Chiang Mai Historical Houses and Buildings

Table of Contents

Picture of Frans Betgem

Frans Betgem

Frans Betgem is a Dutch veteran in the travel industry in South East Asia. He is the founder of Green Trails and Chiang Mai a la Carte, amongst others. He also is the founder and admin of the Facebook group Chiang Mai Memories.

Chiang Mai Historical Houses and Buildings: introduction

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. They are part of the Tangible Heritage 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 kilometer 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.

Old wooden church Chiang Mai Historical Houses
The first church in Chiang Mai

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 the late Boonserm Satrabhaya, who is a relative of the family who owns the hotel.

Old Colonial Style hotel Chiang Mai Historical HousesHeritage of North Thailand
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 the 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. This is the station where you depart or arrive on our Railway Journeys. Join us on our Bangkok to Chiang Mai Train Journey!

building with a clocktower Chiang Mai Historical Houses
Chiang Mai Railway Station 2018

The 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 to 1924. It was used initially as the central administrative office of the Monthon Payap – Siam’s administrative unit. Later it served as the Provincial Hall of Chiang Mai. After a renovation, it became an Arts and Cultural Center.

Bicycle taxis in front of colonial style building Chiang Mai Historical Houses
Samlors at the Three Kings Monument

Lanna Folklife Museum

This Thai-colonial-style building dates back to 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 stenciling 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 Chiang Mai Historical Houses
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 center 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

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. The entrance fee to this museum is 20THB.

To visit the Queripel House you have to join a guided tour of which there are four each day at these times: 1000, 1130, 1400, and 1530.
The exhibition is about the Queripel family and the history of the teak industry in North Thailand. Arthur Lionel Queripel (1878-1946) was a forest manager for the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. Explanations are in Thai and in English. It is well done.
Colonial style house