If you are interested in traditional Thai architecture, then the Ban Kamthieng House is worth checking out. It’s an original Northern Thai style teak wood house, around 200 years old. Not only is it interesting for culture buffs, but it’s also a small green oasis in a concrete jungle. And it’s not one of the main Bangkok sightseeing attractions, so you get a nice break from the buzzing Bangkok activity.
This residence was once located in Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand, but it was moved to its current location in the 1960s. This is something quite common in Thailand – moving traditional houses to other areas. It sounds surprising to many Westeners, because, well, how do you move a whole house? But traditional Thai houses have often been designed in a way that it is easy to put them apart, transport them somewhere, and put them back together again.
Originally, this building was located by a river in Northern Thailand, in the nineteenth century.
It is now an ethnological museum from the Siam Society.
This house is in a unique way very different from the popular Jim Thompson house, or M. R. Kukrit’s Heritage house. Both of these were residences of urban people with a considerable amount of wealth and power. But the Ban Kamthieng house belonged to a rural family – a well off rural family, but nonetheless, you can see the differences. Many of the items on display here are farming tools and fish traps, and so on. There are also objects of spiritual worship. The owners of this house belonged to the Lanna culture, and they had a strong spiritual tradition.
When you walk to the upper floor of the Ban Kamthieng house, you will also learn more about magic shirts and supernatural tattoos, talismans and so on.
Check out these photos of Ban Kamthieng.
Location: 131 Thanon Asok Montri, Sukhumvit Soi 21 (nearly MRT station Asoke and BTS station Sukhumvit)
Phone: 0 2661 6470
Opening hours: 9am – 5pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
Admission: 100 Baht