A small, peaceful province of mostly hills and valleys, Phayao covers an area of 6,335 square kilometres and lies about 690 kilometres north of Bangkok. It is also conveniently accessible by road from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Phayao was formerly ruled by King Ngam Mueang, who is believed to have assisted his close friend, King Mengrai, in establishing Chiang Mai as the new capital of Lanna in the late 13th century. As with other northern principalities, the most visible re m i n d e r s o f re g a l c o n n e c t i o n s a re the Buddhist temples either built or patronised by former rulers. The modern provincial capital of Phayao is set beside an attractive mountain-fringed lake on the banks of which are located several interesting sights. Accommodations and other facilities are modest, but offer simple comforts.