Chiang Mai is one of the most culturally and historically interesting cities in Thailand. Therefore, it isn’t really that surprising that there are plenty of museums in this part of the country.
If you’re a museum lover, it’s a great idea to book a Chiang Mai tour package with Traveloka or another leading travel booking service. This will net you ample savings, giving you more time and money to explore the many museums around this old and beautiful city. Here are just a few such museums and galleries that you may want to add to your itinerary.
Chiang Mai National Museum
The Chiang Mai National Museum is the main museum of northern Thailand. It’s located near Wat Chet Yot, an important pilgrimage destination for those born in the Year of the Snake, and it is under the patronage of the King and Queen. The museum is inside a two-story house with traditional Lanna architecture, including the distinct roof design that looks like a bird’s outstretched wings. All in all, the museum has six sections. When followed chronologically, the exhibits tell the story of Chiang Mai’s past, present, and outlook for the future.
Some of the most interesting parts of the Chiang Mai National Museum include the history of the Lanna Kingdom, from its founding to its liberation from the Burmese. There are also exhibits showing photographs and artifacts of modern Chiang Mai, as well as an in-depth look at the Lanna Kingdom’s economy before it integrated with Thailand.
Tribal Museum of Chiang Mai
Understanding Thailand’s diverse culture also means understanding the culture of the various hill tribes scattered across the country. One of the best sources of knowledge and interesting information about these hill tribes is the Tribal Museum of Chiang Mai. Here you can discover the cultures of the Akha, Hmong, Yao, and other tribe peoples. From old tools to traditional costumes and artworks, you’ll see just how colorful the culture is on this side of Thailand.
The museum also has slideshows relating stories of and about the major northern hill tribes. These slideshows run from 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon
Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders
If you’re interested in creepy, colorful crawlies, then the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders is a must-visit. This private museum is run by Dr. Rampa Rattanarithikul and her husband Manop, an entomology enthusiast.
Over the years of Dr. Rattanarithikul’s studies and the couple’s travels around the world, they collected more than 10,000 insects and all sorts of critters. They even have all 422 species of Thai mosquitos! The doctor and Manop are more than willing to provide a guided tour, providing information about all the insects in the display cases and frames.
Chiang Mai Doll Museum and Factory
From thousands of insects, now we head to thousands of dolls. Over 50,000 dolls, to be exact. The Chiang Mai Doll Museum and Factory owner, Youthana Boonprakong, is the son of a dollmaker from Laos. His family crossed the Mekong to Thailand during the war in Laos, and moved the shop to Udon Thani. When Youthana married a Chiang Mai native, they then moved the shop to San Pa Tong and also established the museum for Youthana’s extensive collection.
Today, the Doll Museum houses more than 50,000 dolls from all over the world. Wizards, warriors, dancers, tribespeople, royalty, even clowns are depicted in the collection. The countries represented include Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Hungary, France, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and many more. The connected doll-making factory, on the other hand, supplies local shops with lovely, high-quality dolls and even exports them to other countries.
Dara Phirom Museum
The Dara Phirom Museum is all about the life of Dara Rassamee, one of King Chulalongkorn’s consorts and the half-sister of the Prince of Lanna during that period. Dara Rassamee was an influential force in uniting the kingdoms of Lanna and Siam. Moreover, she was known to appreciate art, clothing, and furniture from the northern culture. During her life, she has amassed a huge well-preserved collection that is now displayed in the museum. The Dara Phirom Museum is actually the former home of Dara Rassamee, and most of its sections are open to the public. There are a lot more museums and galleries you can visit in Chiang Mai, and these five are just the beginning. Make sure to create an itinerary that covers a lot of these interesting institutions!