Chiang Mai Culture Guides


Thai Architecture

Chiang Mai Culture | Thai houses and temple styles in Chiang Mai

The most distinctive style of Thai architecture is seen in the many temples located all over Thailand. Chiang Mai has no shortage of these, conspicuous for their steep stuccoed roofs and ornate filigree.

The Wihaan (main hall) may have as many as five roof levels and distinctive lips. The entrances are often guarded by nagas, mythical snake-like serpents with ferocious heads. Throughout the ages the styles of chedis and Buddha images have also changed, and subtle or distinct differences indicate the art period, ranging from Mon through to Lanna, Lopburi, Sukhothai, Ayuthaya and the current Ratanakosin era.

Like many of the traditional houses in Thailand, those found in Chiang Mai are constructed of wood and are stilted. However, there is less emphasis on beating the heat, due to the milder climate. There are still many of these found in Chiang Mai, and by simply wandering the back streets of the old town, you can admire their simple but effective design and exquisite finish.

Many traditional Thai houses around Chiang Mai have been turned into guesthouses complete with traditional wooden and rattan furniture and all can be distinguished by the decorative 'galares' (cross-sword displays) that sits on the apex of the roof - forming an archetypical Northern Thai symbol.

Last Updated: 02 Oct 2007