This week we’re talking to Rachel Devlin about her recent exploration way off the tourist trail…to the north of Thailand and the city of Lampang—the provincial capital.
Though Thailand was never formally colonized by the West, its northern provinces—particularly Lampang—were heavily influenced by British and American immigrants. American Protestant missionaries arrived in the mid-to-late 19th century. At the same time, the British took advantage of the then-booming teak industry.
Today, the city of Lampang—a mere 90-minute drive from Chiang Mai—heads the province of the same name. Though it’s a sprawling, modern metropolis set against a rural backdrop of rice fields and small mountains, you can still find evidence of these British teak wallahs, or loggers, around Lampang’s old town.
It’s a city of traditional crafts—the local ceramics are a highlight—and ancient ways. Reflecting a clash of cultures that’s endured for centuries, the local Buddhist temples are built in a Burmese style, in some spectacular settings. In between visiting those, Rachel got to enjoy the local cuisine, night markets, vigorous hiking, and a 1930s Hollywood/Broadway connection that’s controversial to this day.
But for Rachel, who’s lived in nearby Chiang Mai for years, the simple conveniences of Thai life are always the most enjoyable. Though Lampang’s history and culture is impressive, it’s also a top spot to just chill. In her own words: “This is a great place to stroll, stop for some $4 rice or noodles from a street cart, get a massage for $6, and take in the lovely old buildings.”
Join host, Jim Santos, as he meets Rachel Devlin in the latest episode of Bigger, Better World.
Read her full article in the August issue of the International Living Magazine: Temples, Teak Barons, and Mystical Quartz in Thailand.
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