Lovers of history tend to seek out museums when they travel, and if learning about the past of a city to appreciate its present is your thing, then it is well worth taking half a day to visit a couple of Chiang Mai museums.
Start off with the Chiang Mai National Museum. Founded in 1969 and underwent a recent facelift in 2017, this is the oldest and most comprehensive museum run by the Fine Arts Department. The museum has an outstanding collection of artefacts and plenty of interactive displays telling the story of Chiang Mai and the Lanna kingdom. The museum sits on beautiful grounds which are lovely to stroll in.
In the Old City, there are also several museums within walking distance worth exploring. The Lanna Folklife Museum tells the fascinating stories of the peoples of the region. The City Arts and Cultural Centre features historical and artistic exhibits to preserve local heritage whereas, the Treasury Museum offers an interactive look and feel of our relationship to currency over the ages.
However, some of the best museums in the city are private. Whether it is an eccentric old Brit with a hall-full of northern Thai ceramics to an eccentric old Thai with a building full of exotic dead insects, there are collectors in this city so passionate about their subjects that they open them up to the public. Get to know some of them and take some time to expand your mind and have fun.