Chiang Mai Historical Houses and Buildings

We have put together a listing of some of the most charming Chiang Mai Historical houses and buildings. Any of these buildings can feature in a customized tour of Chiang Mai.


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 a kilometre north of the First Church. The old wooden church is now part of the compound of a school. The church is one of the most iconic Chiang Mai historical buildings.

Wooden Church
First Church Chiang Mai. Picture by Roy Cavanagh

Sriprakad Hotel

The Sri Prakad Hotel was built over 100 years ago. 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-2000s. In 2011 hosted an exhibition of the photographs of Boonserm Satrabhaya, who is a relative of the family who owns the hotel.

Old colonial style building
Sri Prakad Hotel

Chiang Mai Railway Station

The first Chiang Mai Railway Station opened at this location on January 1, 1922. You can find information about this station here.  During World War Two Allied bombers destroyed the station in December 1943. Chiang Mai was a base of the Imperial Japanese Army, so 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.

building with a clocktower
The Railway Station of Chiang Mai in 2018

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 Monthon Phayap – Siam’s administrative unit. Later it served as the Provincial Hall of Chiang Mai.  After a renovation, it became an Arts and Cultural Center.

colonial style building
Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center 2019

Lanna Folklife Museum

This Thai-colonial-style building dates back from 1935. It was the Provincial Court and now houses the Lanna Folklife Museum. This imaginative museum re-creates Lanna village life in a series of life-size dioramas. These 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. It’s well worth a visit if you have time.

old colonial style building
The Lanna Folk Life Museum

Lanna Architecture Center

This 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.

Colonial style building Chiang Mai historical houses
Lanna Architecture Centre

Khum Chao Burirat

This house 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. It was the office of British American Tobacco Ltd. (BAT) 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.

Colonial Style Building
Khum Chao Burirat

The Queripel House

The house of Arthur Lionel Queripel (1878-1947) is one of the most iconic Chiang Mai Historical Houses. Queripel was a forest manager of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. Mr.Mong Tun built the house in 1922. He was both the architect and the contractor. During World War Two Japanese troops occupied the house. After the war, the children of Arthur Queripel took over the house again and lived there until they presented it 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.

Colonial style house Chiang Mai Historical Houses
Queripel House