My friend once told me about a fabulous Thai Lue textile museum in Chiang Khong district, Chiang Rai. Since it is not easy to find information about this lesser known ethnic group, I included this place on my itinerary when I visited Chiang Rai.
Lue Lai Kham is a private museum of Lue textile and fabric museum. The owner, Mr. Suriya Wongchai, started collecting Lue textiles and traditional costumes by buying old clothes from Lue villagers and exhibited them in his house.
Tai Lue is an ethnic minority group that originate from southern China. They moved to Thailand more than hundred years ago. Most of them live in northern region of the country such as Nan, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang and Lampoon. In Chiang Rai, we can find them in Chiang Khong, Chiang Saen, Mae Sai and Phan districts. The museum is located in Chiang Khong district,
The museum can be reached through highway no. 1020, which will lead you to Chiang Khong district. The museum is about 10 km. from Chiang Khong town. The museum building looks similar to traditional Tai Lue houses that are built on stilts. Mr. Suriya modified his 50-year old wooden house by walling up the area beneath the house and turn it into an exhibition room telling stories about the history of Lue people and their unique culture.
Both men and women wear blue or black costumes with white cotton turban. The women dresses are generally more colourful with specific patterns. Thai Lue women have great skills in weaving and embroidery. If you walk into Lue village, you will see the weaving looms set in the open space under the houses since they weave and embroider their own dress.
The second floor of the house is an exhibition hall. It shows fabric and costumes from various groups of Lue in Thailand and neighbouring countries such as China, Vietnam and Laos. The costumes of each group have different design and weaving technique.
The Tai Lue are mostly Buddhists. The Lue people of Sir Don Chai has a ceremony that shows the unity of Lue in the village. Called ‘Jul Kathin’, the ceremony will see the villagers help each other to weave monks’ robes and offer to the monks in the monastery. The robe making process, which starts from preparing the cotton thread, weaving and dying, has to be finished within one day. The process will start from 6 pm until the next morning when they offer the robes to the monks. It is a big annual event of the village. You can see Lue women in their gorgeous traditional dresses, watch Lue cultural performances and try Lue traditional food. This year, the event will be take place in late November. Please note it in your travel planner for this delightful culture event. You can check the exact date of the event at Lue Lai Kam Museum, Khun Suriya Wongchai at +66 8 9838 5724