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Beautiful, Remote Naan

Shots from Naan
NAAN IS ONE OF northern Thailand's most beautiful provinces and it is by far the most remote. Remote in the sense of the passage of time, not so much in terms of distance. Naan is one of the least populated of Thailand's provinces. Because of Naan's unique geographic position, it is one of the best places for travel. Running southward along the northern Thai border with Laos, a portion of the Mae Khong River tuns through this province and there's a distinct Lao personality to flavor the way of life and the culture. The people are comprised of Thai, Laotian, Lawa tribes and Hmong hill tribes.

Green Naan is very large, consisting of 11,695 square kilometers of land. It's naturally irrigated by the Naan River, which runs through the province the entire distance from north to south. One third of the province is open, rolling green plains; two-thirds is mountain ranges, canyons and heavy rugged jungle. It's the home of the nomadic people known as "The People of the Yellow Leaf", named for their constantly moving every few days or so because to sleep in a home that is not green is sure to bring evil spirits through the door.

Though Naan was founded more than 700 years ago, it was during the reign of Naan's fifth ruler, King Phaya Karn Muang, that the present central town was founded in 1368 A.D. It's been the site of much historical maneuvering among the early nations, Siam, Lao Lanxang and China. The local name for the main city, Muang Naan, is believed to be a derivation from the Chinese words, Jiang Naan, meaning Southern City.

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