In the Footsteps of the Teak Wallahs

Roughly between 1885 and 1941 the teak industry was the most important economic activity in North Thailand. Mostly British companies, such as the Bombay Burma Trading Corporation and the Borneo Company, were involved in this industry. After World War Two North Thailand saw a revival of this industry until the Thai government nationalized the logging industry in 1956. During this tour we will take you to several historical places related to the heyday of the teak industry.

Price per person in THB
2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8 pax
3,900 3,300 2,900 2,700 2,500 2,400 2,300

From: 3,900.00 ฿

Journey back to the Teak Era

Visit heritage houses by samlor

Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel to start your tour to follow the footsteps of the Teak Wallahs. We will start our tour at the Warorot Market where our samlor drivers wait for us. The samlor, a bicycle taxi, was an important mode of public transportation during the days of the teak industry. They pedal us to the Mosway Manor and the Upayokin House, two heritage houses from the heyday of the teak industry. We continue to the Wongluekiat House, a teak wooden house on pillars. Our next destination is the beautiful Lanna Ancient house, one of the oldest houses in Chiang Mai. The owner was a teak trader from Burma. Unfortunately, none of these houses are accessible, so we have to look from the outside in.

Bicycle taxis waiting
Samlors at the Chiang Mai Ancient House

The William Bain House

Opposite this house was the compound of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation, comprising three houses. We will show you pictures of the main house, taken just before World War Two. At that time, Evelyn van Millingen, one of the teak wallahs, lived in the house. Unfortunately, they took down this beautiful house in1973. After this, we will have a brief look at the first wooden church. Missionary doctor Marion Alonso Cheek designed and built this church. He was involved in the teak industry in the very early days. We continue to the 137 Pillars House. The restaurant of this hotel is the old house of William Bain, the last manager of the Borneo Company and one of the most well-known of the Teak Wallahs. It is a beautiful teak wooden house where we will have a drink.

Four man with tree trunks
Four Teak Wallahs. Left to right: unknown, unknown, Queripel, van Millingen

Wat Ket Museum

After this, we will walk to the Wat Ket Museum. Jack Bain, son of William Bain, the last manager of the Borneo Company, founded this museum at Wat Ket Karaam in 2001. The museum contains artifacts and pictures, some of which are related to the teak industry. From the museum, we walk to the Chansom Anusorn footbridge, the location of the first teak wooden bridge over the Ping River. We will show you pictures of this bridge, known as the “Khua Kula” (Northern Thai language for “bridge of foreigners”). Floating teak logs damaged the bridge in 1932, after which it collapsed.

 

Buddhist monks on a bridge
Monks on the new Chansom Anusorn Bridge

The sports club of the Teak Wallahs

Next is the Gymkhana Club, the old colonial sports club. In 1898 fourteen people, mostly British employees of the above-mentioned teak companies founded this club. On the walls are group photographs of members, most of which were involved in the teak industry. We will have lunch at the club, with a view of the famous raintree. Our next destination is the Foreign Cemetery, next to the sports club. This is the last resting place of many Teak Wallahs. Every gravestone has an interesting story. Your guide will tell some of those stories.

Cemetery in a forest
Chiang Mai foreign cemetery

The Queripel House

Our last destination will be the house of Arthur Lionel Queripel, an employee of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. The house is on the Lanna Traditional House Museum compound, which showcases several beautiful traditional wooden houses. It is now a small museum about the teak industry and Arthur Queripel and his family. We have arranged a private visit to this museum, after which we will have a look at the other historical houses on display. That concludes our exploration in the footsteps of the Teak Wallahs.

Check out our other historical tours and other things to do in Chiang Mai. We also offer a two day trip in Chiang Mai and Lampang focusing on the teak trade.

Colonial style house
Queripel House Museum

Highlights

Samlor tour

Heritage houses

Wat Ket Museum

The William Bain House

Gymkhana Club

Foreign Cemetery

Queripel House

Lanna Traditional House Museum

Inclusions

What is included

Transportation by private AC car
English speaking guide
Samlor tour
Lunch
two kinds of fruit of the season
Thai snacks
Entrance fees
Drinking water during meals
Limited medical insurance

What is not included

All drinks except drinking water during meals
Personal expenses
Tips