If you want to save some money and don’t mind walking for a bit, the public bus is the cheapest option to get to The Black House (Baan Dam) in Chiang Rai.
Still, if you’re looking for an untroubled ride all the up to the gates of Baan Dam, there are some alternatives at the bottom of the post.
Catching the Green Bus
Go to the Chiang Rai old Bus Station (in the city center, near the night bazaar) and find the green bus going to Mae Sai usually parked on Platform 5.
Timetable: green buses departure every 15 to 30 minutes, or when the bus gets full.
Bus ticket price: 20 Baht one-way trip.
Duration: around 20 minutes.
As you buy the ticket inside the bus, let the conductor and ticket holder know that you’re going to the Black House so they can signal you at the drop-off point. When you leave the bus there are two route options:
Route to the back entrance (the shortest)
Right next to the drop-off spot is the correct lane to walk on. After walking 50 meters, The Black House buildings will become visible to your left.
Turn left at the wooden-gazeebo-looking-sign indicating Soi 13 and walk a further 10 minutes. This path will take you through some houses and up to a small clearing where you’ll see the back entrance of The Black House.
Heads up: as visitors are now charged a fee to enter the park, we can’t guarantee that there will be a ticket office at the rear entrance.
Route to the front entrance
Alternatively, instead of turning left on Soi 13, keep walking straight on the paved road for approximately 400 meters and then turn left into a small Soi that takes you to the front entrance of Baan Dam. Check the map below.
Baan Dam – The Black House
Opening hours: opens daily (weekends included), from 09:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Closes for lunch from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.
Entrance fee: 80 Baht.
In a 100 acres parkland in the Ban Du district, north of Chiang Rai, Thai artist Thawan Duchanee spent 25 years creating Baan Dam (the Black House).
There are 40 buildings spread around the park along with art pieces and installations. Most buildings are made of black wood and decorated with macabre elements like bones, animal skins, pelts, and dead animal parts.
Duchanee’s art mixes traditional northern Thai design with Balinese, Burmese and African influences—and it’s all open to interpretation.
Some people see it as a commentary on Buddhist philosophies, while others state that his intention was to remind us of the darkness inside ourselves, and the imminent death of all things.
There’s a palpable, creepy vibe as you stroll around the park (some buildings are off-limits to the public), but also a subversive sense of humor.
It’s like the artist was trying to tell us: “Don’t take life too seriously, we’re all going to die”.
Portrait of Thawan Duchanee (1939-2014)
Back to Chiang Rai Bus Terminal
Head back towards the highway where you got off the bus and hail to any bus you see going in Chiang Rai direction — either the green ones you came in or the grey mini-buses. Have in mind that there’s no bus stop there.
The trip back to Chiang Rai is a further 20 THB.
Hire a songthaew in Chiang Rai for about 300 Baht for the round trip. They’ll try to charge you more, so be ready to negotiate.
Any travel agency in Chiang Rai sells organized tours to Baam Dam that often include a visit to Wat Rong Khun. Prices will vary from agency to agency, so look around for the best deal.
Have in mind that departure and arrival times will be scheduled to fit everything on a tour. So you will be rushed.
Can we ask for a favor?
If you try the rear entrance route, let us know if it is still a viable option—it can help other travelers out. Thanks in advance! 😀