Old teak house amid the high rises
Published: 31st August, 2017
Kamthieng House Museum features a charming Lanna-style teak house with displays on traditional life in Northern Thailand, while the nearby Siam Society is dedicated to preserving Thai culture through education.
First built alongside the Ping River in Chiang Mai in the mid-19th century, Baan Kamthieng was disassembled, shipped to Bangkok and carefully pieced together again in 1964. Still in excellent shape, the dark teakwood and pointed ceramic roof are quite a contrast to the neighbouring office buildings and malls in this very modern part of Bangkok.
Overseen by the Siam Society’s dedicated scholars, the museum focuses on daily life in 19th-century Northern Thailand. Displays include antique tools, cooking utensils, musical instruments and flower garlands used in ceremonies, among others. Information presented in excellent English explains Northern Thai belief systems involving rice goddesses, naga water serpents and ancestral spirits, while traditional music adds to the ambiance.
Even if the extensive background info doesn’t interest you, the house itself is lovely and the leafy grounds provide a tranquil refuge amid the clamour of the Asok area. A coffee shop is set next door if you feel like lingering.
A short walk east down Asok-Montri Road from Kamthieng House takes you to the heritage building that hosts The Siam Society, founded in 1904 to promote and advance the areas of traditional art, anthropology, architecture and history, among others, from an academic context. Several of Thailand’s leading scholars, both Thai and foreign, are active members.
While most of the society’s offerings are only available to members, there is a frequent rotation of lectures, concerts, exhibitions and field trips which that are open to the public. Scholars will also appreciate the extensive library of rare Asian manuscripts and books. Check out the Siam Society's website for upcoming events.
Kamthieng House is located on the west side of Asok-Montri Rd (aka Sukhumvit Soi 21), just north of Sukhumvit Rd and a five-minute walk north of either Asok BTS Station or Sukhumvit MRT Station. The Siam Society is a couple of hundred metres further north up Asok-Montri, on the same side of the road.
Address: 131 Soi 21 Sukhumvit Road
T: (02) 661 6470-3;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º33'41.76" E, 13º44'21.19" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 100 baht for Kamthieng House, Siam Society 3,500 baht per year
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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