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 • Golden Triangle • Mae Kok River • Chiang Saen Lake • Doi Tung • Doi Pha Tang • Phu Chee Fah • Wiang Kalong • Hilltribe Museum and Education Center • Ho Watthanatham Nithat • King Mengrai Memorials • Oub Kham Museum • Rai Mae Fah Luang • Wat Doi Thong • Wat Phra Chao Lan Thong • Wat Phra Kaeo • Wat Phra Sing • Wat Rong Khun • Wat Klang Wiang • Chiang Saen National Museum • Wat Phra That Chedi Luang • Wat Pa Sak • Wat Phra That Chom Kitti • Wat Phra That Pha-Ngao • Chiang Sean Hall of Opium • King Mengrai Festival • Lychee Fair • Songkran Festival • Elephant Camp & Karen Village • Baan Haad Klai • Mekong River Trips • Hilltribe Development & Welfare Centre • Pamee Akha Village • Doi Hua Mae Kham • Laan Tong Mekong Basin Cultural Park • Nam Tok Khun Kon Forest Park • Doi Mae Salong • Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park • Doi Luang National Park • Khun Chae National Park
 
Hilltribe Museum and Education Center
The Population and Community Development Association (PDA), Thailand's best established and most widespread non-governmental organization, operates restaurants, clinics and community-based family-planning programs around the country, and in ChiangRai a tour company and museum. The main intention behind the museum is to help visitors understand what they should and should not do when in hill-tribe areas, and teach about locally significant taboos and values, and respect for other people's cultures. The displays on six major tribal groups (Lahu, Lisu, Yao/Mien, Akha, Hmong and Karen) are meant to compliment information presented in a 25-minute power-point presentation (slide-show) with narration available in Thai, German, English, French or Japanese. Entrance fee is B50/person which includes free coffee, tea or water. Besides the main show are, available hourly, three others: one on community-based tourism, another on hill-tribe costumes and why they are disappearing, and a third, "Weaving a Dilemma", on why hand-weaving is disappearing. The power-point presentation for this includes voice narration and lasts 10 minutes; the other shorter shows don't have narration (only silent-movie type captions), and are but 7 minutes. The viewing room has seating for up to 40; showings can start any time if no-one else is viewing. For community-based tourism, tourists pay an entrance fee and villagers, in situ, give a presentation with demonstrations and dances; a villager also offers a tour showing different aspects of daily life (usually at Ban Lorcha, 60km from ChiangRai city towards the ChiangMai border on Rt. 1089, the way to TaTon).

The museum is growing, having new space as its old building was connected to a new, in year 2000. It's on the 3rd floor (there's an elevator); whether weather hot or rainy, it's convenient and climate-controlled! The restaurant on the ground floor, Cabbages and Condoms, is widely recognized as one of the best in town. The museum's gift-shop offers hill-tribe motif souvenirs, some from small factories but others consigned from villages, drawings on mulberry paper, cannabis-fiber hats, relevant books, cards, jewelry, clothing, pouch-bags, recordings of tribal music and video cassettes (to be replaced with VCDs) on hill-tribe people, herbal ointments, PDA postcards and a good variety of other theme-oriented items.

Each of the six tribal displays includes craftwork from daily life - things you might find in tribal villages, though not put out on view as here, with attractive black and white murals behind. Housing styles, tools and utensils are available for inspection. Further displays of traditional hunting, fishing and agricultural equipment are complimented by a bamboo room (with a 2 meter diameter threshing basket and an interesting specimen of giant bamboo, the world's largest grass, at the center) joined with another on tribal clothing - cross-stitch, appliqu?, head-gear, and pouch-bags. The large entrance-room (behind the pay-point) has an opium related display, giving an accurate explanation of the real, global picture, in response to the exotic flavor attributed to the once opium-using region, in much popular media. 5500 years of history are reviewed, and a question posed: why focus on repression of opium, but not tobacco and alcohol.

This museum is open 8:30 to 6 p.m. and 10 to 6 weekends and holidays, or by special request and prior arrangement, especially for group tours.

 
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