Chiang Rai Tour – Baan Dam

About 10kms north of Chiang Rai, you’ll find the brainchild of another Thai artist, Thawan Duchanee – Baan Dam (the Black House).

Duchanee, a Chiang Rai native like Kositpipat, has been hard at work on this unique art gallery for 35 years, creating a beautiful complex imbued with his own take on life, death, contemporary culture and the Buddhist religion.

Baan Dam.
Baan Dam.

Coming from Wat Rong Khun, where all the glitters and shines resides, Baan Dam is a stark contrast. It is dark and brooding, with tall teak wood halls accentuated with any number of bones and animal skins. And a rather large python, kept in a flimsy cage.

The biggest teak hall.
The biggest teak hall.

Inside the main teak hall, there are rafters and pillars carved with stunning designs and paintings hanging amongst the bones and animal hides.

Carved pillars.
Carved pillars.
Rafters.
Rafters.

As well as the teak halls, there are rice storage buildings on tall stilts, white igloo shaped buildings and a very high arch shaped building with an enormous wooden door.

Some of the other buildings.
Some of the other buildings.
One of the strange white buildings.
One of the strange white buildings.

Under a tall stilted building, there is a whole elephant skeleton laid out. The skull is enormous, it comes up to my hip at least!

Inside one of the igloo style huts is series of small stools set in a circle around the perimeter of the room. In centre is a huge plush white rug. The whole rooms feels very earthy and serene, despite the stools being made from bull horns.

This is one of the most intriguing and fascinating art galleries I have seen, and it’s development is ongoing. Like Kositpipat’s Wat Rong Khun, the work on this gallery will continue for decades, until Duchanee is satisfied it is complete.