Black House Chiang Rai, also known as The Baan Dam Museum, The Black House Museum & The Black Temple, is one of Thailand’s most weird and interesting places to visit. Created by Thai contemporary artist Thawan Duchanee, it has a multitude of quirky, modern buildings blended in with traditional Northern Thai buildings.
Being the counterpart of the White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun, It has similarities to it with its contemporary art. This is a major contrast from Blue Temple Chiang Rai which boasts elegant Buddhists sculptures.
However, Black House Chiang Rai is not a religious temple, yet, a state-of-the-art modern masterpiece. If you want to see something out of the ordinary and impressive, visit Black House Chiang Rai.
Read on for further information as we give details on how to get to the Black House, what it looks like and some top tips to save you time and money.
How to get to Black House Chiang Rai
Address: 414 Moo 13, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand
The Black House Museum is located around 11 km from the centre of Chiang Rai. It takes 20 min by car to get there. Putting the above address in Google Maps or Maps.me will be pretty straight forward in getting there.
The best option in our opinion is renting a scooter and making your own way there. The traffic isn’t as bad compared to the likes of Bangkok, where you feel like you’re in a game of Mario Kart, so it will be less stressful getting around.
Renting a scooter gives you more freedom and is the cheapest option. You could even visit Blue Temple Chiang Rai or The White Temple on your journey.
If you prefer to go by car, then use the Grab app book your taxi. This is a better way to book a taxi as they offer fair prices and it’s less hassle, you don’t have to stand at the side of the road frantically waving your arms in hopes a taxi sees you.
If you do decide to do this, then make sure the taxi driver starts the meter before they set off. A cheap taxi ride could turn into an expensive one when the driver just makes up the price. Not today my friend.
Alternatively, book a taxi through a tour office or accommodation. They will have a set price and you could even make a day of it visiting the Blue Temple and the White Temple.
There’s also the option of hailing down a tuk-tuk! Be sure to negotiate a price before setting off and do not pay until the journey ends. Pay upfront and the driver may somehow mysteriously not be able to drop you off at the location, meaning you have to walk an extra 10-15 min. Yes, it’s happened to us before.
There is also an option to take a bus, this would be our least favourite choice. Thailand can get quite hot and the local buses don’t have air conditioning. If you want to share a crowded bus in 30⁰C+ heat for the ‘backpacker experience’ be our guests. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you if someones armpit is in your face.
A bus can be caught from the old bus terminal, in the centre of Chiang Rai. Ask the information desk regarding which bus to take and tell them you wish to visit ‘Baan Dam’. The ticket fare will be fairly cheap around 20 THB and the journey shouldn’t take more than 30 min.
Black House Chiang Rai opening hours
The Black House Museum opening hours are 9 am – 5 pm.
As with most tourist attractions, get there sooner rather than later if you wish to have a less crowded experience. More room and freedom for selfies, right?
If you have come by scooter or car, do not worry, as there is plenty of parking near the entrance accommodated with souvenir shops and food stalls.
Black House Chiang Rai entrance fee
The Black House Museum used to be free entry, however, now a fee of 80 TBH needs to be paid.
A small fee to pay to view the intriguing pieces of art.
Black House Chiang Rai dress code
As mentioned before, the Black House is a museum and not a temple. Therefore, there is no dress code to enter. It does not have strict rules to cover shoulders or to cover knees, however, please be respectful to the local people. Don’t walk around the museum in budgie smugglers or a bikini!
What to expect
The Black House Museum is not just one standalone building, but a collection of buildings with their own uniqueness, spread out through some beautiful gardens. This is what makes it so interest and exciting, because you’re given a different perspective and feeling within each building you visit.
The first building you see greets you with gargantuan wooden doors, setting the fascinating scene of what’s to come. As you enter, the theme of huge elements continues, as in the middle of the room lays an equally impressive enormous wooden table, accompanied with equally enormous wooden chairs.
Perhaps, this isn’t even the most interesting part. Laying on the table are buffalo horns, snake skins and even a crocodile skin. The layout and set up of this can be compared to a scene out of Vikings or Game of Thrones. You can almost imagine a group of people sitting around feasting on boar and drinking ale from an ivory tusk.
It’s hard for your eyes to miss the impressive architecture. Built from thick wooden beams and decorated with animal antlers and skulls, the mood is certainly eerie.
With each building brings new discoveries, whether it is new animal remains, sculptures, furs or delicate paintings and drawings. Even the toilets are unique! Make sure to check them out too.
The animal remains, over exaggerated doors and chairs coupled with the dark colour scheme, makes the whole experience justify the name ‘Black museum’ or ‘Black House’. It is a stark contrast to other tourist attractions in Thailand such as the colourful and bright Blue Temple & White Temple. However, this contrast and uniqueness makes it stand out and is quite refreshing.
Other places to visit in Chiang Rai
Visit the White Temple / Wat Rong Khun
The White Temple, also known as ‘Wat Rong Khun’ is the total opposite to Black House Chiang Rai. From dark and mysterious to bright and enchanting, the White Temple is a must see in Chiang Rai. It is probably the most unique temple we have visited in Thailand.
Its white pearly colour is a striking feature and immediately grabs your eye, along with its stunning design.
Visit the Blue Temple / Wat Rong Seur Ten
Another temple that is not to be missed is the Blue Temple, also known as ‘Wat Rong Seur Ten’. With a blue pearly finish, it continues to the tradition of the White Temple and The Black House Museum by being more contemporary in design.
However, the Blue Temple displays more figures of Buddhism, the more obvious being the sculpture of Buddha, beautifully displayed outside and inside the Temple.
Watch the Clock Tower Light Show
On first impressions, the Clock Tower doesn’t seem that significant. Fast forward to night time, and the Clock Tower comes alive. Watch in awe as the Clock Tower lights up and shows off all its colours to the rhythm of music.
To be honest, we were personally underwhelmed, but hey, it’s something to see and it’s better than being inside scrolling the Facebook feed.
The Clock Tower lights up at 7 pm, 8 pm and 9 pm every night.
Hug fur balls at CAT ‘n’ CUP Cat Café
Are you a cat lover? Snuggle up with cats whilst you sip on coffee and eat a slice of cake. This was the first time we visited a cat café and we enjoyed ourselves. The place is clean and the cats are really friendly. One even had a nap in our hat! Cat in a Hat.
Where to stay in Chiang Rai
We personally stayed in Ann Hostel for 2 nights had little complaints. It was just used for a bed, a hot shower and Wi-Fi, nothing spectacular and it was cheap. They have some decent rooms for couples like us.
Grand Vista Hotel Chiang Rai – Featuring a restaurant, a bar, outdoor swimming pool, air conditioning, 24/h front desk and free parking, you could not ask for any more. This is one of the top hotels in Chiang Rai.
Mercy Hostel – Probably the most well-known hostel in Chiang Rai, situated right in the middle of the city. It is the perfect place to meet other backpackers whilst you have a game of pool in their games and lounge area. There’s a mix of dorm rooms for both male & females, as well as private rooms.
- As always, arrive early to avoid the majority of the tourist, for a less cluttered experience
- Use the Grab app for a fair taxi price
- The Black House Museum is not actually a temple, so do not worry about being totally covered up. Just respect the local culture and dress appropriately.
If you are wanting more ideas for things to do in Thailand, then be sure to check out our Thailand Blogs for more amazing ideas!