This route has a connection with the history of the ancient Ping Hang River. According to a historical tale of Chiang Mai, the Ping River used to flow past the eastern side of the ancient Wiang Kumkam Town, and also flowed past the eastern side of the ancient Hariphunchai Town (present-day Lamphun). The distance was approximately 25 km. Later, during the years of Burma’s rule, the river changed its course. What used to be the Ping River, flowing from Wiang Kumkam to Hariphunchai, became the Ping Hang River, while the original Ping Hang River, flowing from Lingha Village of Lamphun Town into the present-day Ping River in Amphoe Pa Sang, is now called the Kuang River instead.
The Ping Hang River is used for commuting between Chiang Mai and Lamphun Towns. The power and majesty of this river’s civilization is attested to by the many villages and more than 30 temples built along its banks.
The communities along the river also created road paralleling the river. This road played an important role as a route connecting Chiang Mai and Lamphun. Later, the route was further developed. According to the recorded evidence, this road was built in 1895, during the reign of King Rama V. Construction began at Nawarat Bridge in Chiang Mai, paralleled the Ping Hang River past Ku Khao Temple, and finally reached Lamphun Town. The road resulted in reducing the importance of the Ping Hang River’s transportation. Consequently, the river faced an influx of people building accommodations. It has been developed so much that now we cannot even imagine the original scenery of this very important river of the past.
This former Chiang Mai-Lamphun Route was constructed along a natural wall on the bank of the Ping Hang River. Besides, it was the first road connecting the two provinces. It has been renovated on occasion. In 1911, for instance, the government brought ‘Yang’ trees for Chiang Mai people to plant along the road, while ‘Khi Lek’ trees were given to Lamphun people to be planted. These days, about 2000 trees give shade along the road and firmly establish the ancient charm of the former Chiang Mai-Lamphun Route. The parallel rows of large trees have been a unique symbol of this scenic road for almost 100 years.