Chiang Mai’s Lanna Heritage Centre, (or Lanna Folklife Museum depending upon which sign you read), is a brand new city museum. Here’s a rundown on what you’ll find here. The compact museum is well laid out, informative with plenty of clear and unusually well translated information and plenty of interesting exhibits. It’s an excellent initiative on the part of Chiang Mai city council and we feel it deserves support.
The museum is housed in the splendid old Chiang Mai courthouse building, which has received a full make-over inside and out and is located in leafy grounds on Phrapokklao Road opposite the Three Kings monument in the city’s budding museum district.
It’s more of an exhibition than a museum and there aren’t really too many old artifacts as such, but rather a series of dioramas of aspects of Lanna life: religion, culture, history, costumes and so on (Lanna being the name of the old North Thai kingdom based at Chiang Mai), interspersed with sample relics.
This sort of thing can come across as rather twee, but it’s well done here and complements the written explanations, which are plentiful and comprehensible. Anyway for many it’s less stuffy than looking at endless rows of old pots in glass cases and as with the other museums in town, it makes it very child friendly, so it’s a good spot to take the family.
Despite having lived in Thailand’s northern capital for some 12 years, we actually learned a lot of interesting new information from this museum, and for newcomers to Chiang Mai it serves as an excellent introduction. The museum is fairly small, though spread across two floors; allow an hour or so for an average visit.
The museum is open from 08:30 to 17:00 Tuesday to Sunday, and costs 40 baht for kids and 90 baht for adults. Another sensible initiative from the museum authorities allows visitors to buy a three-in-one museum pass, which includes entry to the Arts and Culture Centre and the History Museum as well, for 80 and 180 baht (kids and adults respectively), and which is valid for one week. Having said that, all three museums are adjacent and a morning or afternoon would allow time to visit all three, including break time.
By Mark Ord.
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