Chiang Rai’s Black House for Travel Photo Thursday

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Budget Travel Tips, Chiang Rai, Featured, Travel Photo Thursday | 33 comments

Welcome to the 200th week of Travel Photo Thursday, and what virtual tours we have had during these weeks. I’m sure that we’ve been around this beautiful world of ours more than a few times. This week I’m taking you back to one of my favorite places, Thailand, and very specifically, Chiang Rai’s Black House, home to the artistic endeavors of Thai artist Thawan Duchanee.

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Chiang Rai is home to two major complexes; each the artistic endeavor of two different Thai artists. First, there’s the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun, the life work of  Chalermchai Kositpipat.

White Temple

I visited both the White Temple and the Black House on the same day last February. Since then, Northern Thailand experienced an earthquake strong enough to cause significant damage to Wat Rong Khun. Thankfully, with an outpouring of support from the international community, the temple complex will be restored. Apparently, many of the buildings remain closed, but visitors are permitted on the grounds to take photos of the building exteriors.

Now, onto the topic of today’s Travel Photo Thursday, Baan Dam or the Black House.  To confuse you even more, it is also known as the Black Temple (due to its temple like architecture), and officially the Bandaam Museum! Baan Dam is a little off the beaten track, about  7 kilometers from the White Temple. I was on a tour, so didn’t have to worry about getting there, but if you are on your own you’ll have to figure out the public bus, or maybe a taxi or tuk tuk. When I visited in February, there was no English signage.

The locals refer to the White Temple as “Heaven”. and  Baan Dam as “Hell”.


A stunning teak hall, reminiscent of a Thai temple, greets visitors…


Main Building at Baan Daum/Black House


Then, you’ll lose of track of time, as you wander around admiring gawking at what’s inside, some beautiful and lots of it is just downright weird!


Did you hear me whimper shriek? There is no way in hell that I would be sharing my dinner table with this guy!


Python at Baan Daum/ Black House


Can you imagine offering guests a seat at your dining room table?  (NO ear nuzzling, please, I’m Canadian!)


Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?


Intricate wood carvings and other art work…


Wood Carvings at Baan Daum/Black House



My new best friend 🙂 I think he could use some new dentures!


Baan Daum/Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand


Baan Daum/Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand


Finally, a peacock and bone work of art to admire…


Peacock Feather/Bone Decoration at Baan Daum/Black House


Leaving the main hall I wondered what other art work dead animals might be on display. First I stopped to admire a few of the buildings. Love that roof ornament and the door trim!


Ornate Buildings at Baan Daum/Black House


Next stop a traditional Thai house on stilts…


Baan Daum/Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand


And what do we have underneath? More dead animals, of course! (Do you think there are any cows left in Northern Thailand?!)


Cow Head at Baan Daum/Black House



And are you looking at   gaping at all those bones behind the cow’s head? If you’ve always dreamed of seeing    ever wondered what an elephant skeleton looks like, today would be your day! 🙂


Elephant Skeleton



A wooden tub…(thinking Beverly Hillbillies here!) With all these dead animals, Jed, Granny and Ellie Mae would fit right in!


Bathroom at Baan Daum/ Black House


Are you thinking that we’ve seen all of the interesting weird stuff? Not by a long shot!

We have a couple of more buildings that looking worthy of our exploration…

This reminds me of a dolphin! Actually, if I had taken the photo from the side you would know that it is a replica of a submarine!


Baan Dam/Black House


Well the “submarine” wasn’t open, but the “igloo” was…


Baan Daum/Black House

Baan Daum/Black House


Walk right in  Brace yourself… This guy looks harmless.


Baan Daum/Black House



That’s one big crocodile he’s guarding!


Baan Daum/Black House, Chiang Rai


And souvenirs are available at the gift shop…


Baan Daum/ Black House Gift Shop


In spite of the rather eerie artwork, I did enjoy my visit here. I highly recommend this as a go to destination for anyone visiting Northern Thailand.

Have you ever been to Black House? Would you visit?


Travelers Tip

This is an easy day trip out of Chiang Mai (lots of driving). My tour included the White Temple, Black House, and lunch for a very affordable $30.00.

If you are in Chiang Rai and want to visit on your own, ask you hotel to arrange a taxi or tuk tuk. You can also get a bus from the bus terminal.

Admission: Free (at least when I was there in February 2014).

Open daily form 9 am to 5 pm. Closed for lunch from 12 noon to 1 pm

Address: 414 Moo 13 Nanglae, Muang, Chiang Rai, 57100


Week 200

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who have contributed to Travel Photo Thursday over the weeks and years. You have made Thursdays special, and together we have created a huge database of travel memories for all to enjoy! Here’s to our next milestone…WEEK 300 🙂


This is the 200th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.


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  1. Wow this looks like an amazing place to visit! Friends of ours have been there a few times, but we haven’t got that far…yet…
    Happy travels and congratulations on the milestone in travel blogging.

    • Hi Jill. It’s definitely different, and full of surprises!

  2. Interesting museum, a bit too “dark” for my taste, but nevertheless interesting.
    Congratulations for the 200th week! (^_^)

    • It is definitely “dark”.

  3. This place is totally freaky. The buildings are lovely but the bones and dead animals are just wierd. No wonder the locals call it hell! Congratulations on the 200th TPThursday. An amazing achievement. I love linking up and reading about all the wonderful places your linkers go to.

    • Hi Phoebe. Yeah, I kept wondering where all of these dead animals came from. I’m not sure if the artist is a hunter, or he had someone else do the killing. Either way, weird!

  4. wow….really…all I can say is wow! Did I say wow?
    I must admit that I don’t see it making my bucket list any time soon!

    Congratulations on the milestone!

    • Hi Denise. You’d be surprised at how many people want to go to the Black House. It has gained quite a reputation in Northern Thailand.

  5. Congratulations on Week 200! I have met so many wonderful bloggers through TP Thursday, including you and looking forward to celebrating Week 300 with you. What an interesting temple. I really like the exterior but some of their decorations were certainly questionable. I’d freak out with that snake. I knew about the White Temple but didn’t know about this one.

    • Hi Mary! We have a wonderful group here, and week 300 sounds exciting! Not as well known as the White Temple, but gaining a reputation.

  6. Wow! Fantastic post. Had such a good time on our trip to Thailand last year that we will go again at some point and your post has inspired me.

  7. Wow, congrats on 200, what a huge milestone!!! So look forward to seeing what the next 100 bring!:-)

    • Hi Brooke! I’m glad I’ve given you some inspiration. I always love reading about places that I “missed” on previous visits.

  8. Oh, congratulations on the Big 200, Nancie. That is a benchmark for lineups. And like Mary said I have met so many ‘friends’ through this link up and traveled so many interesting places with them, that I can’t thank you enough for the work you go through to bring us all together each week. This post is absolutely fabulous and can you believe I didn’t even know there had been an earthquake in Northern Thailand! See, you not only provide travel stories but breaking news as well!!

    • Hi Jackie. Thanks! Yes, that’s definitely one of the huge pleasures of Travel Photo Thursday, all the people we meet each week, and the wonderful places that we get to see through someone else’s eyes.

  9. The temples in Thailand are pretty amazing. I’m not too sure about their unhealthy obsession with dead animals and animal skins however! Do you think these are there to scare off evil spirits? A very interesting place Nancie.

    • Hi Kathy. I have no idea why the artist seems to be so obsessed with dead animals. Maybe he just wants to get a reaction from people. It works!

  10. Congrats on 200 weeks of Travel Photo Thursday. It’s the Link Up that I’ve been participating in for the longest, so I am kicking myself that I blew off doing a post for this week. The Black House certainly has a dark atmosphere about it. If I recall your posts about the White Temple, that one is also a bit strange. I don’t remember that elsewhere in Thailand and am wondering if there’s something about Chang Rai that brings it out. Did you go home with that croc purse?

    • Hi Michele! Thanks for the good wishes. I’m glad you’ve been around for all this time. I always enjoy reading your post.
      Yes, both of these places are a bit on the strange side. That croc purse would give me nightmares. There is no way that it would be seen in my apartment! 🙂

  11. What amazing photos!!! I’ve not yet been to this part of the world, but your post has got me thinking I should get there soon. Thx!

    • Hi Doreen. My pleasure. It is an amazing part of the world!

  12. So interesting! Your photos really help show the beauty and intricacy of these artifacts. Well done!!

    • Hi Marilyn. Thanks so much!

  13. I’ve never heard of these places before, though I’ve been to Thailand several times. Thanks for taking me along. I do wonder who is going to buy that crocodile head purse.

    • Hi Carole. I was wondering the same thing. I cannot imagine going in public with that over my shoulder!

  14. Art that takes the eye some time to accommodate to and the mind to understand~

    • Hi Irene. You’ve got that right! 🙂

  15. Wow, kind of crazy! I have never seen so many animal remains at any one place in Asia. Where did that crocodile come from?!

    • Hi Andi. I have no idea. I don’t think they have crocs in Thailand, unless they do down south. I’m thinking Malaysia.

  16. Wow, thanks for sharing this experience. I hope to make it there some day.

  17. What fun to wander around such a fascinating, beautiful and serene place! Love the architecture and the bizarre home decor!

  18. We were in Thailand earlier this year and had a great time. We never made it to Chaing Ria though. Have to make it there next time 🙂

  19. Great post. Amazing picture, architecture, sculptures. I’m stunned with so much beauty. This looks like an amazing place to visit!


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