Kamthieng House, Bangkok
Khamthieng House is abit of old Thailand hidden away on Asoke road .This traditional Northern Thai teakwood house is about 160 years old and is located in the grounds of Thai Siam Society.The Museum admission fee ia 100 baht .On display are equipment and tools used daily by farmers and fishermen in the North.There is also a Black Canyon to sit and soak up the peaceful atmosphere and imagine what Thailand was like in the past .
Off Thanon Asok (right next to Asok BTS station) and close to the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is a neat oasis of greenery, traditional Lanna Thai domestic stuff and a reading room where you can get away from shopping, car park attendants blowing their whistles at the cars, and the noise of the traffic.
The Siam Society was set up in 1904 to promote the artisitic and cultural affairs of Thailand, and even if its journal is a bit "dry" the membership do a grand job getting out and about the Kingdom keeping an eye on the history and the detail so it doesn't get swallowed up by the 21st century.
In its grounds, a beautiful traditional Lanna Thai wooden house, neatly reconstructed and showing a few nuggets and details behind popular and everyday culture. Rarely is it full, and it is so relaxing if you are around the Sukhumvit Soi 12 to 24 region. Not so much a destination as a pop in. A refulling stop and a nob of peace and quiet - before bouncing back into the six lane Asok Highway that storms past it.
Entry fee is 100THB, with discounts for various folks wot deserve discounts. Bookshop has most of past journal editions on sale, and more than a few shelves on issues Thai and South East Asia.
Soi Asok. Near the intersection with Sukhumvit. (Ask the plod / coppers in the air con booth directing traffic - they'll point you in the right direction.) 100 yards up the road, if that.
The Kamthieng House in the grounds of the Siam Society has more than a few tastefully laid out exhibits revealing the depth of meaning underneath;
- Triangular cushions ...that you can buy at Chatuchak Market
- tatoos the motorcycle taxi riders get to protect themselves and make them macho
- floral offerings to shrines, brides and grooms ...available at yes, Chatuchak.
- weaving silk bedspreads and why local lads aren's supposed to touch the local lasses' looms - again, ...buy 'em at Chatuchak,
- all you wanted to know about coloured candles,
-spiritual cloths and why taxi drivers are clued in,
- good luck emblems that you hang over your bedroom door (....yes, also available for purchase at Chatuchak blinking Market).
It gets a bit warm in there as it is cooled by fans. You'll probably be in there 30 minutes top whack, but still worth taking a bottle of water in there with you and a few chilled moist wipes. If you've been in here then your "look what I bought in Bangkok" remisces will sound sooooo much more arty and informed.
Soi Asok. Stand with your back to Sukhumvit Road. 100 yards down on the left handside, fifty paces and three skips past the Underground Station entrance.
If you like historic houses, it's definitely worth paying a visit to this little gem - Kamthieng House, in the grounds of the Siam Society, just off Sukhumvit Road. It is a fantastic example of a traditional-style teak-wood Thai house. It had until recently been under renovation for some time, but this is now complete.
The house was originally brought down from the north of the country, and dates from the mid-nineteenth century. It is now decorated with all sorts of domestic artifacts to give you a good idea of the daily lives of ordinary people in the past in Thailand. There are also a couple of videos playing continously which show aspects of past times in Thailand.
It's very easy to get to - just round the corner from Asok Skytrain station, and in August a Metro (underground) station will open next door. It's off the beaten path at the moment, though - not many people visit this place, and it's not well publicised at all.
Entrance is 100 baht, and opening hours are 9am until 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday. See my travelogue for some more pictures.