Chiang Mai is home to a bunch of brilliant museums, from the quirky to the historical and everything in between. Learn more about northern Thailand’s intriguing culture, interact with the world around you or take a walk down memory lane, there is something for everyone! We’ve compiled a list of the best museums to check out while you are in Chiang Mai.
Tribal Museum of Chiang Mai
The Tribal Museum is definitely a must visit to deepen your understanding of northern Thailand’s diverse and vibrant hill tribe cultures. Discover the cultures of Akha, Hmong, Yao and more as you browse the displays featuring traditional costumes, tools and art. There are also daily slide shows from 10 am to 2 pm which tells the fascinating stories of the major northern hill tribes.
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Friday 9 am to 4 pm
Located in the heart of the old city by the Three Kings Monument is the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center. This museum is dedicated to preserving (and educating people about) the history and culture of Chiang Mai. Learn about local lifestyles, agricultural practices, hill tribe people or venture to the section dedicated to regional beliefs and Buddhism.
The Chiang Mai National Museum is the main regional museum and provides visitors with a rich cultural understanding of the history of the region. Located close to the Wat Jed Yod Temple this museum is also home to a collection of unique artefacts of pottery and Buddhist icons.
Opening Hours: Open Wednesday to Monday from 9 am to 4 pm.
This quirky establishment is something a little different on the tourist map. The Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders is not for those who are squeamish when it comes to creepy crawlies. The museum is run by Manop Rattanarithikul (nicknamed “The Mosquito Man”), an eccentric entomology enthusiast and his wife Rampa. The duo have been studying and collecting insects for most of their lives and founded the museum together in 2002. The museum’s highlight, if you have been bitten by mosquitos in Thailand, is seeing 422 species of Thai mosquito dead and impaled in glass cases!
Visiting Art in Paradise is a fun day out for the whole family. Known to be one of the world’s biggest 3D art museums, guests who visit the museum become part of the exhibits as they interact and connect to the paintings. You can be seen to fly, explore the sea, or even grow angel wings. Rather than just looking at paintings on a wall you literally become part of the realistic artworks.
For historians and plane enthusiasts, the Chiang Mai Airforce Museum is a real treat. On display is a rare collection of airplanes from World War II. You’ll be able to hop into the planes and learn insightful information about the history of each individual plane.
Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum is a new, modern and extremely sophisticated addition to the Chiang Mai’s burgeoning art scene. The mirror walled entrance is the highlight of its architectural design. Maiiam has permanent collections, temporary exhibitions, live performance areas, a gift shop and more!
The Dolls Museum is a brilliant option suitable for all ages. The museum is connected to a centre that specializes in hand-crafted dolls, over fifty thousand have been created from all around the world and displayed in the museum. Dolls are made from cloth, ceramic and porcelain and depict wizards, clowns, hill tribes, Ramayana, warriors, and much more!
This museum provides an informative and fascinating insight into the life of Dara Rassamee, a consort of King Chulalonghorn (Rama V) and the half-sister of the Prince of Lanna of that time. Dara Rassamee lived over 100 years ago and was highly influential in uniting the Kingdoms of Lanna and Siam. She also dedicated much of her time to preserving art, antiques, furniture, photographs, and clothing from Lanna culture. At the museum, located in her former home, you can see much of her collection on display.