Chiang Kham, town of the Tai Lue people
Chiang Kham is a district in the northeastern part of Phayao Province. Its capital is Chiang Kham town. Few tourists visit this rather remote part of North Thailand.
Chiang Kham is home to many Tai Lue people. The Tai Lue originally come from China and have their own language which is related to the Thai language. They migrated to northern Thailand around 200 years ago and settled in Phayao and Nan provinces. Very few Tai Lue people in North Thailand still speak their language though. There are also many Tai Lue people living in the countryside around Chiang Mai.
The attractions of Chiang Kham
The district boasts a number of interesting temples such as Wat Prathat Sob Waen, Wat Nantaram and Wat Phra Nang Din. Wat Nantaram is by far the most popular temple. This temple was not founded by the Tai Lue but by a Pa’O immigrant from Burma. Wat Phrathat Sob Waen has a fantastic exhibition of paintings that tell the story of Tai Lue migration.
Not far from Chiang Kham is the Phu Sang National Park, which is a part of the Doi Pha Mon Mountain Range. There is a bordercrossing with Laos, that is unfortunately not open for overseas tourists.
Tai Lue Textiles at Wat Yuan
At Wat Yuan is the Tai Lue Cultural Centre. It was established to display Tai Lue arts and culture. Exhibits include the colourful and elaborately designed Thai Lue fabrics in various patterns such as Lai Dok Kho Khruea, Lai Dok Kho, Lai Ma and Lai Dok Tang. The Cultural Centre also trains the young generation of Tai Lue people in Chiang Kham in their traditional arts and crafts.
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