Oct 5, 2008

Old Chiang Mai - discover the Wat Ket Community

It's not so easy today to find authentic scenes of life of Chiang Mai's past. But in Wat Kate, on the East bank of Ping river, there are places, where time seems to stand still. Wat Ket วัดเกตุ community has been trading on Ping River for 500 years. Therefore the architecture is multicultural with Western, Chinese and ethnic influences as Haw Chinese and Khmu. So you find Chinese shop houses, Christian churches, colonial style schools and traditional Lanna buildings, the Dara Academy โรงเรียนดาราวิทยาลัย and the victorian buildings of Prince Royal College and also the around 140 years old wooden house of Doctor Chinda Singhanetre. The RarinJinda Resort has conserved it in its traditiona style and is using the upper floor for traditional Thai massage. Read more here.

Picture Rarinjiinda

Another witness of the past is the "Sala Bart", where women used to bring food to be prepared and presented for merit making.

Wat Ket was also the site of Borneo Company Limited, which had a concession from The Chiang Mai King for 100 years for teak wood. Read the blog of tourcm.blogspot.com

There is a plan of Chiang Mai City, to put Wat Ket into a zone for commerce and construction, where residents are opposiong, as The Nation noted.

Wat Gate Ka Ram วัดเกตุการาม: Also: Wat Ket Garam. See the Gallery of Ram J. This temple has been founded around 1428, it is of Lanna origin, but some buildings show Chinese and European influence. It's first name was Wat Sa Gate. At the center of the temple is the large chedi,whose corners are guarded by garudas. East of the chedi is the ubosot, whose stairs are guarded by nagas. The roof of the viharn has five gables, what is unusual. At the back you find a mirrored tile tree - a decoration you usually find at Lao temples.

Foto by www.differentscene.com

See more pictures

Wat Ketkaram Museum: At the back of Wat Ket. Owned by 87 years old Jack Bain, who's Scottish father William worked for the East Asiatic Company and married a Thai and owned Bains compund. A lot of things from the past life as the first bank notes of Thailand, textiles, ceramics, old grammophones... You will see a collcection of old photographs going back more than 100 years to the early days of western trading with Chiang Mai: Old river boats, markets and temples. Read more at Chiangmainews.com and read about The Life of Jack Bain.

If you turn north from Bain’s compound and the front gate of the temple and turn left to Nakorn Ping bridge you will see a teak house, that belonged to the former prime minister, Dr. Sukij Nimmanhemin. A brief walk toward south brings you to Baan Tree House, that belonged to the Tantipong family and “Baan Orapin”, which is an over 90 year old, teak wood residence built in European, colonial style. Such huge houses were usually the home for merchants and another, called “Baan Khun Arak” was the residence of a rice trader. See pictures in an article on chiangmai-chiangrai.com

Picture Derek
Baan Orapin Guesthouse

Read more: The Wat Ket Neighborhood of Chiang Mai.

The history of Chiang Mai: A collection of articles for a book: Click.

Discover more:
Your Guide to Chiang Mai

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