Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Chiang Mai Museums Walking Tour (Self Guided), Chiang Mai

There are many interesting things to see in Chiang Mai museums. The city boasts a rich and colorful history and culture that is well-preserved in the museums of Chiang Mai. You will learn about the mystery of ancient Lanna culture, Lanna art and Thai craft. This self-guided tour will lead you through the best of Chiang Mai’s museums.
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Chiang Mai Museums Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Chiang Mai Museums Walking Tour
Guide Location: Thailand » Chiang Mai (See other walking tours in Chiang Mai)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.2 Km or 5.7 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Chiang Mai Air Museum
  • Sbunnga Textile Museum
  • Museum of Lanna Musical Instruments
  • Chiang Mai National Museum
  • Tribal Museum
Chiang Mai Air Museum

1) Chiang Mai Air Museum (must see)

Located next to the airport, this restricted area is home to numerous planes from WWII as well some recent models from the Thai Royal Air Force. Here’s the catch: Wing 41 opens only upon request. Ask your hotel concierge to call and set an appointment. The museum opens only ”officially” for public on Children’s Day, which happen to be every second Saturday in January.
Sbunnga Textile Museum

2) Sbunnga Textile Museum (must see)

Located in Chiang Mai's Old Cultural Center, the Sbun-nga is the oldest textile museum in the whole of Thailand. It has a collection of over 6,000 rare and old textile exhibits and displays styles worn by both royalty and common local people. A special exhibit is devoted to Northern Thai textile designs. All displays include the ethnographic details of the tribes who weave the elaborate designs and also the reasons why they evolved the unique style.

Notable among the displays are textiles by the Thai Lue people who came from the Sipsong Panna in Southern China and made different parts of Thailand their home, the Lai Nam Lai or Flowing Water design by people who settled along the Mekong River, as well as the intricately worked elaborate headdress of the Lao people who emigrated to Thailand from Northern Laos in the last two hundred years (they have the finest weaving techniques among tribes in Thailand). There is also a display of formal robes worn by the Royal family including a swirling coronation dress of the Thai Prince. The silk dress is covered with metal and gemstone sequins.

Tours are by appointment and must be made in advance (check Sbunnga Museum page of Facebook). Tours last about 1 hr and are well worth taking. A modest fee of 200 THB/person opens a remarkable experience.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 2-3pm; 3:30-4:30pm
Museum of Lanna Musical Instruments

3) Museum of Lanna Musical Instruments (must see)

Housed in a beautiful wooden building with a traditional Thai architectural style, this museum displays the instruments used to create the soft melodious music of the Lanna people. Many of the instruments are also used in Chinese music because a large part of the population consisted of emigrants from the Yunnan province of China.

The museum is divided into three sections. The string section consists of two-stringed and four-stringed instruments like the Pin Pia, the Zueng and the Zalor. The wind instrument section has two types called Bpees. The Bpee Nae group has metal mouthpieces while the Bpee Joom group is made entirely of wood. The drum section has a collection of the eight major drums used during festivals and for music performances. Every festival in the region has a drum competition as part of the festivities.
Chiang Mai National Museum

4) Chiang Mai National Museum (must see)

Opened to the public in 1973 under the patronage of the King and Queen of Thailand and run by Chiang Mai's Fine Arts Department, the Chiang Mai National Museum is dedicated to the history of the Kingdom of Lanna of which the city was the capital. It is housed in a building designed using the architecture of old Lanna style structures with two floors and a unique traditional roof.

The Chiang Mai National Museum has six sections that include the background of the Lanna region from prehistoric times, the history of the Lanna Kingdom, trade and economy, art, Chiang Mai as part of Siam and Chiang Mai today. There are also dioramas showing Lanna under Burmese rule and the subsequent overthrow of the Burmese and other battles that were fought during the Lanna era. There is also an impressive collection of coins, weaponry, portraits and photographs of the Lanna Royal family.

Why You Should Visit:
It's always good to learn a little about the destination that you are visiting and this small museum, spread over two floors, will enlighten you on the history and culture of Northern Thailand.
There are plenty of exhibits to peruse and they are explained in both Thai and English. The standout display is the amazing ancient Buddha's Footprint which features tiny inlaid mother of pearl work.

The place is very clean and well organized; you do have to leave your bags in a locker, but you can take your phone or camera – just no flash photography.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Sun: 9am-4pm
Tribal Museum

5) Tribal Museum (must see)

Established in 1965 and located in the verdant Rama IX Park, the Tribal Museum is dedicated to the culture and practices of Thailand's hill tribes. The purpose of the museum is to serve as a resource for visitors interested in the aspects that make the customs of these tribes unique.

There are 970,000 hill tribes living in diverse geographical zones. Many of them are migratory and with the exception of a few tribes who live in valleys, many tribal languages do not have scripts. They believe in animism and their ceremonies, languages and customs have been handed down for centuries by word of mouth.

Collections at the Tribal Museum include costumes, tools, ceremonial objects, utensils, jewelry and musical instruments used by the major hill tribes like the Hmong, Karen, Akha, Lahu and Mien. The life-sized mannequins are dressed in their traditional costumes and a slide show is screened to help visitors get a better understanding of the lifestyles of these traditional hill people. Collections are arranged according to specific aspects of tribal life including fishing, agriculture, housing, religious beliefs, and musical instruments. Group tours are conducted on weekends and require advanced booking.

Why You Should Visit:
Much of the hill tribe way of life is eroding fast in modern times, making a visit to this museum all the more valuable for insights into the very different culture of the ethnic minorities in the hills.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-4pm
Free admission; donations are welcome

Walking Tours in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Create Your Own Walk in Chiang Mai

Create Your Own Walk in Chiang Mai

Creating your own self-guided walk in Chiang Mai is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Chiang Mai Shopping Walking Tour

Chiang Mai Shopping Walking Tour

Chiang Mai will captivate you with its shopping opportunities. You will find diverse, unusual and unique goods at very convenient prices. Chiang Mai is one of the cheapest places in Thailand to shop. You'll find silk, silver, clothing, ceramics, antiques, Buddhist art, lacquer and neilloware, and more. Take this self-guided tour to explore Thailand's most exiting shopping.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
North-West Chiang Mai Walking Tour

North-West Chiang Mai Walking Tour

Chiang Mai is a beautiful Asian city with a variety of tourist attractions. The city boasts an artsy atmosphere and many gorgeous temples scattered around town. There are several art galleries, museums and temples in the Northwestern part of Chiang Mai. It's also a district where you can experience Chiang Mai shopping. Take this self-guided tour to explore this part of Chiang Mai.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
South Chiang Mai Walking Tour

South Chiang Mai Walking Tour

The South of Chiang Mai is home to some wonderful sights, there's a Christian cathedral, which is a unusual in this Buddhist country, a magnificent Thai palace and ruins of ancient temples over a thousand years old. Take this self-guided tour to explore this amazing part of Chiang Mai.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.5 Km or 4.7 Miles
Chiang Mai Introduction Walk

Chiang Mai Introduction Walk

Once capital of an independent ancient kingdom, between the 13th and 16th centuries AD, Chiang Mai is a treasure trove of historic sights: vestiges of walls and moats, hundreds of intricately decorated Buddhist temples, including 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang, and more. These and other prominent attractions of Chiang Mai make up this orientation walk.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Chiang Mai Temples Walking Tour

Chiang Mai Temples Walking Tour

There are many impressive attractions in Chiang Mai, but its temples are really amazing. You'll see temples as old as the city itself, over seven hundred years old. The temples are must-see sites for their historic and cultural importance, for their architecture, and religious statues. Take this self-guided tour and explore these fascinating places in Chiang Mai.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles