Photo: Scenery surrounding Chiang Rai.

Oub Kham Museum

Our rating:

Oub Kham Museum was another of those sites where we moaned about the admission price but came out thoroughly glad we paid.

Photo of Oub Kham Museum

An amazing and priceless display; beautifully presented in a spectacular setting.

Seeing we had a particular interest in Southeast Asian ethnology the museum curator, Julasak Suriyachai, gave us a personal guided tour – especially interesting since he is a direct descendant of the Shan royal family of Kengtung in Burma. His extensive and remarkable collection, and the museum that houses it, are a labour of love and he was nearly in tears as he bemoaned the fact that only foreigners visit his museum and young Thais have no interest in their history or heritage anymore.

Oub Kham’s subject matter is the history, culture, handicrafts and heritage of all the different Tai groups of Southeast Asia. Thais, or Siamese, are just one branch of the Tai ethnic/linguistic family that also includes, among numerous other groups: Lao, Northern Thai, (or Lanna), Shan, Tai Lue, Tai Yuan; the Black, Red and White Tai groups of north-western Vietnam and the Dai of Southern China, from where all Tai groups originate. (Displays also extend to the region’s hill-tribe groups; Akha, Lisu, Palaung, Hmong etc, who are mostly Sino-Tibetan, Chinese or Mon/Khmer in origin, not Tai, despite what some of the explanations may imply.)

Exhibits include royal regalia of various former independent northern kingdom such a Chiang Saen, Nan, Phayao and so-on though – obviously through family connections - a bulk of the material is from Shan State. The museum’s prize piece being the spectacular gold throne of the lords of Kengtung which was somehow rescued before the Burmese destroyed the old royal palace in Kengtung. The exhibitions are displayed in a series of small buildings set in equally beautifully maintained and laid out gardens and courtyards.

Sadly we can’t show you any of this as photography is strictly prohibited and since, (especially with no flash), we’re not convinced it would damage the exhibits. You’ll just have to go and see yourself.

To reach the museum, head west down the continuation of Thanalai Road for a couple of kilometres until you see a major intersection with traffic lights. On the right should be Nakai, or Nakai Mengrai Road. A tuk-tuk will set you back 100-120 baht from the centre.

Oub Kham Museum
81/1 Nakai Rd
Daily 08:00-17:00
T: (053) 713 349, (081) 992 0342 F: (053) 758 161;
Admission: 300 baht adults. 100 baht children

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Location map for Oub Kham Museum

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Rai.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Chiang Rai.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Chiang Rai.
 Read up on how to get to Chiang Rai, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
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 Planning on riding a scooter in Chiang Rai? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Thailand with Tourradar.

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