In the summer of 2017, we destined our yearly Northern Roadtrip to Nan and one of our sightseeing spots was the beautiful valley of Nan, also famous for its salt mines in Bo Klua. We drove from Phayao to Nan on another one of Thailands most impressive routes, Road No. 1091. The almost 3-hour long ride sometimes gave you a sense of driving along the boundary of the sky, spiralling hills, soaring and plunging with multiple curves and turns featuring some amazing views.
For the first days of the tour, we did our usual visits to the old part of Nan town and its outskirts, enjoying murals in Wat Phumin but also Wat Nong Bua. For the kids, we also made sure to visit some of the province’s waterfalls.
After a scenic drive of 110 kilometres North-East of our resort in Nan, we ended up in Bo Klua View Resort and enjoyed a terrific meal. Nestled in the foothills of Doi Phu Kha at around 700 metres above sea level, Bo Klua View was designed to combine with nature and offers a simple, bucolic lifestyle experience. This is an excellent midway point when driving the Phuka loop from Nan.
The word “salary” was derived from the word “salt.” Salt was highly valued and its production was legally restricted in ancient times, so it was historically used as a method of trade and currency. The word “salad” also originated from “salt,” and began with the early Romans salting their leafy greens and vegetables.The History of Salt
We also went to learn about salt mining and bought a little of the well-known salt from the region. Nan is a large salt source and has majorly been trading salt in the northern area of Thailand and with Jinhaw merchant caravans from Yunnan, and other provinces of China via the Xipsongpanna region. The word Bo Klua is simply translated as a salt well.
Bo Klua salt is remarkably salty. Pails of water are pulled up from the wells, then transferred to giant wok pans, where the water is boiled until it is evaporated. After being boiled it leaves mounds of pure salt crystals.
The quantity of salt obtained per litre is abundant. The salt looks so clean and pure. The white crystals are then transported to wooden jars to complete the drying procedure. In the rainy season, not much was going on so we got the story from one of the locals whose family have been in the salt business for generations.
The evaporation process takes around four to five hours and is carried on 24 hours per day. The two wells produce around 60 – 70 kilos of salt each per day. Bags of salt(2kg apiece) are sold. Iodine is added afterwards.
The time it takes from production to sales depends on if any customer is passing by or not. It usually takes anything from one day to two weeks.
Currently, there are more places to stay in the Bo Klua area than when we were there. We didn’t overnight though since we stayed in Nan at the Nan Seasons Boutique Hotel.
Read more about the amazing Wat Phumin and its murals here.