We have put together a listing of some of the most interesting Chiang Mai Historical buildings. Any of these building can feature in a customized tour of Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Post and Telegraph Office
The Chiang Mai Post and Telegraph Office, or “Hong sai” (wire building) among the locals, was constructed in 1909 near Ton Lam Yai Market on the bank of the Ping River. In those days the river was the means of transportation, hence its location. The first building of the Office was a bamboo construction. After the railroad reached Chiang Mai in 1922 the San Pakoi post office became the most important office. In 1947, the old Post and Telegraph Office was renovated. It reopened as the Chiang Mai Philatelic Museum. The Fine Art Department has listed the building as a national treasure.
Chiang Mai First Church
In 1867 Rev. Daniel Mc Gilvary and his family arrived in Chiang Mai. He founded the First Church. Dr.Marion Cheek, another American missionary, designed and built the wooden church around 1890. In 1968 the new Chiang Mai First Presbyterian Church opened on Charoenrat road, less than kilometer north of the First Church. The old wooden church is now part of the compound of a school. The church is one the most iconic Chiang Mai historical buildings.
The Sri Prakad Hotel was built over 100 years ago. Apparently the building was a primary school for a while, then a private zoo and later on the city’s first printing shop. In the 1930s Luang Sri Prakad, Chiang Mai’s first member of parliament, took over the house. After World War Two he turned it into a hotel and named it after him. At first, the hotel had only 16 rooms. In 1965 a building was added. The hotel was operational until the mid 2000’s. In 2011 hosted an exhibition of the photographs of Boonserm Satrabhaya, who is a relative of the family who owns the hotel.
The Chiang Mai British Consulate
The ruler of Chiang Mai granted this plot of land to the British government in 1884. In 1917 the construction of the new Chiang Mai British Consulate began under the supervision of an architect called William Osborn Keats. The building remained a focal point for society in Chiang Mai, only closing for three years during World War Two and again for two years from 1970, before it was officially shut in 1978 and sold. A luxury hotel, The Chedi Chiang Mai, opened here in 2005. The old British Consulate became the restaurant of the hotel. In 2013 Anantara took over the management of the hotel. The old consulate building is now the Service 1921 Restaurant and Bar of the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort.
The former British Consulate at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort
Chiang Mai Railway Station
The first Chiang Mai Railway Station was opened at this location on January 1, 1922. You can find information about this station here. During World War Two this station was totally destroyed by Allied bombers in December, 1943. Chiang Mai was a base of the Imperial Japanese Army and the railway station was a strategic target. After the destruction of the railway station the trains from Bangkok stopped at Pasao Railway Station, near Lamphun. Right after the end of the war construction started of a new railway station which opened in 1947.
Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center
The old Chiang Mai Provincial Hall is now the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center. It is a beautiful building. Here was once the “Inthakhin” ancient city pillar, before it was moved to Wat Chedi Luang. The building dates back from 1924. It was used initially as the central administrative office of the Monthol Phayap – Siam’s administrative unit. Later it served as the Provincial Hall of Chiang Mai. After a renovation it became the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center.
Lanna Folklife Museum
Set inside the Thai-colonial-style former Provincial Court, dating from 1935, this imaginative museum re-creates Lanna village life in a series of life-size dioramas that explain everything from lai·krahm pottery stencilling and fon lep (a mystical Lanna dance featuring long metal fingernails) to the intricate symbolism of different elements of Lanna-style monasteries.
Lanna Architecture Center
The Lanna Architecture Center is set in a beautiful building. Formerly owned by prince Jao Maha In, this handsome mansion, built in a hybrid Lanna and European style between 1889 and 1893, houses a small education centre with some interesting models showing the changing face of Lanna architecture through the centuries. It is one of the most beautiful Chiang Mai Historical Buildings.
Khum Chao Burirat
This was the residence of the last “Chao Burirat” of Chiang Mai: Chao Kaewmungmuang Na Chiengmai. Chao Burirat was the title of one of the five princes who together administered Chiang Mai. Under the reign of Rama V he became responsible for justice. British American Tobacco Ltd. (BAT) was founded here. It was their office until 1941. They sold the residence to the Ministry of Finance in 1953. The office of Chiang Mai Tobacco is next door. They take care of the building.
The Kitipanit store on Thapae Road was probably the first department store in Chiang Mai. The building was constructed in 1925. The arrival of the railroad in Chiang Mai had a profound impact on the city. Many new shops and businesses opened in the Sanpakoy area and on Thapae Road. The Kitibut family was the owner of Kitipanit Store. Chin Kiew Kitipanit was the manager.
The Directory for Siam and Bangkok of 1927 lists the store under “Motor, Cars, Accessories, Tyres, Oils, etc.” as well as under “General and Piece-Goods”. The Bangkok Times, the leading English-language newspaper in those days, issued this directory annually or bi-annually.
According to other sources the store also sold household goods, kitchen utensils as well as imported clothes and cosmetics. The wealthy and privileged were doing their shopping at the Kitipanit Store.
Currently the building is empty.
Ratanapon Stationery Store
This beautiful building on Thapae road dates back to 1932. Sometimes you will find the spelling Rattanapol instead of Ratanapon. The Puwakoon family of Chinese descent owns the house. The house took 13 months to build and for a long time was one of the highest buildings in Chiang Mai. It now houses a stationery shop.
Raming Tea House Siam Celadon
The Raming Tea House Siam Celadon is located on Thapae Road. The building dates back to 1915. It is built in the so-called Gingerbread style. Khun Anukornburi was the owner of the house. He was of Chinese descent and the founder of the Nimakon clan. In the early days the house was a shop selling construction materials. The shop was called “Nim Cheo Chuad”. In 2002/3 the house was renovated and then became the Raming Tea House Siam Celadon.
The house of Arthur Lionel Queripel (1878-1947) was a forest manager of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. A certain Mr.Mong Tun built the hosue in 1922. He was both the architect and the contractor. During World War Two Japanese troops occupied the house. After the war the children or Arthur Queripel took over the house again and lived there until it was presented to Chiang Mai University. The house is now on the compound of the Lanna Traditional House Museum. Entrance fee to this museum is 20THB. You can enter the house.