Lanna or Lannathai is the given name of a prosperous self ruling kingdom, once the power base of the whole of Northern Thailand as well as parts of present day Burma (Myanmar) & Laos. The title means “Land of a million rice fields’.
The rich culture and history owe much to the influence of Burma and, to a certain extent Laos. Still found in northern temples is the script of Lanna, which is probably the original Thai script and thought to be based on Mon. A similar script is still in use today by the Shan people.
Lanna is completely different from other provinces of Thailand in cuisine, culture and custom. It is generally acknowledged, throughout Thailand, that the Lanna people are the friendliest and politest in the country. The charm and gentleness of the Lanna seldom fail to impress even the most demanding of visitors.
The history of modern Thailand begins 5,000 years ago. The ancestors of today’s Thai people lived in areas of Southern China. Through various migration streams they worked their way south to Thailand, Burma and Lao. They entered today’s Thailand at Chiang Saen (Yonokanagakom) on the southern banks of the Mae Khong River; this gateway to Siam is known to have been a kingdom as early as 773 A.D.