Chiang Mai has an interesting collection of museums. There are museums covering the city’s rich history and evolution as well as ones themed on Northern Thailand’s ethnic hilltribes, a royal princess and the Royal Thai Air Force. One of the more unusual museums is a facility dedicated to insects, fossils and other quirks of nature. The What’s Up recommended the best Museums in Chiang Mai are shown below.
Last Updated: December 2018
Top 10 Chiang Mai Museums:
Arts and Cultural Centre | Baan Jang Nak | Dara Pirom Palace | Lanna Folklife | Lanna Traditional Houses | MAIIAM | National Museum | Tribal Museum | Wat Ket Karam | World Insects Museum | Cheap Car Rental | Further Reading
Note: Admission fees do change, we recommend you to check with the museums for the updates.
Despite its long winded name, this centre is actually a museum and is a better option for visitors travelling with children than the National Museum. This facility also follows Chiang Mai’s voyage through time, but with interactive displays, dioramas and videos. The displays illustrate the likes of village and farm life, key battles and the arrival of trains. The collections include some antique temple ruins. The museum buildings are antiques in their own right and are the former Provincial Hall offices built in the Lanna Style popular in the 1920s. The culture centre is on the same Old City plaza as the Three Kings Monument.
Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre: #127/7, Prapokklao Rd., T. Sri Phum, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 08:30-17:00 (Tuesday-Sunday) | Admission Fees: Adult 90 B; Child 40 B | Tel: +66 53 217 793 | Fax: +66 53 219 833 | Website | Facebook
The exhibits of the Chiang Mai National Museum are housed in an elegant structure just down the road from Wat Chet Yot Temple. The pieces in this museum trace the evolution of Chiang Mai through historic times and into the Lanna Kingdom. Period costumes, statues, stone Buddha heads, coins, pottery utensils and even elephant-riding relics are among the items on show here.
Chiang Mai National Museum: #451, M. 2, Chiang Mai-Lampang Rd., T. Chang Phuak, A. Muang Chiang Mai 50000 | Open: 09:00-16:00 (Wednesday-Sunday) | Admission Fee: 100 B | Tel: +66 53 221 308, +66 53 408 568 | Fax: +66 53 221 308 | Website
The Dara Pirom Palace Museum is themed on the life and times of Phra Ratchachaya Chao Dararasmi, a daughter of a 19th century Chiang Mai lord. The living quarters, furniture, fabrics, musical instruments and ornaments offer glimpses of the life and times of the princess. The museum is located at the Dararasmi (Dararatsami) Army Barracks in Mae Rim.
Dara Pirom Palace Museum: T. Rim Tai, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 09:00-17:00 (Tuesday-Sunday) | Admission Fee: 20 B | Tel: +66 53 299 175
The Lanna Folklife Museum is across the road from the Three Kings Statue. This building was once the city’s courthouse and visitors enter via a lofty doorway set in an imposing facade. The separate galleries in this museum concentrate on bringing the Lanna Kingdom back to life with dioramas, interesting artefacts, religious relics and statues, and models. Unlike many other museums, this one offers hands-on experiences with visitors allowed to interact with some of the exhibits.
Lanna Folklife Museum: #127/7, Prapokklao Rd., A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 08:30-17:00 (Tuesday-Sunday) | Admission Fees: Adult 90 B; Child 40 B | Tel: +66 53 217 793 | Website
As its name implies, this museum showcases the traditional building styles of the Lanna and Northern Thai people. The Traditional House Museum is home to eight historic houses plus antique rice barns. The Heaun Phaya Wong and the majority of the other structures are raised on stilts. The colonial-style Heuan Lung Que is the only one on ground level. All the houses are the genuine article and have been transported from their original locations to the museum at Chiang Mai University’s Arts and Culture Centre.
Lanna Traditional House Museum: #239, Huay Kaew Rd., T. Suthep, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 08:30-16:30 (Monday-Friday), 09:00-16:30 (Saturday-Sunday) | Admission Fee: 20 B | Tel: +66 53 943 625-6 | Website | Email
The permanent collections housed at the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in San Kamphaeng are a living testament to the talents of Chiang Mai’s art community. The Departure of Country Thai Girls by Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook and Montien Boonma’s Venus of Bangkok plus works by the likes of Ampannee Satoh and Pinaraee Sanpitak are in equal measures thought-provoking and aesthetically pleasing. MAIIAM is also a venue for temporary exhibitions of pieces by contemporary Thai artistes.
MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum: #122, Moo 7, T. Tonpao, A. San Kampheang, Chiang Mai 50130 | Open: 10:00-18:00 (Closed on Tue) | Admission Fee: 150 B | Tel: +66 81 386 6899 | Website | Facebook
The Tribal Museum is in the north of the city and situated on an islet at Lanna Rama 9 Park. This facility is dedicated to promoting the culture and heritage of Northern Thailand’s hilltribes. Articles on show here include colourful clothing, handmade jewellery and tools from tribes like the Hmong, the Lahu and the Akha. The museum complex also has some authentic reconstructions of hilltribe houses.
Tribal Museum: Suan Lanna of King Rama 9, Chotana Rd., T. Chang Phuak, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50300 | Open: 08:30-16:00 (Monday-Friday) | Admission Fee: Free | Tel: +66 53 210 872 | Website
Baan Jang Nak is a facility dedicated to showcasing the skills of Chiang Mai’s famous wood carving artisans and the region’s elephant population. Baan Jang Nak is a museum and workshop founded in the 1980s by master wood-sculptor Phet Wiriya. Visitors to this exceptional facility will see carvings of elephants in all shapes and sizes. Several full-scale ones stand guard outside the museum’s old rice barns. Visitors also get to watch displays showing how the carvings are created. Those who do not have time to visit Baan Jang Nak in San Kamphaeng can buy themselves an elephant carving souvenir from the Old City outlet on Rachadamnoen Road. The museum complex also has some authentic reconstructions of hilltribe houses.
Baan Jang Nak: #56/1, Moo 2 , T. Buak-Kang, A. San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai 50130 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Monday-Saturday) | Admission Fee: Free | Tel: +66 53 446 891 , +66 83 203 9991 | Website | Facebook
A privately-run facility close to Nimmanhaemin Road, the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders is a jewel in Chiang Mai’s attractions crown. A gigantic collection of preserved beetles and colourful butterflies is perfectly complimented by exhibits such as pre-historic fossils, seashells, natural rock carvings, gems, a human footprint in stone and termite-patterned petrified wood.This museum is always a hit with youngsters.
Museum of World Insects: #72, Nimmanhemin 13, Sirimungkalajan Rd., A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 10:00-16:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 300 B; Child 100 B | Tel: +66 53 211 891 | Fax: +66 53 216 262 | Website | Facebook | E-mail
This community museum is at Wat Ket Karam Temple. The temple is near the right bank of the River Ping. The museum’s exhibits have mostly been donated and range from historic pictures and photographs of Chiang Mai to black and white televisions, valve radios and early fax machines. Intricate carvings, plates, buffalo cart wheels, Buddha statues and heads round off the exhibits spread around the chambers at this converted monk’s residence.
Wat Ket Karm Museum: #96, Charoenraj Rd., T. Wat Ket, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50000 | Open: 09:00-16:00 (Daily) | Admission Fee: Free