Road 3 in Nan: a picturesque new tourist spot

PHOTO: Road 3 in Nan has become a popular tourist attraction to snap photos. (via Koi)

We’ve all taken long road trips to get to a cool tourist attraction. But what if the road is the attraction? In the Nan province, a scenic patch of roadway called Road 3 is becoming a popular and very photogenic tourist destination.

Highway 1081 cut through the beautiful hillsides of the northern province connecting the Bo Kluea district to the Santi Suk district. On a nice day, one section of the road weaves through the green hills under the bright blue sky, and the curve of the road forms the shape of the number three, earning its nickname.

The novelty of shape combined with a natural beauty now has crowds flocking there on most weekends, with the roadway getting busy from 11am to 2pm each day and throughout most of the day on weekends.

The popularity of the beautiful road as a tourist attraction is so new, the route has yet to be flooded with vendors selling food and drinks and souvenirs to visitors. The government has improved the pavements in the area and has worked to keep the area clean. The views and road aren’t blocked, but there are some restaurants tucked away for travellers to relax and dine.

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While the road is popular and growing in visitors, the hills still allow some breaks in traffic for people to see and photograph the road carving through the picturesque hillside. Cars pull off the road, out of the way of the scenery so well-timed camerapeople can snap uninterrupted images.

The spot has become so popular for tourists to stop and take incredibly Instagrammable pics that professional photographers now wait by the roadside and offer high-quality souvenir photos of their trip. They offer their services and bargain for rates between 100 and 1,000 baht typically, depending on how many people, poses, and photos they take. They are usually on the road between 8am and 6pm for tourists wanting professional shots.

One Thai tourist on holiday from Bangkok described the visit after posing with her group of seven while a professional photographer shot some 400 photos of them in 20 minutes.

“Road 3 is a very different route than other roads in other provinces. It’s quite miraculous, the beautiful scene built by humans who didn’t imagine that in the future it would become a big tourist attraction. I saw three photographers taking pictures the morning I went with many groups hiring them.”

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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