Photo: Plenty of local gear on display.

Hill Tribe Museum and Education Centre

Our rating:

The Hill Tribe Museum and Education Centre is a long-standing establishment dedicated to the culture of Chiang Rai and northern Thailand’s ethnic hill-tribe minorities.

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Long-standing is the key word though and unfortunately it’s one where we feel the description “showing its age” would be a major understatement. However, it is a well-known museum and living in constant hope of a desperately needed make-over, we’ll give you a brief run-down.

All things rattan, bamboo and wood. Photo taken in or around Hill Tribe Museum and Education Centre, Chiang Rai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

All things rattan, bamboo and wood. Photo: Mark Ord

Our first gripe is that we’re not really sure how appropriate the term “museum” is when tens of thousands of the subject matter—i.e. hill-tribe minority people—still live in the hills outside town? Perhaps cultural centre or something would be better and contents are mostly everyday objects and standard traditional dress that you can still see in many villages anyway. Explanations tend to be anecdotal; a particular festival or traditional religious belief of a certain ethnic group and there’s little or nothing in the way of actual ethnological, linguistic or historical detail on the various groups.

The thrown together, rather scrappy displays include a small exhibition of opium paraphernalia—far inferior to that you can see in either Sob Ruak’s Hall or House of Opium—while the lovingly maintained and displayed minority costumes at the Oub Kham Museum are far superior to the dusty traditional dress on show here.

The Hill-tribe Museum is funded by famed Thai philanthropist Meechai Viravaiydya’s excellent PDA, (Population and Community Development Association), so it is all in a good cause and there’s a Cabbages and Condoms restaurant on the ground floor. However, as you’ve gathered it is in serious need of a make-over and is worth a peak only if you’re at a loose end but don’t go out ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
From the clock tower walk north to Thanalai Road and turn right. Follow the road until you see the small park on your left and PDA building next to Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant on the right. For the Museum enter the car-park and take the lift to the 3rd floor.

Hill Tribe Museum and Education Centre
620/25 Thanalai Rd (3rd floor)
Mo–Fr: 08:30–18:00 Sa–Su: 10:00–18:00
T: (053) 740 088 

Location map for Hill Tribe Museum and Education Centre

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