It has been raining a bit here so I been catching up on some overdue blogs. This one is rated number 6 of 26 top attraction in Chiang Rai by Trip Advisor. I am slowly working through the top ten.

If you take Chiang Rai city as a centre point you will find the White temple (subject of a previous posting) on the Southern side and the Black House (Baan Daam in Thai – House Black) almost equidistant on the Northern side. Evidently some locals refer to the two attractions as Heaven and Hell. We have only seen Heaven so it was time to balance our lives and give Hell a go.

As always finding the place proved to be a challenge. Relying on signs is always hopeless so the best way is to Google Earth the road and find something you will recognise when driving just before the required turn. I had done my research on-line and thought I could identify the landmark where a left turn off the main road was required but it wasn’t to be.

Anyway getting lost proved to be a bonus as is often the case in Thailand. We ended up at this wonderful pottery place in a local rice field setting that was a fair way from where I planned to be. This place has now been identified as Doi Din Dang Pottery and a separate post can be found HERE.

Plenty of choice.

Plenty of choice.

They made a range of hand made pottery everything from the mundane to some beautiful creations I would love to buy if I lived here. Didn’t ask prices but some of these look expensive.

Great combination and colours.

Great combination and colours.

More wonderful shapes.

More wonderful shapes.

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See the broken pottery embedded into the house wall? Also the interesting use of pottery plate seconds.

See the broken pottery embedded into the house wall? Also the interesting use of pottery plate seconds.

I would just love to design a garden in Thailand using some of these pots.

I would just love to design a garden in Thailand using some of these pots.

Gaun  saved the day, as is so often the case when I get lost, and got local direction on how to find the Black House. We headed off without any pottery in the boot. Next time………….

The Black House is the creation of a well known Thai artist called Thawan Duchanee who is funnily enough a former student of Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat, the guy who built the White Temple. Neither of these two are monks and the Black House is not a temple.

Thawan Duchanee

Thawan Duchanee

Thawan was born in Chiang Rai and has been developing the Baan Daam for several decade to be a place where people can study national art and culture. It isn’t a single house despite the name but a museum consisting of more than 40 buildings in northern architectural styles built on a plot of land covering more than 100 rai (1 rai = 1,600 m2).

The main building, probably the Black House itself, is the first structure you’ll see. It is a massive wooden building that dominates the entry to the site

I presume this is the Black House. It is the biggest structure and the first you'll see in the complex.

I presume this is the Black House. It is the biggest structure and the first you’ll see in the complex.

It may not look that big in the photo above but the next few images help give you a feel for its size:

The doors at either end of the big black house. Gives you an idea of size.

The doors at either end of the Black House.

It's a big structure. Great carving work.

It’s a big structure. Great carving work. You can just see people at the end.

Inside the Black House.

Inside the Black House.

Strange furniture displayed in the main hall.

Strange furniture displayed in the main hall. Buffalo horns and other miscellaneous dead things. Could go the table but might give the chairs a miss. Dogs would enjoy them though.

A delicious mix of Thai shapes and colours.

A delicious mix of Thai shapes.

An interesting staircase.

An interesting staircase.

Detailed wood carving.

Detailed wood carving.

This display was closed so don't know what it houses.

This display was closed so don’t know what it houses.

A lot of traditional Thai farming implements on display.

A lot of traditional Thai farming implements on display.

Animal horns used to make furniture.

Animal horns used to make furniture. That is a toilet display at the back. Next photo shows the inside.

A toilet with interesting water ladles.

A toilet with interesting water ladles.

More roof photos. Thatch in the front.

More of those wonderful roof shapes. Thatch in the front.

Ran out of black paint.

Ran out of black paint.

It's not all about walking. Time to sabai sabai - relax relax.

It’s not all about walking. Time to sabai sabai – relax relax.

I don't know how the white got mixed in.

I don’t know how the white colour or this design got mixed up with the rest. Once again it’s always a bit frustrating not to have access to the story behind some of the images.

One of the many odd displays of death mixed with the Thai everyday.

One of the many odd displays of death mixed with the Thai everyday.

So a unique experience and worth doing if you are up this way. Allow a couple of hours at least. The gardens themselves are very pleasant even if you aren’t a big fan of the buildings or their contents.

You can find more information about the artist and the Black House here:

http://www.culture.go.th/subculture3/images/M_images/pravadtawanE.pdf

Thanks for reading.