6 nights 7 days in the Top North.

DavidFL

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Date: Sunday 26 July - Saturday 1st August 2009

The way: Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Mae Sai - Mae Chan - Doi Mae Salong - Thoed Thai - Chiang Saen - Chiang Khong - Chiang Rai - Wiang Pa Pao - Phrao - Chiang Mai.

The weather: heavy overcast, but cool 'n dry! And it's wet season. You little beauty. :)

The weather at the start
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Going over the top the road was wet, but I lucked out - no rain.
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It was a break at Black Canyon in Mae Kachan for a cappuccino, then a bigger break at Charin Resort for cappu & cheese cake. Arrival time in CEI was 5.50PM & the Nimseeseng was the place of stay.

The master plan for this trip was to check out some "new" (for me) attractions in Chiang Rai.
1. Oub Kham Museum
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http://www.oubkhammuseum.com/

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2009/03/02/opinion/opinion_30096948.php

A lifetime's work opens a window on past grandeur
By Pridiyathorn Devakula
Published on March 2, 2009

TWO WEEKS AGO, while in the city of Chiang Rai, I took my customers to the Oub Kham Museum and found that it was recently renovated, providing more room for more impressive presentations.

Julasak Suriyachai, the founder and owner of this museum, has collected numerous antiques belonging to the Tai. He would very much like tourists, local or foreign, to see this rare collection and learn about the Tai races.

The Oub Kham Museum is considered to have the best private collection from the Lanna Kingdom and various cities of the Tai in southern China, the Shan state of Burma, Laos as well as the city of Thaen (or Dian Bian Fu nowadays) in Vietnam.

The collectibles include silver ornaments such as hairpins, necklaces, earrings, bangles, belts and crowns, which were crafted with delicate patterns.

Also on display are the costumes of various Tai races, especially those worn by the nobles in the old days, which were made of cloth woven with silk or gold thread, the kind of clothes that are no longer made.

These costumes are well preserved, still look elegant and are ready for use in any important ceremony. There are also personal utensils such as golden boxes to keep ornaments and other small belongings, silver containers for Buddha's relics, sacred water bowls crafted with finely perforated designs, silver sets for betel nuts and side dishes, and a small pavilion housing a Buddha image for worshipping at home.

Most spectacular are the rare Buddha images from various ancient periods, some older than a thousand years. They are made of metal as well as gemstones such as topaz, ruby, emerald, jade and rock crystal.

It can be said that this is the biggest collection of gemstone Buddha images under private ownership. Looking at some, which are made from a sizeable chunk of gemstone, one cannot even judge the value of the stone itself.

On the altars set up for worshipping visitors is a complete set of important Buddha images from the Chiang Saen period - Singha One, Singha Two and Singha Three - and many others in Chiang Saen style. The antiquary will definitely be contented if they see this set-up.

Besides, Julasak also put some important Buddha images from the Oothong and Sukhothai periods on the altars. This is a perfect set-up of a pedestal for a Buddha image called Oo Saen Suk (Oothong, Chiang Saen, Sukhothai) which has the very good meaning of the most comfortable dwelling.

Another Buddha image worthy of note is the Tai Yai, made of marble, sitting on top of the pedestal.

Bigger pieces from the Lanna Kingdom include the Sattaban, which is normally placed in front of the principle Buddha image in the main chapel and used for holding seven candles to worship the principle Buddha image.

Others are the carved wood ceiling of the chapel and Oub Kham, a utensil similar to Toke but with a big lid, made of bamboo covered with black lacquer plastered with gold leaves, and decorated with coloured stones or gemstones, for those belonging to nobles.

Beside Sattaban and Oub, another piece of Lanna art is the woodwork of an animal in heaven, according to the belief of the Lanna people, called Panjaroop (Five Figures), which is composed of the important features of five animals formed together to become one sacred animal.

The features are the trunk and tusks of an elephant, the body of a dragon, the wings of a bird, the tail of a fish and the legs and feet of a deer. The one in the museum was made of carved wood covered with gold foil and decorated with mirrors and coloured glass. It is now still in perfect condition.

There are a lot of sacred things that were the personal belongings of royalty in the old days including crowns, ornaments, betel nut sets, golden boxes and royal costumes.

You will be surprised to also see the thrones of the prince and princess of the ruler of one city in Shan. They are two sizeable armchairs made of wood, carved with a delicate pattern, coloured in gold and decorated with coloured stones and gemstones. They were placed next to each other - one for the prince and the other for the princess.

The most spectacular piece is the golden throne, which is a grand chair with a wooden panel standing elegantly on the back.

The wooden panel is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, magnificently engraved, coloured in gold and decorated with coloured stones.

This golden throne was brought from one of the important cities in Shan by the offspring of the ruler of that city when they immigrated to Thailand after General Newin seized power and attacked various cities in Shan.

The chair and background panel, which are quite spacious, were disassembled and hidden in a cart. They were reassembled after they reached the destination in Thailand.

As for the exhibition rooms that were renovated, one was converted into a cave, which in ancient times was used for hiding valuables during wars in order to retrieve them for use when things settled down.

A lot of good antique pieces are well displayed including many golden Oubs in perfect condition. Another renovated room is used to display costumes worn by various Tai races - Maow, Pujee, Yah, Lee, Yai, Lue, Yi, Tong, Juang, Dam, Sum Nuea as well as Palong, Kachin and Pai, which are also Tai races.

Some Chinese costumes with connections to Tai costumes and the costumes worn by the Mong tribe in Laos are also displayed for comparison.

The most outstanding one was worn in the court of Chiang Tung, which looks very elegant. Julasak has studied these costumes of the Tai races in detail and arranged this display to impress visitors on the dressing culture of the Tai races, which has been well developed for quite some time.

If any of you should ever travel to Chiang Rai, I recommend that you to spare about an hour to visit the Oub Kham Museum. Apart from admiring rare antiques, you can learn about the Lanna culture as well as Tai races in various places.

It is also a good opportunity to worship and admire rare Buddha images as explained above.

Once you see them yourself, you will understand why I appreciate the perseverance and dedication of Julasak in constructing this place to exhibit his lifetime collection for other people to appreciate and admire without being possessive.
Unfortunately no photos are allowed in the museum, but I did manage one with Ajarn Julasak Suriyachai outside his museum
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The museum is a truly amazing place & could be one of the North's best kept secrets? But it shouldn't be.
Everyone should check out this place in Chiang Rai!

2. A couple of hill top wats south of the Kok River.

Wat Doi Incee.
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The view
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Wat Mae Aep
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3. Huay Mak Liam Hot Springs
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The Huay Mak Liam springs are right beside the Kok River
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to be continued...
 

ianyonok

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Dec 9, 2008
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Friends,

The Oub Kham museum is indeed one of the most interesting places to visit in Chiang Rai city. Khun Julasak started his collection many years ago, when he was dismayed at all the Lanna artifacts that were being bought by foreigners and taken out of Thailand.
He gets virtually no support from local government in running his museum, but it is thanks to people like him, that we can have an insight into how things used to be in Lanna.
Well worth supporting. He'll give you some very tasty chinese green tea when you visit too.

Ian
 

DavidFL

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ianyonok wrote: Friends,

The Oub Kham museum is indeed one of the most interesting places to visit in Chiang Rai city. Khun Julasak started his collection many years ago, when he was dismayed at all the Lanna artifacts that were being bought by foreigners and taken out of Thailand.
He gets virtually no support from local government in running his museum, but it is thanks to people like him, that we can have an insight into how things used to be in Lanna.
Well worth supporting. He'll give you some very tasty chinese green tea when you visit too.

Ian
Yes Ajarn Julasak is an amazing man, & also a controversial one - he has alternative theories on the history of Thailand & the Thai people; hence the lack of official support, I suspect.

But again the museum is outstanding!
Check the museum & him out
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a very fit man for 63, makes the younger GT Rider look old & wimpy. :lol: :lol:
The "tasty green Chinese tea" is also superbly refreshing.
 

DavidFL

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The road to Wat Doi Incee is a steepie
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check it out sometime. It's well signposted & the views are brilliant.

After Chiang Rai it was straight up to Mae Sai to rendezvous with Rhodie, plus Peter & Thao the Wheezy Riders.
Wheezy Rider & Thao
Whilst at the Umporn Resort an SMS was sent out to David Learmonth who promptly turned up with his missus for a night of food, drink & good conversation.
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David thanks for coming along at such short notice - it was a good night.

The next morning we got some souvenir pics overlooking the Ruak river & Mae Sai for the album.
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From Mae Sai for Rhodie & I it was up R1130 & R1234 to Doi Mae Salong to rendezvous with Silverhawk. We met up at Ho's Shine Sane for a meal, then dropped into the Sweet Mae Salong for one of those first class Cappuccinos.
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Then from Mae Salong it was back track to Akha Sam Yaek; but en route Rhodie & I checked out Suan Manomai & the Phra Siam Thewath shrine, which we are still pondering the significance of. :roll:

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Above: note the different photographic styles.

And the shrine
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Thoed Thai & Rim Taan guesthouse was our goal for the night.

Rim Taan is a hidden gem of a guesthouse in North Thailand & coupled with Thoed Thai is well worth a visit (& night) if you are ever in the area
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Thoed Thai
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Late afternoon Rhodie & I went for a short ramble up the road
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Route 3051 after Thoed Thai is an awesome road & ride
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I love Thoed Thai for the traditional early morning market & it was a 6.30AM start for some piccies with Silverhawk & Rhodie.
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I like the boomerang & hat on this guy, but you could not get him to smile for the camera!
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Rhodie & Silverhawk were highly amused by the dog basket on this Dream
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After morning brekky it was the highlight of the trip & the presentation of Rhodie's photographs to the Khun Sa Museum

Prince of Death Road Trip-Khun Sa Memorial


Davidfl wrote: Back again..the official GT Rider presentation

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Below Left: John owner of Rim Taan guesthouse & right Khurlurn, Khun Sa's ex Cultural Minister & now Museum Curator.
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Getting the Khun Sa run down from Khurlurn & John
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With the late "general" in his dining room.
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A resting place for Rhodie's Khun Sa photo collage under Khun Sa's watchful eye
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A very pleased Khurlurn & John
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Many important Khun Sa possesions went missing when his camp was attacked & overrun by the Thai troops in the 1982 battle to force him out of Thailand.
In 2005 a flood in Thoed Thai swept away many possessions being gathered for the museum in Khurlurn's house.
Many of Rhodies' photos were on display in the museum as copies from various magazine articles. John & Khurlurn never knew where the originals came from, or who took them; so they were extremely thrilled to get some souvenir of the founder of their village Thoed Thai, especially when it was coming from the original photographer!

The items of clothing on display in Khun Sa's bedroom are real pieces actually worn by Khun Sa, both John & Khurlurn assure us.
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Thoed Thai is almost a lost / forgotten “kingdom” in North Thailand & the Shan there would like people to visit their town & see the history there. Khun Sa was arguably the one who created the Golden Triangle that millions of tourists have come to see. His history & legacy in Thoed Thai should not be forgotten. It is why many people are still attracted to the place, so if you want claim you’ve been to the Golden Triangle go to Thoed Thai, spend a night at John’s Rim Taan Guesthouse & visit the Khun Sa museum. Wear a GT Rider shirt & you will be warmly welcomed!
Back at the Rim Taan guesthouse I managed some photos with John's family
John's lovely wife Nouan
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John's daughter Nui & grandma
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We packed up then & split

1. Silverhawk off in chase of Thailasse's mystery stupa


2. Rhodie headed back to Chiang Mai

3. I pottered around Thoed Thai for a few more photos
The biggest? bronze? Buddha
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which I think is called
Phra Song Chai Rattana Palang Paen Din
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The view from the hill overlooking Thoed Thai is pretty good & coupled with the buddha well worth a quick look see.
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to be continued
 
Last edited:

feejer

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Feb 16, 2007
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Davidfl wrote:
3. I pottered around Thoed Thai for a few more photos
The biggest? bronze? Buddha
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which I think is called
Phra Song Chai Rattana Palang Paen Din
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David,

Great stuff as usual and fine pix of Phra Song Chai Rattana Palang Paen Din. Very nice to see it coming together so well. They had not yet started the flower petal monument to the left (empty lot) and were still laying the floor tiles when I was there last Nov. Beautiful sight now.

feejer wrote:
Saw a wat a little off the road and decided to check it out. Turns out it is a brand new construction with the workers there still laying the flooring and tiles for the outside gathering area. Beautiful setting and wat. The place was really out of sync with the poverty of the area. I don’t know where they are getting the money, but its going to be a great place for the local villagers to congregate for weddings and any other social gatherings.

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David Learmonth

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Apr 23, 2006
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It was a good night!
Thanks for the sms & it was good to meet the Wheezyriders - still in touch with them now & hope they are back this way soon!
 

DavidFL

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The weather on the way out of Thoed Thai was perfect riding weather - cool, overcast but no rain.
Time for some piccies to show you another of the North's best biking roads.

Route 3051 Akha Sam Yaek - Thoed Thai:
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I stopped at Akha Sam Yaek to SMS with David Learmonth & set up a rendezvous point Mae Chan - Chiang Saen.

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While waiting for his reply the Akha lady storekeeper kept looking at the size of the Africa Twin - she was impressed, as the bike was bigger than her. I thought great photo - her & the bike together - if I can get it without having to pay "ransom money" for her photo. I finished my M150 drink & no SMs reply. The Akha model went & looked at the bike again & I tried to chat her up a bit - not much luck. Still no SMS so I ordered another a drink - a Birdy. She went & looked at the bike again. Another line, but not much reaction. Still no SMs reply, so yet another drink - an orange juice. She goes back out to look at the bike once more & the phone rings. It's DL, we talk & agree on a rendezvous. I finish my 3rd drink & pay the bill. The Akha lady is still looking at the bike. I finally weaken & ask her straight up for a photo of her & the bike. No trouble 200 baht!! Ouch a bit more than I thought. I detail the number of drinks I've had & how much time & money I’ve spent at her shop so I should be eligible for a discount. She comes down to 100 baht. Nope, no deal. I start to put my gear on & she asks how much. 20 baht is my one & only offer. She agrees & potters out to stand next to the bike. I hand her the helmet & the crowd gathered behind me breaks out in laughter, but she won’t crack a smile at all. What a fashion model – keeps her cool no matter what!
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The job done I give her 40 baht for the photo + enjoyment & ride off.

Route 1130 Akha Sam Yaek - Mae Chan
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I met up with David Learmonth late in the afternoon for a whistle stop at his home, but true to Thai hospitality Mrs. Learmonth had prepared food & drinks. It was tops & greatly appreciated. David you've got a top cook & very caring woman there mate - you lucky man. It beats living in the UK alright doesn’t it?

David came over to Chiang Khong for night then & true to form it rained on R1129 Chiang Saen - Chiang Khong. DL had kitted up with his wet weather pants, but I'd decided to take my chances & there's no doubt he was the winner. Not me.

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In CK we checked into the air con rooms at the Tam Mi La & headed downtown to a GT Rider favourite the Easy Pub & Restaurant. This place has to be one of the best value restaurants around & I think I was the winner with a chicken steak
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(Slash are you looking at this?)

It rained all night so we did not move from the Easy, however there's no doubt DL & I enjoyed ourselves chatting to the owner & the local expats.
 

DavidFL

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On the way home to Chiang Mai I lucked with the weather again & managed a run across R1150 Wiang Pa Pao - Phrao.
Some more boring road photos.....

Route 1150 the start at the Wiang Pa Pao end.
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It's a while since I've been on R1150 & had such good weather
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I was back home in Chiang Mai 4 days, then off on the Mae Hong Son loop for a week. It's wet season but I've not been getting too wet at all riding in the mountains - the luck of the game I guess.
 

David Learmonth

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Apr 23, 2006
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It was a good ride out thankyou. You are welcome to the hospitality, as are any GT chaps in the area! Glad you enjoyed it.
Enjoyed the evening at Easy Bar. I had the Massaman chicken curry which was superb.DU's chicken was indeed a huge portion & he did well to finish it! I thought it was a 100 bahts but not 100% sure. Shame it rained all night long, but at least it had dried up by the time I set off for home. You are right David - it is better than the UK & I have no regrets about coming here! Look forward to next time!!!!!
 

DavidFL

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David Learmonth wrote: It was a good ride out thankyou. You are welcome to the hospitality, as are any GT chaps in the area! Glad you enjoyed it.
Enjoyed the evening at Easy Bar. I had the Massaman chicken curry which was superb.DU's chicken was indeed a huge portion & he did well to finish it! I thought it was a 100 bahts but not 100% sure. Shame it rained all night long, but at least it had dried up by the time I set off for home. You are right David - it is better than the UK & I have no regrets about coming here! Look forward to next time!!!!!
For the GPS addicts
David's Learmonth's house
N20 15.276 E99 57.260
 

ronwebb

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Jul 25, 2010
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Thanks David. I will be in DMS at the end of the month to ride the ridge along the Thai/Burmese boarder to Mae Sai.Will go then into Thoed Thai afterwards if I ever make it bake to DMS. MHS loop tomorrow. What a wonderful world!
 

DavidFL

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Davidfl;245239 wrote:

The master plan for this trip was to check out some "new" (for me) attractions in Chiang Rai.
1. Oub Kham Museum
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http://www.oubkhammuseum.com/

Unfortunately no photos are allowed in the museum, but I did manage one with Ajarn Julasak Suriyachai outside his museum
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The museum is a truly amazing place & could be one of the North's best kept secrets? But it shouldn't be.
Everyone should check out this place in Chiang Rai!
9th August 2012
Finally on my 3rd visit to the Oub Kham Museum I was able to persuade Ajarn Julasak to let me photograph inside his museum.
It is a truly amazing museum & collection of Shan / Tai artifacts - one of the finest in Asia, & justifiably so!

Every piece has a story & "we" in North Thailand should be extremely proud & fortunate to have such a first class collection of Shan / Tai history, for without him, there would almost be none.

The items come from Myanmar, S-w China, North Laos, & North Vietnam & are a magnificent tribute to the Shan-Tai people & their history.

The collection is priceless & as such the museum is highly recommended.

Now dare I say it: you can't understand the importance of Shan-Tai history in the region until you see this incredible collection. Don't miss it if you are in Chiang Rai, or just passing through.

A few mediocre photos to start the ball rolling, & I want to go back again (Rhodie are you listening.)
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The first room exhibits Lanna arts and accessories such as silverware of Tai peoples such as the Tai Lu, old coins from China’s Yunnan province and an old divorce certificate made of silver. There are also royal court utensils used during the Lan Xang period in Laos, crowns worn by Tai rulers and a 3,000-year old bronze drum used in rituals to pray for rain.

Old photos of Shan Kings
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many of the items in the glass cabinets are from royalty, have a story & are hundreds of years old.
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A marvellous collection of beautiful ancient Buddhas in various styles.
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Ancient Shan Princes
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above, the bottom right pic was the Shan teakwood palace deliberately torched & burnt to the ground by the Burmese in an effort to destroy Shan history.

The Golden robes of Shan royalty
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more coming.....
 

DavidFL

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more pix from a stunning collection....

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The Buddha images in the second room include an ancient seated Buddha statue from the Chiang Saen era, a white marble image from Chiang Tung in Burma’s Shan State and various small seated figures made from colourful stones, some of which date back 15 centuries.

The third room exhibits crafted wooden Buddha images from Burma as well as a very small Buddha figurine made of gold measuring 0.5 centimetre in height. The image is around 500 years old.
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DavidFL

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A 200 year old Tai (Shan) temple ceiling piece.
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The fourth room shows various items from the royal court, including an old silk sarong with gold threads from the family of the ruler of Nan, as well as old fabrics from Chiang Tung, Xishuangbanna and Mandalay. There are also ancient beads and an old oub kham from Chiang Tung.According to the museum guide, oub were also used for offering food to monks. They are usually made of woven bamboo covered with lacquer. Oub kham, on the other hand, were used by royal families, so they were decorated with beautiful ornaments, covered with lacquer and coated with gold leaf while the cover bore a legendary phoenix. The museum also displayed various oub kham. Julasak said some of them were his family heirlooms because he is a descendant of the first ruler of Lampang.
Royal costumes
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A highlight of this room is a weird looking animal called ‘Panjarup’ or Phaya Luang _ a legendary creature of the Lanna period that was often used to decorate giant gongs used for auspicious ceremonies. This example was made of wood, which had been crafted to imitate the organs of five animals; the body of a naga, wings of a bird, horn and legs of a deer, trunk and tusks of an elephant and tail of a fish.
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DavidFL

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The sixth room is a fashion room with display of the many superb colourful costumes of the Shan- Tai people in the region.
The Tai ethnolinguistic grouping has 56 tribes spread across S-E Asia; & the costumes come from North Myanmar, China, North Vietnam, North Laos & even Bhutan.

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Some info to digest....

THE SHAN - TAI
Shan is a Burmese rendering of Siam. The Thai call our Shans as Thai-yai or Elder Thai – and Tai or Thai is only a dialectical rendering.

The Tai Speaking Peoples stretch from North East India, through Burma, the Kachin and Shan States, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and south and southwest China.
Chinese Prime Minister Chou-en-lai of PRC [Communist Mainland China] said in 1957 to Soa Shwe Thaike, who was the first President of the Independent Burma, that in China there were then 100million Tai/Dai Speaking Peoples in China.

ETYMOLOGY
The Shan identify themselves as “Tai”, which means “free men” while “Shan” is a Burmese language term. The Shan share their creation myth with the Lao people and believe their race was founded by Khun Borom the first king to establish Sip Song Pan Na (12 thousand Fields) along the Mekong (Mae Nam Kong).

The Shan people as a whole can be divided into four major groups:
The Tai Yai or “Shan Proper”
The Tai Lue, located in Sipsong Panna (China) and the eastern states
The Tai Khuen, the majority of Keng Tung
The Tai Neua, mostly in Sipsong Panna

CULTURE
The Shan are traditionally wet-rice cultivators, shopkeepers, and artisans. Most Shan are Theravada Buddhists and/or observe their traditional religion, which is related to animist practices.

LANGUAGE
The Shan language, which is spoken by about 5 or 6 millions is closely related to Thai and Lao, and is part of the family of Tai-Kadai languages. It is spoken in Shan State, some parts of Kachin State, some parts of Sagaing Division in Burma, parts of Yunnan, and Mae Hong Son Province in northwestern Thailand. The two major dialects differ in number of tones: Hsenwi Shan has six tones, while Mongnai Shan has five. Its written script is an adaptation of the Mon script (like Burmese), although several other scripts exist.[3] However, few Shan are literate, and many are bilingual in Burmese.

HISTORY
The Tai-Shan people are believed to have migrated from Yunnan in China. The Shan are descendants of the oldest branch of the Tai-Shan, known as Tai Long (Great Tai) or Thai Yai (Big Thai). The Tai-Shan who migrated to the south and now inhabit modern-day Laos and Thailand are known as Tai Noi (or Tai Nyai), while those in parts of northern Thailand and Laos are commonly known as Tai Noi (Little Tai – Lao spoken). The Shan have inhabited the Shan Plateau and other parts of modern-day Myanmar as far back as the 10th century AD. The Shan kingdom of Mong Mao (Muang Mao) existed as early as the 10th century AD but became a Burmese vassal state during the reign of King Anawrahta of Bagan (Pagan). Note: the Mao people are consider a Shan subgroup.

After the Bagan kingdom fell to the Mongols in 1287, the Tai-Shan people quickly gained power throughout South East Asia, and founded:
Lan Xang (Laos)
Lanna (Chiang Mai)
Ayutthaya (Siam)
Assam
Ava by Burmanized Shan kings
Bago by Monized Shan kings
Several Shan states in the Shan hills, Kachin hills, Yunnan and parts of Vietnam.

Many famous Ava and Bago kings of Burmese history were of (partial) Shan descent.

The Burmanized Shan kings of Ava fought Monized Shan kings of Bago for control of Ayeyarwady valley.

Various Shan states fought Burmanized Shan kings of Ava for the control of Upper Myanmar.

The Shan kingdom of Monyin (Mong Yang) defeated the Ava kingdom in 1527, and ruled all of Upper Myanmar until 1555.

Burmese king Bayinnaung (1551-1581) conquered all of the Shan states in 1557. Although the Shan states would become a tributary to Ayeyarwady valley based Burmese kingdoms for many centuries, the Shan Saophas retained a large degree of autonomy and often allied themselves with either ChiangMai, Ayuttaya or Siam.

After the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, the British gained control of the Shan states and pushed the borders to the mountains, thereby robbing Siam of thousands of square miles of territory.

(The last Burmese king Thibaw was half-Shan.)

Under the British colonial administration, the Shan principalities were administered separately as British protectorates with limited monarchical powers invested in the Shan Saophas.

After World War II, the Shan and other ethnic minority leaders negotiated with the majority Burman leadership at the Panglong Conference, and agreed to gain independence from Britain as part of Union of Burma. The Shan states were given the option to secede after 10 years of independence. The Shan states became Shan State in 1948 as part of the newly independent Burma.

General Ne Win’s coup d’etat overthrew the democratically elected government in 1962, and abolished Shan saopha system. In an effort to extract themselves from under the Burmese thumb, various Shan political organizations have attempted to reassert Siam’s (Thailand) ancient claim to the Shan States, but without success.

POLITICS
The Shan have been engaged in an intermittent civil war within Burma for decades. There are two main armed rebel forces operating within Shan State: the Shan State Army/Special Region 3 and Shan State Army/Restoration Council of Shan State. In 2005 the SSNA was effectively abolished after its surrender to the Burmese government, some units joined the SSA/RCSS, which has yet to sign any agreements, and is still engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Burma Army.

During conflicts, the Shan (Thai Yai) are often burned out of their villages and forced to flee into Thailand. There, they are not given refugee status, and often work as undocumented laborers. Whether or not there is an ongoing conflict, the Shan are subject to depredations by the Burmese government; in particular, young men may be impressed into the Burmese Army for indefinite periods, or they may be enslaved to do road work for a number of months – with no wages and no food. The horrific conditions inside Burma have led to a massive exodus of young Shan males to neighboring Thailand, where they typically find work in construction, at daily wages which run about 100-200 baht. However unsatisfactory these conditions may be, all of these refugees are well aware that at least they are being paid for their work, and that every day spent in Thailand is another day that the Burmese government cannot impress or enslave them. Some estimates of Shan refugees in Thailand run as high as two million, an extremely high number when compared with estimates of the total Shan population at some six million.
In view of the fact that quite a few of us are waiting to tour & ride in Myanmar, the above history of the Shan maybe interesting reading.
Enjoy & if you've got time do check out the Oub Kham Museum in Chiang Rai, for without Ajarn Julasak, these pieces of their history would not have been saved.

One page to come...
 

ianyonok

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Dec 9, 2008
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It seems Khun Julasak's collection is still growing which is excellent.
An interesting history of the Shan too, David, thank you. The historical information on display at Khun Sa's museum is somewhat confusing, but the old photos of the Shan kings from 100 years ago or so are fascinating. A ride up there, combined with the ridge road at the back of Doi Tung and Doi Chang Moob is superb. A future route for the Chiang Rai bikers day out maybe....
 

DavidFL

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The final "7th room", adjacent to the main museum... houses the pride of the museum.

This is Lanna-style throne, from Chiang Tung in Shan Sate, north Myanmar & more than 400 years old.
The throne is artistically crafted wood shining in gold and decorated with propitious items. On the top is a Brahma flanked by angels on left and right, plus a gold Buddha image in the middle of the backdrop.

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ronwebb

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Jul 25, 2010
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Indeed, this museum has a spectacular collection of rare artifacts. I cant imagine that there is such a collection under one roof anywhere else. It really is very special.
I went through the museum with Davidfl (thanks for the intro to this David) with a lovely lass who gave us the low down on what was what but to be honest, it was fairly superficial in detail.
However, what would be truly spectacular, is the stories behind how some of these goodies were acquired in the first place. I am sure that here must be a great book within the tales of compiling this wonderful collection.
As an aside, we swung by a temple under construction overlooking the valley heading north to Chiang Rai. What a great view although the photos don't do the view justice taken close to midday.

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Jurgen

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Fabulous Ali Baba cave David, aninteresting destination and a great stop-over during a North Thailandtrip. Your pictures are enthralling and will certainly attract manypeople to this exceptional Shan museum. Thank you also for theaccompanying information.