The Moung Ngwe Zin Building

Colonial style building Moung Ngwe Zin

The Moung Ngwe Zin Building

Moung Ngwe Zin Building on Kad Kong Ta

The Moung Ngwe Zin building is on Kad Kong Ta, which is a historical quarter of Lampang parallel to the bank of the Wang River. Moung Ngwe Zin was a Burmese teak trader who built the house in 1908. It is one of the most beautiful Burmese inspired residences in Thailand. He is credited with establishing the Wat Chai Mongkol (aka Wat Chong Ka) and the local Kanlayanee School.

According to some, this building was a store selling western consumer goods to resident British employees working for one of the teak logging companies. It allegedly has also served as a grocery store, bar and hotel for employees of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. The BBTC was one the most prominent British teak logging company.

Colonial style building Moung Ngwe Zin
Moung Ngwe Zin Building Lampang

Lakon, centre of the teak industry

About 100 years ago, Lampang was a significant centre of the teak industry in North Thailand. The Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation, the Borneo Company, the Anglo-Thai Company and the Louis Leonowens Company all had offices in Lampang, which was known as Lakon in those days. There was a British Consulate as well as a sports club. The Lakon sports club offered leisure and sports activities for the employees of the teak companies and the missionaries of the Presbyterian Church.

Old picture of party
Dinner at the British Consulate in Lampang on the occasion of the coronation of King George VI, May 13, 1937. Photo courtesy of Oliver Backhouse

Burmese and Shan immigrants

Some of the British teak companies had been operating  for many years in Burma. They brought with them many Burmese and Shan workers. These immigrants established temples and built houses in typical Burmese and Shan architectural style. The building has been beautifully restored. The association of Siamese architects awarded the owners of the building the outstanding architecture award for Lanna building conservation.

The building now houses an art gallery and cafe on the ground floor. On the walls there is a display of pictures and information about heritage houses in the Kad Kong Ta area.  On our last visit to Lampang in January 2021 the house was still open as a coffee shop.

Where is the Moung Ngwe Zin Building?

The Moung Ngwe Zin Building features in these tours:

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