After a successful day out to the White Temple and Khun Kon Forest Park the day before we were keen to see as much as we could before returning our trusty scooter to the hire shop. A quick look over the map of the Chiang Rai area gave us a few options north of the city including the spooky Baan Dam – Black House Museum and the mighty Wat Huay Pla Kang 9 Tier Temple.
So we made a vague plan and off we went…
An amazing breakfast spot in Chiang Rai
After suffering with slightly turbulent stomachs since eating our creations from the Thai cooking class a couple of days beforehand we were in need of a low risk but filling breakfast. Luckily the perfect place was just over the bridge, a few minutes from our Chiang Rai homestay, and we were soon enjoying some amazing poached eggs and more by the river at Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House.
Visiting Wat Huay Pla Kang 9 Tier Temple
After a delicious breakfast we navigated through the residential streets towards the mighty 9 Tier Temple on a hillside just north-west of the city. I had seen pictures of the modern temple building with it’s 9 tiers reaching slowly towards the sky so had some idea of what we were looking for.
However nothing prepared us for the immense Buddha statue being constructed next door which now dwarfs the 9 Tier Temple. Coated mostly in a bright white ceramic type material it gleams brightly from its lofty position on the hillside. As we drew closer it just kept getting bigger.
There was no admission charge for the 9 Tier Temple and the view from the top floor was great as you could see out from the hill for miles around. As it is a working temple each floor contains several Buddha images so be respectful and take your time to climb to the top, particularly on the tiny 9th tier.
If you have a car or moped we would suggest seeking this temple out, it will be quite pricy to get a taxi here and back. Compared to the touristy White Temple the day before we were the only westerners there when we visited.
After taking in the views a little more we jumped back on the scooter in search of the spooky Baan Dam – Black House Museum further north.
Getting to Wat Huay Pla Kang 9 Tier Temple
You can see the temple and Buddha from miles away but it can still be tricky to find. Tag it on you phone if possible in case you get lost. Coming from the city it is easiest to head north on Soi Maefarloung rather than Highway 1.
Open 7am – 9.30pm daily
Address: 553 Moo 3, Rimkok Subdistrict, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand
Google map of the 9 Tier Temple:
Visiting the Baan Dam – Black House Museum
Having seen the now lifework of one artist in creating the White Temple complex south of Chiang Rai we wanted to balance it up with something a little ‘darker’ to the north or the city. We had read up on the Baan Dam – Black House Museum and it sounded like something a bit weird that we would like.
Between us we had a hard time in finding it so be aware that the sign from Highway 1 is a bit nondescript. There’s a purple sign that says ‘Artist – Thawan Duchanee’ at the left turn on Highway 1 but it might be easier to slow down when you see the Nonsi Resort Chiang Rai as it should be the next left.
The house itself is just one of around 40 structures spread across quite a large site, and similar to the White Temple, all the creation of one Thai artist Thawan Duchanee.
We arrived at around midday and the place initially seemed crowded as it’s at the end of a narrow lane and several jeeps and vans were trying to push through the visitors.
There’s no charge to visit so no gate or admission desk to pass but just a lone security guard who enforces the ‘no food or drink onsite’ rule. Worth knowing about as we purchased a smoothie at the lovely coffee shop next door and had to gulp it down before entering.
The huge ‘Black House’ is the first building you see when you arrive but once you get past this there’s a load of room to wander around and examine the disturbing artwork.
As you’d expect from the name, black is a common theme with the use of animal bones painted black and skins a common occurrence around the site. Some horns, antlers and tusks have been made into chandeliers, furniture and more.
One of the most impressive displays featured a giant table with the place settings elegantly set waiting who knows what to come and feast, all very spooky.
How to get to the Baan Dam – Black House Museum
On our scooter we had a bit of trouble finding the place as I mentioned, see above.
There is also a public bus from the central Chiang Rai bus station. It takes around 30 minutes and costs 20 THB each way. The last return bus is 6pm daily.
Open daily 9am – 12pm & 1pm – 5pm *beware of the 1 hour lunch closure!
Google map of the Baan Dam – Black House Museum: