Thai Lanna Teak House Museum – Saw Hong House

Saw Hong House is a Lanna Galae style house which is one of the three styles of Lanna houses. It is easily identified by the two crossed pieces of carved wood on the gable of the roof.

Lanna Galae Houses

In former times the owners of the house would hang a buffalo head on the gable of the roof after sacrificial ceremonies for the birds to feast on as an act of merit making. Lanna people thought that the shape of the buffalo horns on the roof was elegant, so they carved pieces of wood to symbolize them. This was also popular among many other ethnic groups such as the Lua or Lawa.

Most Galae houses belong to high, or middle class families, who build the whole house from teak wood as it lasts a long time. The tiles formerly used were made of teak wood called Paen Glet but now they are made of terracotta. Lanna, Galae houses are supported on between 50 and 100 pillars.

Most houses have one or two bedrooms which are located beside the covered balcony or Tern. The kitchens are located behind the house, or are separate from the house. A lower open balcony is built at the front of the house.

There are stairs leading down from the front and the back of the house. The stairs at the back of the house lead down to a water well and the ones at the front lead to a small shelter containing pots of drinking water. If there are two or more houses built on the same piece of land then the water shelter will be on the terrace in front of the house or close to the top of the stairs at the back of the house.

Formerly, the toilets were in the forest, but later enclosed toilet pits were dug behind the houses.

A suspended bamboo lattice work in the kitchen is constructed using loosely woven lacquered wood. This is used as a shelf for ewers and other water containers which are rarely used. Above the stove is a similar shelf called a Kha which is used to store kitchenware.

The Saw Hong house Lanna teak house museum displays artifacts that are many hundreds of years old. The house was originally situated on the Ping river banks but was  moved to Old Chiangmai in order to preserve it for posterity.