Two songtaews in front of old house Thapae Road
Leow Yong Nguan House on Thapae Road

The Heritage Houses on Thapae Road

There are a number of Heritage Houses of Thapae Road. Old pictures that were taken before the arrival of the railroad in Chiang Mai in January 1922 shows a street with mostly wooden houses. Some of the iconic heritage houses were already there, others were constructed after modern building materials started arriving by train from Bangkok. During the 1920s Thapae Road developed into the main business centre of Chiang Mai, eclipsing the Wat Ket area.

Yong Chang House

The Yong Chiang house is at the Upakut intersection, named after the Wat Upakut. It is on the corner of Thapae and Wichayanon roads, address 2-4 Wichayanon road. A Chinese merchant built it in 1903. It appears on many pictures. This building is also known as the Sri Prasert building. The Sri Prasert shop sold bicycles and radios. In 2014 this house was the Long Chang Boutique Hotel for a short time. Currently, it houses a branch office of the UOB Bank.

Colonial style house
Yangchong House Thapae Road

Leow Yong Nguan House

The Leow Yong Nguan House belongs to the Saeleow Family. It dates back to 1915. A man called Uy Saeleow built the house.  He was an immigrant from China who was involved in trading on the Ping River, based in the Wat Ket area. He operated boats that carried cargo to Bangkok back and forth. Local people called him “old turtle Uy”. His first residence was the house that now is the Gallery Restaurant on Charoenrat Road.

The Wat Ket area was the commercial centre until the opening of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai railroad in 1922. The commercial centre then moved to the Sanpakoy area and Thapae Road. I would date the year of construction of the house on Tha Phae Road actually after that, looking at the style of building and the materials used. Uy gave this house the same name: Leow Yong Nguan House.  In the beginning, the store sold agricultural products and textiles. Later on, it sold electronics, bicycles and motorbikes amongst others. Uy Saeleow passed away in 1932. A pizzeria occupies the first floor at the moment. There are several souvenir shops on the ground floor.

Road with old house
Leow Nguan Yong House

Kitipanit Store

The Kitipanit store on Thapae Road was probably the first department store in Chiang Mai. The building was constructed in 1925. The arrival of the railroad in Chiang Mai had a profound impact on the city. Many new shops and businesses opened in the Sanpakoy area and on Thapae Road. The Kitibut family was the owner of Kitipanit Store. Chin Kiew Kitipanit was the manager.

The Directory for Siam and Bangkok of 1927 lists the store under “Motor, Cars, Accessories, Tyres, Oils, etc.” as well as under “General and Piece-Goods”. The Bangkok Times, the leading English-language newspaper in those days, issued this directory annually or bi-annually. According to other sources the store also sold household goods, kitchen utensils as well as imported clothes and cosmetics.

The wealthy and privileged were doing their shopping at the Kitipanit Store. After many years of neglect, renovation started in 2019 on this beautiful house. In December 2019 a Thai restaurant was opened under the name Kitipanit. The restaurant serves Lanna Cuisine. On the website, it says “since 1888″…..

Colonial style house Heritage houses of Thapae Road
Kitipanit restaurant just after opening, December 2019

Ratanapon Stationery Store

This beautiful building on Thapae road dates back to 1932. Sometimes you will find the spelling Rattanapol instead of Ratanapon. The Puwakoon family of Chinese descent owns the house. The house took 13 months to build and for a long time was one of the highest buildings in Chiang Mai. It now houses a stationery shop.

Colonial style house
Ratanapon Stationary Shop

Raming Tea House Siam Celadon

The Raming Tea House Siam Celadon is located on Thapae Road. The building dates back to 1915. It is built in the so-called Gingerbread style. Khun Anukornburi was the owner of the house. He was of Chinese descent and the founder of the Nimakon clan. In the early days, the house was a shop selling construction materials. The shop was called “Nim Cheo Chuad”. In 2002/3 the house was renovated and then became the Raming Tea House Siam Celadon.

Tea House Siam Celadon

Raming Tea House Heritage houses of Thapae Road
Tea House Siam Celadon.