There are several main attractions in Chiang Rai. Besides Wat Rong Khun, Baan Dam aka the Black House is another place of interest that is listed as a must visit in this Northern part of Thailand. That goes without saying that Baan Dam was part of my itinerary after visiting Wat Rong Khun with my Charter Tour from KKday.
By the time we arrived at Baan Dam, it was after lunch and a short coffee run. And without saying, this place was packed with tourists.
To enter Baan Dam, one got to pay $80 baht as the entrance fee.
But this place is massive as it is a collection of the lifetime’s work of renowned Thai artist, Thawan Duchanee. As we gone through the entrance, one would see a small temple with Thai Buddhas as well as a big, aged teak building built with multi-tiered Lanna style roof.
Walking into the black teak building, one can’t help to notice that there is a wide collection of eccentric and unusual items. Long wooden tables with crocodile skin and near the entrance at the end of this building, one would also find a long snake skin across the table. While some people find Baan Dam a very dark place with exhibits of dead animal parts e.g skin, skulls and even horns, I am intrigued by the art collection and wonder how was Thawan Duchanee like as a person as this is the very place that the artist used as his art studio and home before it became a museum to showcase his works.
As one roam around in the Baan Dam premise, you would find many well maintained aged teak building as well as open-air structure displaying animals’s skins, furs, skulls, horns, bones and even elephant’s tusks. Each building has installation of both ancient and new. It is believed that Baan Dam is Thawan Duchanee’s portrayal of hell and the dark side of human beings which is a complete opposite of his teacher Chalermchai Kositpipat’s White Temple aka Wat Rong Khun.
It is not uncommon to find some wooden exhibits of the male organ in Baan Dam. Some of my ang moh friends were quite amused by them. Just some fun fact, there is a kind of Thai amulet that is shaped like a penis named palad khik in Thailand. Many Thais believed that palad khik is an amulet of good luck and protection.
Do remember to spare at least an hour or so at Baan Dam as it is a huge place with unique architectures and interesting art pieces. There is also a small souvenir shop as well as a place that sells soft serve ice cream at the Baan Dam. Do note that the operating hours are from 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm and parking is can be easily found at the carpark opposite Baan Dam. For those who are looking to come here, I would recommend to get the Charter Tour from KKday, self drive or book a grab car for several hours. Forget about joining those half day tour from tour agency if you want more time to explore the place cos usually the time allowance is quite short.
Ban Du district, north of Chiang Rai
Open daily 09:00-12:00 & 13:00-17:00
T: (089) 767 4444, (053) 705 834