Ban Luang Nua – The Tai Lue Cultural Community of Chiang Mai
We visit the Tai Lue Community of Ban Luang Nua in Doi Saket district, Chiang Mai province. The Tai Lue is an ethnic group from Xixuangbanna that has retained their cultural identity and traditional practices to this very day.
From Muang district of Chiang Mai, take the 118 Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai Route to "Ban Luang Nua" at Doi Saiket. The Tai Lue community is a cultural tourism destination which encourages visitors to experience the traditions, language, clothing styles, and other facets of the ethnic group’s lifestyle. Moreover, the community has temple, attractions, and culinary delights which reflect the cultural identity of the Tai Lue of Ban Luang Nua.
Ban Luang Nua Tai Lue Community Background
Tai Lue is an ethnic minority from Xixuangbanna, which is located to the south of Yunnan, China. The ethnic group settled in Thailand in the year 1389, during the reign of Phaya Saen Muang Ma, the king of the Lanna Kingdom under the Mangrai Dynasty. The Tai Lue established their community around "Muang Luang Nua," which refers to an area where the mythical creature "Luang" of Tai Lue folklore would reside in the clouds – bringing blessings and prosperity to the people. As they settled in Thailand, the Tai Lue brought their culture, traditions, language, clothing, and lifestyle with them. "Wat Sri Mung Muang" serves as the center of faith and worship for the Tai Lue Community. The temple was established during the reign of Sam Fang Kaen, the 8th king of Lanna under the Mangrai Dynasty. The king ruled over Lanna during the years 1402 – 1441. Based on inscriptions on the town’s central pillar on the community’s establishment date, local folklore, the construction of Wat Sri Mung Muang, and research, most believe that the Tai Lue migrated from Xixuangbanna in numerous waves. The reasons for these periodic migrations may be to escape war, to accompany King Saen Muang, to reunite with relatives, and to make a living in Thailand.
The Tai Lue practice a simple lifestyle, blending and adapting well with the local community members. The ethnic group, however, has always retained their unique language and clothing. Based on their cultural pride, the Tai Lue searched for ways to establish a cultural tourism destination. With support from the Ban Luang Nua community, the Tai Lue was able to gather systematic information, documents, and textbooks that reflect a thorough understanding of their unique culture. This led to the establishment of the “Muang Luang of the Tai Lue” community tourism destination, featured as part of the Lanna Tourism Development Zone in the CBT Journey mobile application available on both the App Store and Play Store.
Ban Luang Nua Tourist Attractions
Ban Luang Nua is a cultural tourism destination which provides visitors with the experience of the local Tai Lue lifestyle. The tourism programs include a day trip or a two-day trip with an overnight stay at the community. "Silver Age" visitors usually visit the "Sua Baan San Tumnan," the main spirit shrine of the community which reflects the journey of the Tai Lue from Xixuangbanna to Ban Luang Nua. The base of the shrine holds an inscription which states the date of its establishment – "Established on 3 April 1389." Visitors may also visit "Wat Sri Mung" to make merit, and learn how to cook the Tai Lue signature cuisine of "Khao Kaep" at "Huan Khao Kaep Pa Pun."
Try making your own wooden figures, a five-star OTOP and CPOT product of the community which are exported to many countries. Visitors can learn how to craft and paint wooden figures as souvenirs at "Nai Toh’s Wooden Figure Shop." Experience the authentic Tai Lue lifestyle at "Ban Bai Boon Tai Lue Lifestyle Center," which serves as a learning center for preserving and disseminating the Tai Lue and Lanna culture and tradition. Learn how to develop a house based on the principles of Sufficiency Economy at "Baan Suan Por Piang Sup Thong Sri."
Experience the Authentic Thai Lue Cuisine
Tai Lue cuisine is a cultural heritage that all visitors should experience. The "Tai Lue Pad Thai" is renowned for the use of green bean noodles for a chewy texture, mixed with a signature sauce, long beans, and dried shrimps for a delicious combination. Experience the Tai Lue papaya salad, which is renowned for the use of roasted dry chili, roasted peanuts, tamarind juice, pickled fish, and sugar cane. Enjoy snacking on the "Khao Kaep," a signature Tai Lue snack similar to rice crackers. Another famous Tai Lue cuisine is grilled sticky rice with chili paste. "Kai Pam" is grilled chicken eggs (seasoned with soy sauce or salt, tomatoes, and spring onions.) To prepare the menu, pour the seasoned egg on a banana leaf, cook on a low flame. Gradually add water on the lower layer of the banana leaf to prevent burning. Wait for the egg to cook before serving. Other local delicacies include Tai Lue Savory Herbal Leaf Wraps and Tai Lue donuts known as "Kon Muong."
"Live well and enjoy eating." This is a common phrase used by the Tai Lue at Ban Luang Nua to greet visitors – even before the "Sawasdee." It reflects the locals’ intention to bless visitors. Ban Luang Nua is a charming cultural tourism destination for all to experience.
Address: Moo 4, Luang Nua Subdistrict, Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai Province
Tel: 0869191915 (Khun Waen)
Facebook: Tai Lue Luang Nua