Photo: Pretty valleys around Mae Salong.

Chinese Martyrs Memorial

Our rating:

We found this unusual memorial come museum - devoted to somewhat obscure historical events - unusually compelling; perhaps because it dealt with things of which we were only very vaguely aware and also just because some people obviously cared enough to create, and others to visit, this well maintained, yet ultimately obscure, museum.

Photo of Chinese Martyrs Memorial

Certainly not such obscure events if you’re Taiwanese though since this is a memorial to the soldiers of the old 93rd MKT division again. You’ve by now come across these guys on numerous occasions in our descriptions of such Thai northern border towns – and we assume that much of the funding for this elaborate memorial originated in Taiwan. Many of the explanations to what is largely a photographic exhibition, (plus maps), are indeed in Chinese though there are just enough in English to allow you to follow.

The Chinese martyrs then are the KMT soldiers that died fighting communist insurgents in northern Thailand during the 70s and 80s in Nan, Petchabun, Phitsanolok and Chiang Rai Province itself since, if you were paying attention earlier that was the deal by which the Thai government allowed the KMT remnants and families to settle in northern Thailand. Having said that history explained in the exhibition is seriously distorted and firstly they’d have us believe that the CPT, (Communist Party Thailand), forces were entirely composed of ethnic Hmong, (since Thai people wouldn’t do that sort of thing), and secondly manages to avoid any mention of the KMT’s military struggle with Khun Sa’s SUA, (Shan United Army) over control of the opium trade. (Clearly some mutual trade off there.)

Anyway whatever the details it will still give you some insight into the area’s complicated, colourful and relatively recent history. The car park is bordered by souvenir shops, a couple of cafes and the ubiquitous tea shops and free entry is daily between 07:00 and 18:00. The entrance is on the right of the highway approximately 1.5 kms before Mae Salong if you’re arriving from Tha Ton.

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Location map for Chinese Martyrs Memorial

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