bite. You can also try another unique version of miang kham with fresh or dried chillis and pea eggplants. It’s so delicious that we bet one tray of the snacks won’t be enough! Anyone who wants to try these miang kham for TakeAway can come directly to the shop or Order online.
Opening Time : Open daily from 09:00 A.M-05:00 P.M.
Tel. : 087-308-2874
Price : 30 baht per tray/35 baht per tray (takeaway)
With only vegetables and herbs, miang kham is certainly tasty but it was not enough to fill our bellies. We continued driving down the same street and soon saw an ancient shophouse selling Takeaway yam, called Yam Khao Krieb Mae Somboon. Khao Yam is a spicy mix of herbs, vegetables, and rice. At present it is rather hard to find this menu, but you can buy this recipe from the production area at Hua Diat community, Amphoe Mueang, Tak province. The process of production is traditionally make and the products are fresh. And one most mouth-watering Restaurant is Auntie Somboon shope.The obvious feature is the thin flour dough mixed with black sesame. You can try crispy one or you can soak in water to make it soft with black-sesame smelling. This shop will choose only the best selective ingredients; shrimp chilli Paste from OTOP, Lampang, minced fish from Phumipol Dam because of its pale colour and not smelly. Vegetables and salad ingredients are fresh. The tasty “Yam” from Auntie Somboon Shop certainly brings back its customers.
Opening Time : Daily 08:00 A.M.-06:00 P.M. (Sunday only from 01:00 P.M.-06:00 P.M.)
Tel. : 094-094-5408
Price : 30 baht per set
We took a break from our already long day by having our yam back in our room at
Silayok Grand hotelsituated in the heart of the town. This hotel was in a perfect location surrounded by shophouses, Restaurants, cafés, and government offices with rates starting from 500 baht. Our spacious room had more than enough space for two people. The hotel staff was friendly and the housekeepers clean the rooms daily – when we first arrived at our room we were welcomed with a fresh scent of cleanliness. Facilities provided include air-con, warm water, WiFi, and breakfast. We would definitely recommend this hotel to others!
Tel. : 055-515-555, 055-515-556, 096-636-6414
Check-in Time : 02:00 P.M.
Check-out Time : 12:00 P.M.
Rate : 500-850 baht
On our second day in Tak, we woke up very early and left the hotel in our nightclothes just so we could rush to a certain street stall for breakfast that is known for selling out within a few hours of opening. When we reached the stall at 06:30 A.M., it was already crowded! This stall serves a local dish that is only eaten for breakfast in Tak province, khao tom pong karee, which is boiled rice soup with curry powder, parsley, and crispy fried wonton. Fragrant from the curry powered and pandan leaves used to boil the rice, and at a reasonable price, we thought this Food cart was one of the best things of Tak. Besides the highlighted dish, there are also some packs of sticky rice with pork, sticky rice with chicken, and bagged curried for sale. This food stall cart is parked in front of 7-Eleven Nong Luang branch and behind the Pra Chao Taksin the Great Shrine. If you’re driving, it’s easy to park your car nearby and then walk to the cart.
Opening Time : Daily from 06:00 A.M.-10:00 A.M.
Tel. : 082-507-6438
Price : 15 baht per bowl
After enjoying our breakfast, we went back to bed….just kidding! We quickly headed back to the hotel to shower and get dressed, then checked out, and headed on to our next destination, Trok Ban Chin, or Ban Chin Alley. Trok Ban Chin is a community which has roots tracing back to the Chinese community in Tak. All along the alley, there are wooden houses built with an interesting mix of Thai, Chinese, and Western architecture, which reveals its prosperity during the Rattanakosin era as a trade centre of Tak. During the Second World War, Trok Ban Chin was mostly destroyed by bombing and many of its inhabitants left..
Today, however, the houses have been renovated to preserve and showcase these rarely seen, historic homes. The most interesting structures include a grand perforated wooden house, the blue-painted wooden house in a Western style that belongs to the Sophanodorn family, the Chin Thing Yu house that boasts an outstanding Western entrance and curved staircase, and Ban Chatharaprasit-osod, a house that’s over 100 years old and belongs to a Chinese family that immigrated to Thailand during the reign of King Rama IV to run a traditional medicine business.
Opening Time : Photo taking is possible during the day
Admission Fee : Free entry
Despite the fact that we were still full, we could not miss trying a dish from Pad Thai Trok Ban Chin, which has been opened for decades on this tiny Thai-Chinese road. Its unique version of pad thai is well-known thank to word of mouth. Furthermore, the owner still lives in this old wooden house and everything has a vintage feel, which makes this Food shop even more attractive.
Here, all the dishes are made from noodles with the speciality being the signature pad thai. The smell of sizzling woks, fresh ingredients, and perfectly stir-fried noodles were so awesome that we could not stop eating, especially when we topped the dish with crunchy pork crackling. It was unbelievable! We also tried a pork wonton soup, which was super delicious with a slightly savoury and sweet soup and stuffed minced pork wontons.
Opening Time : Open daily from 09:00 A.M.-04:00 P.M.
Tel. : 055-551-330
Price : 15-25 baht per dish
From downtown, we started a long, winding drive up to Mae Sot to Take in the fresh mountain air that city people like us often miss. There were many scenery points for us to stop and take photos along the way with stunning views, and we also stopped at the local Talad Mu Ser market to browse fruits and souvenirs sold by hill tribe villagers. It took a little over an hour to reach our Destination – a grand and peaceful hotel called Moei Manee resort and Pha Thai, the only colonial-style white wooden house in Mae Sot. The owner welcomed us like relatives and the place was perfect for relaxation! The location was also convenient because it’s situated in the heart of Mae Sot. There are many types of rooms provided, including single bedrooms, twin bedrooms, and family rooms. There is also a Thai Textile house, that showcases traditional textiles and clothing from many parts of Thailand for sale. Some of the clothes are available for rent as well if you want to get dressed up and take photos around the property.
Location : Tambon Mae Pa, Amphoef Mae Sot, Tak province
Tel. : 086-887-3386
Check-in : 02:00 P.M.
Check-out : 12:00 P.M. (noon)
Price : Start from 1,000 baht
We rested at the hotel briefly before it was time for Dinner. Our goal for visiting Mae Sot was to find a nice play to stay and enjoy some delicious local Food. One of the Restaurants that stood out to us was Ran Khaomao Khaofang, a popular restaurant of the province. The restaurant is surrounded by landscaped grounds that look like a forest park complete with waterfalls and pools of water that blend into the natural backdrop. The Northern food here is also tasty, with recommended dishes being fried fish with herbs, mouthwatering crispy fried fish with chilli sauce, hunglay curry, and local hors d’œuvre, which are also delicious and not too spicy for both Thais and foreigners to enjoy them.
Opening Time : lunch from 11:00 A.M.-03:00 P.M. Dinner from 05:00 P.M.-09:30 P.M.
Location : Tambon Mae Pa, Amphoe Mae Sot, Tak Province
Tel. : 055-532-483, 055-533-607
Price : Starting from 120 baht
After being full from our meal, we fell into a deep sleep and woke up to refreshing morning weather. Though we didn’t want to get out of bed, this day was the last day of our trip and we had to continue our journey. Before leaving Mae Sot, we stopped to grab some souvenirs at Ran Khanom Bai Bua, a Bakery located in the heart of the town. The shop is always busy with customers as it has souvenirs for sale, a Restaurant, Beverages, and a bakery. Anyone who visits the shop can sample some of the Food and snacks at the restaurant before deciding whether to Take some goodies home. Dishes served here include both Thai food and international food, along with beverages, such as fresh coffee and smoothies. The desserts that impressed us a lot were the coconut cake, which was rich and dense with a pleasant aroma but not too sweet, and moist brownies with extra chocolate on top. They are so delicious that you cannot help buying some more to take home!
Opening Time : Open daily from 08:00 A.M.-07:00 P.M.
Location : Mae Sot City Municipality, Amphoe Mae Sot, Tak province
Tel. : 055-533-079, 098-785-3614
When we left the Bakery, our hands were full of treats and it was time we drove back to Mueang Tak to take photos at another Cool check-in-point of the province called Saphan Ban Wang Muang. Because of its topography, which consists of picturesque Rivers and mountains, there are many photo-worthy check-in points in Tak. Ban Wang Muang Bridge, which is built across the Ping River, is another spot we recommend because both sides of this bridge offer beautiful mountainous views. This bridge was built in 2015 to join Tambon Nong Bua Neau with Tambon Wang Muang.
We drove across the bridge and kept driving along the Riverbank until we reached Wat Wang Muang. We wanted to pay respects to the Phra That Buddha image and then feed the fish. This Temple is quite important but very few people outside of the local community know about it. It was built in 1852 with the aim is to propagate Buddhism. The forest monastery has an ubosot, a place for dhamma practise, the Phra That image, a forest Garden, and an almsgiving area. For anyone who wants to completely tour the grounds must spend quite a bit of time here to walk around. Having explored, we believe that the atmosphere in the temple is beautiful and can surely be one of Tak’s leading attractions. Anyone who wants to visit the Phra That image has to walk through the forest for a while to a set of stairs leading up to the statue. In addition to the Buddha image, you’ll also find wonderful panoramic nature, which is worth the walk. Another must-do activity at the temple is fish feeding at the front of the temple. A large number of fish are in this area because it is an animal sanctuary. Fish feed is provided for a small donation.
Price : 5 baht per bag of fish Food
We were running out of time, and after feeding the fish, everyone unwillingly got into the car. After we left the Temple, we wanted to check out a nice café before leaving Tak and we found just the one: Tieng Na Coffee & Bakery Farm. A well-known café in Tak, visitors to the province often stop here to enjoy all kind of savoury dishes, desserts, and Beverage. There was so much to choose from – we were overwhelmed! The café’s atmosphere was gorgeous, like sitting in your neighbour’s backyard surrounded by trees, and taste of the desserts and beverages was so good that we immediately fell in love with them. The first dessert we tried was the blueberry cheese pie, which seems easy to make but it’s quite hard to create the perfect taste. This cheese pie became one of our most favourite cheese pies ever. The Nutella banana croissant was also excellent. The croissant was so fresh and the banana and Nutella is a perfect combo. For drinks, the 64% dark chocolate cocoa was a special signature beverage that was delightfully strong. Alternatively, the orange cold brew was a light coffee scented with orange and a good choice for those who don’t prefer strong coffee. The slight orange flavour and fragrance made this drink especially refreshing.
Opening Time : Open daily from 08:00 A.M.-06:00 P.M.
Tel. : 086-778-0130
Price : Start from 95 baht
After having some sugar and caffeine, it was time to say goodbye to Tak. Though it is a lesser-visited area of Thailand, we completely fell in love with it during our journey and were impressed with the incredible Food, cultural attractions, long History, historic Temples, and gorgeous nature.
Tak isn’t just a province to cross through on your way to the north! We bet that if you visit Tak, you will be absolutely fascinated by this province just like we were!