Oub Kham Museum

Oub Kham Museum

Amazing collection of all things Tai

More on Chiang Rai

Oub Kham Museum was another of those sites where we moaned about the admission price but came out thoroughly glad we paid. It’s an amazing and priceless display; beautifully presented in a spectacular setting.

Travelfish says:

The museum curator, Julasak Suriyachai, is a direct descendant of the Shan royal family of Kengtung in Burma (Myanmar). 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 to us that only foreigners visit his museum and young Thais have no interest in their own history or heritage anymore.

No pics allowed inside unfortunately. : Mark Ord.
No pics allowed inside unfortunately. Photo: Mark Ord

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, Lahu, Palaung, Hmong etc, who are Sino-Tibetan, Hmong-Mien or Mon-Khmer in origin, not Tai, despite what some of the explanations may imply.)

Exhibits include royal regalia of various former independent northern kingdoms such as Chiang Saen, Nan and Phayao although—obviously due to family connections—a bulk of the material is from Shan State. The museum’s prize piece is the spectacular gold throne of the lords of Kengtung which was somehow rescued before the Burmese destroyed the old royal palace in Kengtung in the early 1990s.

The exhibitions are displayed in a series of small buildings set in equally beautifully maintained and laid out gardens and courtyards. However, sadly we can’t show you any of this as photography is strictly prohibited so ... you’ll just have to go and see for yourself.

Transport information

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.

Contact details for Oub Kham Museum

Address: 81/1 Nakai Rd
T: (053) 713 349; (081) 992 0342;  F: (053) 758 161;
http://www.oubkhammuseum.com
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º48'52.43" E, 19º54'11.8" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 300 baht adults. 100 baht children

Reviewed by

Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.

Tours in Thailand


These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.


Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Chiang Rai

Wat Huay Sai Khao
Wat Huay Sai Khao

Remarkable—congratulations to the abbot!

Baan Dam
Baan Dam

The Black House

Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew

Attractive grounds and a good little museum

Chiang Rai Night Bazaar
Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

The only place to be after dark

Wat Rong Khun
Wat Rong Khun

Very white.

Doi Tung
Doi Tung

A great day out

Cooking classes
Cooking classes

Several excellent cookery options in town

Municipal market
Municipal market

A sprawling labyrinth