Chiang Mai


Chapter: 1 Chiang Mai in Brief

Nophaburi Sri Nakorn Ping Chiang Mai was another name known in the legend of Chiang Mai City as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, whose historical background can be traced back to more than 700 years.
Chiang Mai City was founded by King Mengrai, the first ruler of the Mengrai Dynasty, in 1296, with King Ngam Muang of Phayao Kingdom and King Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai Kingdom, both of whom were his allies, helping to select the location. During those days, Chiang Mai City was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, ruled by the Mengrai Dynasty over a period of 261 years. Later Chiang Mai was invaded and governed by the Burmese rulers for more than 200 years, until the period of King Taksin the Great who had sent Prince Kawila with forces to drive away the Burmese troops successfully. Chiang Mai has been included in the Siam Kingdom ever since.



Subsequently under the era of King Rama I, Prince Kawila was appointed as Viceroy controlling Chiang Mai and the northern frontiers and vassal to the Rattanakosin Kingdom. Prince Kawila reestablished Chiang Mai from a deserted city to a thriving state by gathering people who had fled into the forest and those who had migrated from Xishuangbanna, to resettle in the city and expanded the territory extensively. The city had been reconstructed by reviving cultures, traditions, religions, and trade relations. Chiang Mai continuously prospered, and during this period, the city was renamed as “Rattanathingsa Apinavapuri Sareekhururatha Phranakorn Chiang Mai”. Chiang Mai was thereafter ruled by the Thipchakrathiwong Dynasty (Jao Jed Tohn Dynasty) which was the lineage of Prince Kawila.


Until the reign of King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V), the influx of the western influence into Thailand had resulted in changes from the ruling system of the dependent frontiers into the intendancy administration, and the Lanna Kingdom was congregated with the Payap Kingdom. Later in 1912, after the revolution which ended the absolute monarchy, the intendancy administration was abolished, and Chiang Mai became one of the provinces of the country. Chiang Mai had increasingly prospered and now is one of the most important cities in Thailand.
At present, Chiang Mai is considered as the biggest city in the North and the second largest and most modernized city to Bangkok. It is the centre of the economy for the northern region, rich in cultural heritage and traditions. The spectacular scenery of mountainous terrains which surround the city is a natural attraction which brings large numbers of visitors to Chiang Mai each year.


Chapter: 2

City Attraction

Paying Homage to 9 Temples in Chiang Mai City

For those who wish to make merits as a blessing to their lives, paying homage to 9 temples in the city of Chiang Mai is a must.
It is recommended that one visits 9 auspiciously-named temples in the vicinity of Amphoe Muang Chiang Mai. The trip should start at Wat Chiang Man which was the first temple built in Chiang Mai and where King Mengrai used as his camp during the construction of the new capital. The temple is where Phra Sae Tang Khamani (or Phra Kaew Khao), which is one of the most important Buddha images in Chiang Mai, is enshrined.

Coming out of Wat Chiang Man, turn right and proceed until a traffic light, turn right and continue until you find the second traffic light in front of Yupparaj School. Then turn left and Wat Duang Dee will be on the left. Originally known as Wat Thon Mak Nua, Wat Duang Dee temple was built in the Lanna architectural style, adorned with beautiful wood-carved pieces.
As you leave Wat Duang Dee, make a left turn and go straight. After passing a traffic light a little further, you will find Wat Chedi Luang on the right hand side. The temple compound houses the city’s biggest pagoda built in the classical Lanna architecture.


Coming out of Wat Chedi Luang, turn left and go straight until you reach a traffic light. Then turn left again and before you is Wat Phra Singh Woramahaviharn. Another important temple in Chiang Mai where Phra Buddha Sihing is enshrined, Wat Phra Singh (in short) encompasses many precious Lanna architectures such as Viharn Lai Kham (The Gilded Assembly Hall), the mural paintings in Viharn Lai Kham, and Hor Trai (The Temple Library).

Leaving Wat Phra Singh, turn right and go straight a little further until you find Wat Muen Ngern Kong on the right. This temple was built during the period of king Gue-Na by Muen Ngem Kong who was aminister in the administration. He then invited a revered monk, Phra Sumon Thera, from Sukhothai to promulgate Buddhism in Lanna. Within the temple compound, you will see beautifully architectural-designed buildings in the Lanna style, especially the rectangular pagoda. The next stop will be Wat Dub Phai, within which there is a water well, widely believed to be sacred.

Leaving Wat Dub Phai, turn right and go straight until you reach a traffic light. Then turn left and go straight until you have passed the Three Kings Monument, then turn left again and go straight. After you have reached the Chang Puek Gate, make a left turn, and a little further you will find Wat Chiang Yuen on the left hand side. The temple is famous for astrology and houses many Lanna artifacts.

Coming out of Wat Chiang Yuen, turn left and make a u-turn to enter the road on the other side of the moat. Continue along the moat until you pass Jaeng Sriphum, then turn right and go straight. When you have passed Thapae Gate a little further, make a left turn into Loi Kroh Road. Approximately 200 meters down the road, you will find Wat Loi Kroh. The temple houses a stupa and buildings, designed in the Lanna style, and includes two sacred Buddha statues.

Coming out of Wat Loi Kroh, turn left and go straight until you reach the Night Bazaar area. Turn right into the Chang Klan Road and go straight until you reach a traffic light at Saeng Tawan intersection. Make a left turn there and go straight to the trisection in front the Chedi Hotel. Turn right here and Wat Chai Mongkol will be on your left hand side. It is situated on the bank of the Ping River. The temple was designed with mixed Burmese and Mon arts. Inside the temple building, there are mural paintings and a replica of Phra Chao Kao Tue enshrined.

Charms of the Old City…Tales of Lifestyle
All visitors to Chiang Mai cannot miss seeing the ancient ramparts lining around the old city along the moats with bastions at the four corners of the city. The names of the gates around the city must also be familiar to everyone. The walls and gates of the Chiang Mai city still retain the old structures of the ancient city walls and reflect the brilliant city planning during their days. The historical remains blended with the modernization have made Chiang Mai a uniquely attractive city, as distinct from other big cities in the country.
From the evidence found, the Chiang Mai city walls were built in two layers. The inner wall is rectangular in shape and the outer wall was made of clay. There 5 gates around the inner wall are:

  • Thapae Gate originally called Chiang Ruek Gate, located at the eastern part of the city.

  • Chang Puak Gate originally called Hua Vieng Gate, located at the northern part of the city, believed to be the auspicious entrance.
  • Chiang Mai Gate or Tai Vieng Gate, located at the southern part of the city
  • Saen Pung Gate located at the south-western part of the city next to the Chiang Mai Gate. It was believed to be in an evil direction and therefore was used as an exit to the cemeteries.
  • Suan Dok Gate located at the western part of the city. In the old days, the gate led to a city ruler’s garden.

Since the outer wall was made of clay, there remains only a few scattered parts at present. There are 5 gates around the outer wall. They are:

  • Chang Moi Gate located at the north-eastern part of the city.
  • Outer Thapae Gate located at the eastern part of the city, or within close vicinity of presently Wat Saen Fang. Originally, there were both Inner and Outer Thapae Gates. Thereafter, only the Inner Thapae Gate remains. It is presently called Thapae Gate.
  • Ra Kaeng Gate located at the south-eastern part of the city
  • Khwua Kom Gate located at the southern part of the city
  • HaiYa Gate located at the south-western part of the city. It was also believed to be in the evil direction and therefore was used as an exit for the deceased.

Jaengof Chiang Mai City
The word “Jaeng’ in the northern dialect means “corner”. There are totally 4 “Jaeng” corners along the inner wall. They are Jaeng Sriphum, which is believed to be located at the auspicious corner at the north-eastern part of the city. Jaeng Ka-Thum, located at the south-eastern corner of the city, presumably was named after a kind of fish-catching gear. Jaeng Koo Hueng, located at the south-western corner of the city, was named after the man who oversaw the bastion at this corner, and his ashes were contained in a stupa here. Lastly, Jaeng Hua Lin is located at the north-western corner. The word “lin” in the northern dialect means “water gutter” as the position of the corner is in the waterway flowing from Doi Suthep.

Getting to Know Chiang Mai in One day at Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre
Besides the magnificent views of the mountains and the beautiful scenery surrounding the city,  its rich cultural heritage and traditions place Chiang Mai as a destination of choice for all visitors.
The Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Centre offers a fascinating insight to the long history of Chiang Mai, once a great capital of the Lanna Kingdom. Visitors, both Thai and foreigners, will appreciate and value the unique culture and traditions which should be preserved and carried on. Spare a few hours to browse around the Centre and you will comprehend the true identity of Chiang Mai.
The Centre building is proportionately divided into many exhibition rooms. Some are used for permanent exhibits, and some are used for temporary exhibits and other cultural activities. Besides its elegant architectural design, the building itself has an interesting history. It was built in 1924 as the central administrative office for the Payap Kingdom and later was used as the City Hall of Chiang Mai.
When the new City Hall was built, the Chiang Mai Municipality renovated it and set it up as the present Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Centre.

Sunday Walking Street Market
Every Sunday, all year round, from late afternoon, parts of the streets in the heart of the Old City are closed to traffic and transformed into a walking street market, as thousands of stalls line up. Shoppers from all walks of life can enjoy the wide selection of products ranging from local handicrafts, individually-created objects, to various art items. There are also amazing street-side performances by traditional musicians and dancers providing entertainment while you browse around. The walking street market covers Rachadamnoen and Prapokklao Roads in the heart of the city and comes to life around 4 p.m. until 11.00 p.m. It takes place on Sundays only.

Wua Lai Street…Home of Silversmith
When speaking of Wua Lai Street, the word “Silverware” will come to mind for many, as it is the famous handicraft which has been produce in the Wua Lai community of centuries.
Wua Lai
               community is regarded as the largest and most famous centre of Chiang Mai’s silverware. In the past, most of the community people made silverware as their main occupation. From the historical evidence found, during the era of Prince Kawila, this community was the habitat of the silversmiths who migrated from Ngua Lai community in the Kong River area (or Salawin River). After settling down in Chiang Mai, they named their new community with the same name of Ngua Lai or Wua Lai. Some old style houses can still be seen of along both sides of the street. Apart from the silver shops, there are Buddhist temples you can visit in the area. Prominently located is Wat Srisuphan where its ordination hall was entirely built with pure silver, adorned with intricate glittering designs. Another temple in the area not far from Wat Srisuphan is Wat Muen Sarn, a very old temple where there is a stupa which contains ashes of KhrubaSrivichai, a most revered monk of Lanna

Saturday Walking Street Market at Wua Lai
Every Saturday evening, Wua Lai Walking Street opens up as a showcase for unique arts and crafts. You will enjoy the easy traditional atmosphere while leisurely strolling along the stretch of 2 km. street.

Kad Luang…Liveliness of Chiang Mai.
When in Chiang Mai, most visitors cannot miss an opportunity to stop by Warorot Market, locally called Kad Luang. It is regarded as the most important commercial area in Chiang Mai. The word “Kad” in the northern dialect means “Market”. Therefore, Kad Luang means a grand market, and it is the largest market in Chiang Mai.
Warorot Market has a long and interesting history which goes back to over 100 years. It celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2010. Originally, the site of the market used to be a cemetery for the Royal Northern dignitaries. Later Princess Dararasmi decided to move the cemetery to Wat Suan Dok and the site was developed as a market. The market was graciously given the name of Warorot Market, which was named after Prince Indavaroros Suriyawong.

Initially, the market was comprised of wooden shophouses. After a big fire in 1968 which had totally devastated the market, new and additional modern buildings have been added, as they are seen today.
Within the proximity lie another 3 markets-Ton Lamyai Market, Nawarat Market or Kad Jek-O, and flower market. Products for sale at Ton Lamyai are mostly agricultural produce such as vegetables, fruits, and meat, while you will find manufactured consumers products at Nawarat Market. The Flower Market is next to Ton Lamyai Market, always bursting with colours and scents of all kinds of flowers.
At present, Warorot Market, or Kad Luang, is the best known market in Chiang Mai. It’s the liveliness of Chiang Mai as both Thai locals and foreign visitors come to do their shopping here. The market becomes a busy bustling place from the early hours of the morning and lasts through late at night.
Warorot Market area is also a junction of people from different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Notably there is Wat Namdhari nearby which is the centre for Sikhs who live and conduct businesses such as selling fabrics in the market.

Flashback of the Riverside Trading Commodity with Diverse Cultures
Over a hundred years ago, Wat Ket community, which was situated on the east bank of the Ping River, was regarded as an important commercial hub in Chiang Mai. During that time, merchants preferred trading by boat, transporting their goods up along the Ping River, since it was the most convenient commuting channel. Wat Ket community was therefore a busy business centre and residence of many culturally diverse mix of people such as Chinese, Indian, British and American.  This is also reflected in the architecture of the buildings in the area, as can be visibly seen at present.


  • Wat Ket Karam inside this Buddhist temple, there is a replica of Chulamani Chedi, a heavenly stupa, which according to traditional faith, is a blessing if those born in the Year of Dog have an opportunity to pay their respect here.
  • Wat Ket Karam Museum located in the compound of the temple, Wat Ket Karam Museum has a fascinating collection of invaluable artifacts which mostly had been donated by the nearby residents. Some has been unearthed from within the temple, such as wood-curved temple ornaments, ceramics Chinaware and other old utensils. These antiques can tell a story of the way of life of Chiang Mai people in the old days, especially the residents in the Wat Ket community. The museum is open to public everyday from 0800- 1600 hours.
  • Sri Khurusingh Sapha Samakhom (Wat Sikhs) A religious centre for Sikhs which is located next to the entrance of Wat Ket Karam. Some time long ago, Sikhs from the Punjab State of India came to settle down in this Wat Ket community area.
  • Attaqwa Mosque It is one of the important religious centres for Muslims in Chiang Mai which has an Islamic school, Chitr- pakdee School, the first to be opened in the North.
  • First Christian Church A Christian church located to the north side of the Navarat Bridge.
  • Chansom Anusorn Bridge A walking bridge linked between Wat Ket community and Ton Lamyai Market. In the former days, it was a simple wooden bridge which was not sturdy and had been worn away. It was later replaced by a permanent concrete bridge. The bridge was built by Mr. Montri Koslarom, a Pakistani, in memory of his late wife Chansom.

Grace of Doi Suthep
Doi Suthep is the most popular destination and is a must for any visitor to Chiang Mai. It is said that no trip would be complete without a visit to Doi Suthep. It is situated west of Chiang Mai on the Thanon Thong Chai Mountain Range, which is an extension from the Himalaya Range. It serves as a magnificent backdrop for the city of Chiang Mai. Visitors can travel up to Doi Suthep through Huay Kaew Road. At the foot of Doi Suthep before reaching Huay Kaew Waterfalls lies the monument of KhrubaSrivichai, the Buddhist Saint of Lanna, who is very much and widely respected. He was the engineering figure in the construction of the road leading up to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, with support from his devotees.
Perched on the top of Doi Suthep is Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, a royal temple, It was built during the reign of King Gue-Na. The stunning pagoda in the temple contains the holy relics of the Lord Buddha. The temple is very well known and the most important religious destination for all Buddhists and other visitors.
Apart from Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, visitors will find another three interesting temples along the way on Doi Suthep. Each of them was named likened to, in Buddhism, the three stages before attaining Arahant, i.e. Wat Srisoda (likened to Sotapanna), and wat Pha-lad (likened to Sakadagami), and Wat Anakanee (likened to Anagami) which is at present deserted.

Buddhism in Chiang Mai has been thriving prosperously for a long time. There are more than a hundred temples in the Muang Chiang Mai District alone. One of the important temples is Wat Bodharam Mahaviharn or Wat Jed Yod. Here was the place where the Buddhist Tripitaka (Teachings of the Buddha) was reviewed.
Wat Bodharam Mahaviharn, or locally known as Wat Jed Yod, is situated in Tambon Chang Puek, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. It was built under the reign of king Tilokkaraj of the Mengrai Dynasty. The temple’s pagoda was structurally designed similar to the Mahabhodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, india. Its arched entrance which was artistically sculptured had unfortunately been destroyed.
Wat bodharam Mahaviharn also has a significant history that it hosted the 8th Meeting of the World Buddhist Council in 1477 to review the Tripitaka, taken place first time in Thailand during the period of King Tilokkaraj.
Located not too far from Wat Jed Yod is Wat Umong, another remarkable temple in Chiang Mai, which was built during the period of King Mengrai. Nestled in a quiet corner of Suthep Road, Amphoe Muang Chiang Mai, Wat Umong has a unique feature that there are tunnels which are used as a meditation sanctuary. There used to be paintings on the walls inside the tunnels which unfortunately are no longer visible. Atop the tunnels stands a Chedi of an ancient Lanna style. The temple compound is surrounded by big shady trees which is conducive for meditation.


Chapter: 3

Charms of the Northern Trails

If you travel outside the Amphoe Muang Chiang Mai going northbound, you will discover the majestic natural beauty of the fertile rice paddies and evergreen forest on the Chiang Mai people in various places.
Taking about an hour drive, you will arrive at Mae Sa Mai village, Moo 6, Tambon Pong Yang in Amphoe Mae Rim, Which is a large Hmong village where the Hmong villagers still preserve their ethnic traditions and lifestyles. You will be able to observe a demonstration of their hemp fabric weaving, a tribal way of life which has been passed on for generations. Other fascinating attractions include the Hmong New Year celebration which usually takes place around end of December each year when all Hmong villagers gather and participate in many recreational activities such as a top-spinning game, and a traditional softball tossing game. Both men and women will dress in their best traditional outfits. There is a cultural learning centre in the village where you can view the exhibition of the historical background and settlement of Mae Sa Mai Village.
If you travel further north to Amphoe Mae Taeng, a stop-over at the Museum of Inthakhin Kiln at Ban San Patong, Tambon Inthakhin, is recommended. There is where ancient Lanna kilns were discovered, and remnants of ancient earthenware and a kiln in almost perfect conditions are found on display. The site is another important archaeological tourism location.

Continuing further north to Amphoe Chiang Dao, you will come across the magnificent Doi Luang Chiang Dao mountain range. You can also venture into the Chiang Dao cave inside Wat Tham Chiang Dao. Close to the Chiang Dao cave is Wat Tham Pha Plong, which was developed by Luang Phu Sim Budhajaro, highly reserved and respected monk. Inside the temple there is a stupa containing the holy relics of the Lord Buddha.
When you reach Tumbon Muang Ngai in Amphoe Chiang Dao, you will discover another tourist attraction which has an historical important. That is the Memorial Stupa of King Naresuan the Great. Muang Ngai local believe that the construction site of the stupa was the place where King Naresuan rested his army during an offensive against Burma. Behind the stupa is a model camp of the King Naresuan depicting his stay at this site. Inside the model camp, there are paintings of King Naresuan, Prince Ekatodsarod, and Princess Suphankanlaya, displayed in memory of their divine graces.

Southern Route
Traveling Southwards to Experience the Lanna Cultures
If you travel south of Chiang Mai city, there are many Amphoes (or districts) where visitors will be able to experience the lifestyles and cultures of the Northern folks.
Situated in Amphoe Hang Dong is Wat Indravas, or locally known as Wat Ton Kwaen, at Moo 4, Tambon Nhong Kwai. A unique trait of this temple is its four-gabled pavilion, one of a kind in Lanna. Its viharn (preaching hall) also represents a unique Lanna architectural design.
                     Mooban Tawai, the famous wood-carving village, is another place that visitors must not miss. It is the centre of a multitude range of quality handicrafts. Probably it’s the largest handicrafts centre in Thailand.
                   The next stop will be Amphoe San Pa Tong. Here is renowned for handicrafts, both wooden and stucco, and knife-making, and is the site of “Kad Sala” (which means ‘Centre of the craftsmen’). Visitors will be able to enjoy the quality and cheap handicraft products here.
West of Chiang Mai City lies Amphoe Mae Jaem. Apart from being a picturesque town, Amphoe Mae Jaem is also well known for its cotton-Woven fabrics, especially the ‘Dteen Jok” patterned sarong highlighting and intricate design.

Wiang Kum Kam… The Ancient City
Wiang Kum Kam was the capital of Lanna, built by King Mengrai before constructing Chiang Mai. During its heydays, the city enjoyed its peak until it was destroyed by frequent floods, buried under alluvial soil, and was finally abandoned. Presently, Wiang Kum Kam is an ancient city located in Ampohe Saraphi. The Museum and the Wiang Kum kam Information Centre on the site provide visitors with an insight of valuable cultural resources and the historical importance of this ancient city.

Eastern Route
Observing Villagers’ Lifestyles and Handicrafts
Chiang Mai is known as a city with rich cultures and traditions and is fame as Thailand’s major centre for quality handicrafts
In Amphoe Sankamphaeng, east o Chiang Mai City, Ton Pao Village, located at Tambon Ton pao, is well known for its local handicrafts made from Saa paper (Mulberry paper). You will find a huge variety of handmade paper products. You will also be able to observe the process of Saa paper making, demonstrated by the villagers in their own home. In early February each year, Baan Ton Pao Saa Paper Festival is held and welcomes an abundance of visitors who come to enjoy the array of souvenirs and products for sale.
Nearby is located along-timed popular umbrella making centre, Bo Sang Village in Tambon Bo Sang. The village has gained a worldwide reputation for its exquisitely hand-painted and strikingly colourful umbrella products. Visitors will be able to view the demonstration of how umbrellas are made. The Bo Sang Umbrella and Sankamphaeng Handicrafts Festival is held annually in January, featuring an umbrella procession and other activities.

Eastern Route
Another interesting village which is well known for woven products is Ban Pa Bong, located at Tambon Pa Bong, east of Amphoe Saraphi. In the old days, this village was abundant with bamboo trees, or in the northern dialect called “Mai Bong”, of which the village was named after. Because of the plentiful bamboos in the area, the majority of the villagers earn their living by weaving bamboo. Many bamboo-woven products have been created from the local tradition, ranging from household wares to decorative and furniture items, such as bamboo lamps.
The easternmost of Chiang Mai lies Amphoe Doi Saket, where the famous Wat Prathat Doi Saket is located. The temple, prominently situated on the hill in Tambon Cherng Doi, was built in 1612. The stupa, which was artistically designed in the Lanna style, contains the holy relics of the Lord Buddha.

Eastern Route
Sampling the Local Delicacies
Many people have been impressed with the Northern Thai food for its distinctly delicious taste. The recipe for most dishes consists of all kinds of herbs which are beneficial for good health. Northern people follow their tradition of serving their meals in the “Khan Toke” style. The food dishes, together with steamed glutinous rice which is preferred in the northern region, are placed on a low round wooden table, and diners would sit on the floor partaking in the meal. This charming method of dining attracts both Thai and foreign tourists alike.

Eastern Route

  • Sai Oua, the famous spicy Northern Thai sausage, is made from minced pork, mixed with a variety of herbs such as dried chilli, lemon grass, garlic, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, salt, and shrimp paste. The mixture is stuffed into the casing and char-grilled. It’s preferably eaten with the steamed glutinous rice. Most herbs mixed in the stuffing contain medicinal properties which enhance great health, such as garlic which helps the digesting system, and lemon grass which helps promote appetite and relieve stomach acid.
  • Nam Prik Ong, a Northern specialty dipping sauce which main ingredients are minced pork, mixed with chilli paste, and cooked with cherry tomatoes. The taste reflects a combination of spicy, salty, sour, and sweet flavours. This dipping sauce is served with a side dish of fresh or steamed vegetables along with crispy fried pork rinds.
  • Kaeng Khae, a local spicy vegetables soup, consists of various kinds of vegetables, Thai herbs, mushrooms etc., and a choice of meat. This favourite dish not only contains healthy nutrition but is also flavourful.
  • Khaeng Hang Le (or Hinlay curry), a Burmese-influenced pork curry, which is almost similar to Massaman curry of the central region, but the northern dish does not generally contain coconut milk. The main ingredients of Khaeng Hang Le consist of slices of fatty pork, young ginger, garlic, and flavoured with tamarind sauce and sugar. The ginger added in the curry is nutritious and effective in relieving stomach acid, and tamarind helps discharge phlegm and relieves constipation.
  • Khao Soy, another popular Northern style dish, is a curry broth with egg noodles and a choice of meat (chicken, pork, or beef), garnished with shallots and pickled cabbage.

The appetizing menu of the Northern food does not stop here.
There are more palatable and healthy dishes for visitors to sample.

Eastern Route
Thai Lanna Timber House
The Lanna architecture houses clearly reflect the way of life of the people which is bound to nature. The traditional design harmonizes with the geography and climate in the region. The Northern Thai style house is built on a raised platform, but not as high as those of the Central region style. Because of the geographical location which is mostly mountainous, the problem of flooding is rare. The windows are small to be protective against the cool climate. Houses for the well-to-dos will normally be adorned on the roof with a wooden crossing symbol, intricately carved, called Galae, which is a unique Lanna art. The Lanna style house is made of the following distinguished components:

  • Balcony, is a vast and uncovered area in front of the house. There is normally a small shelf, on which a clay pot for drinking water and a wooden ladle are placed. A similar set-up is also placed outside the house, providing drinking water for the passers-by. This is a very distinctive Lanna culture.
  • Toen (called in the northern dialect) is a large foyer, elevated from the balcony area. The front part is open leading to the front balcony, and the back is adjacent to the bedroom. It is traditionally used as a multi-purposed room or a living room to receive guests.
  • Bedroom, generally adjacent to Toen, is decorated with a lintel called “Hum Yon”, placed at the entrance to the bedroom. It is believed by Lanna people that the sacred lintel will ward off the evils from entering the bedroom.
  • Kitchen, preferably located at the west side of bedroom, is built detached from the living quarters, linked by a walk-way. A stove is built on a counter made of wood and compressed clay, for placing cooking utensils. The ceiling is perforated for ventilation.
  • Rice Barn (locally called Hlong Khao), is a raised platform barn, often built in the front part of the main house. The barn is used to keep the unmilled rice, while the underneath is for storage of agricultural equipment