The provincial capital is 690 kilometers north of Bangkok.
Phayao was formerly ruled by its own kings, one of whom, King
Ngam Muang, is believed to have assisted his close friend, King
Meng Rai, in establishing Chiang Mai as the new capital of Lanna
Thai during the 1290s. As with other northern principalities,
the most visible reminders of regal connections are the Buddhist
temples former rulers either built or patronized. The modern
provincial capital edges a mountain fringed lake on the banks of
which are located Wat Sri Khom Kham and the hilltop Doi Chom
Thong, known by locals as 'Phrathat Chom Thong'. The former
contains a principal Buddha image some 17 meters in height and
14 meters wide at the lap. A folk museum in the lakeside
compound contains antiques and exhibitions of local life styles.