Old Chiangmai Cultural center
Welcome to old Chiangmai Cultural center where you will enjoy a serene evening three-hours experience of the exotic Khantoke dinner, stage performances and hilltribes shows known as Lanna Thai, the region of elegance.


         Welcome to old Chiangmai Cultural center where you will enjoy a serene evening three-hours experience of the exotic Khantoke dinner, stage performances and hilltribes shows known as Lanna Thai, the region of elegance.
         Among the more obvious 'must' sights to visit but no visit to Chiangmai is complete without spending an evening at Old Chiangmai Cultural Center.

Khantoke Dinner
         You will find your place in a spacious hall built of teak, and finished and decorated using only the original materials and motifs. You will have removed your shoes before entering and will now be comfortably seated on cushions on the carpeted floor or at nearby tables as you prefer. Within moments, the attentive staff will bring your drinks and Khantoke. The Khantoke is a circular wooden tray set on pedestal that serves as a table. It will carry one of the most delicious meals you have ever eaten.

There are in fact two types of Khantoke. The one in front of you is the Yuan Khantoke. It is made of teak and is widely used, even today, in Northern Thailand. The other is the Lao Khantoke, a much more spindly three-legged structure that is made from bamboo strips and woven rattan and used mainly in Northeastern Thailand, Laos and Yunnan.

But whatever the tray, the food is the thing. Why not start with the fried pumpkin as hors d'oeuvres and then alternate as you like between the mildly spicy red chilli, tomato and minced pork dip, the succulent fried chicken and a mouth-watering Burmese pork curry that is so gentle, so soft That you will gladly accept a second helping.

The chilli dip is called Nam Prik Awng and is teased from its bowl with pieces of deep-fried crispy pork skin or freshly sliced cucumber as you prefer. The chicken and Hangleh,as the porkcurry is called,go well with the stir-fried cabbage and either the sticky rice that is served in little woven bamboo baskets or plain cooked rice. The Khantoke also contains a bowl of crispy fried noodles to complement the rice. Dessert, served separately, consists of fried rice crispies and, if you dare to break the spell of tradition, either coffee or tea.

                  
The Lanna Dances
About halfway through your meal a classical orchestra will begin to accompany troupes of dancers in gorgeous costumes, or occasionally a solo dancer, as they per-form the graceful movements of Thai classical dance for your pleasure. These are absolutely authentic Northern Thailand dances, quite distinct from those performed in Bangkok and Ayutthaya. They are rooted in the region's history, literature and ways of life.

While some, like the Fingernail Dance, that is usually performed only on special occasions such as a state visit, are slow, stately and exquisitely graceful, others such as the solo Sword Dance has a flashing, ferocious beauty. Performances such as the Magic Fowls Dance, meanwhile, are taken from local folklore and literature while a fourth genre that includes the Silk Reeling Dance depicts various aspects of daily village life.


In some cases, the dances were originally either choreographed or polished by northern court poets and dance instructors to celebrate a particular event such as the royal visit of King Prajadhipok, King Rama VII, to Chiang Mai in 1927. In others, members of the old Chiang Mai royal family were themselves the inspiration.


The Shan and Burmese courts are represented in other dances such as the Mahn Mui Chiangta Dance while the Thai Lue Dance is originally performed by the Thai Lue people of Nong Bua village in Nan Province, The programme is so crowded that you probably will not be able to see every dance described in Old Chiangmai Cultural Center's very useful programme note. But rest assured that the full range will be delightfully represented and beautifully introduced.


The final dance is the Ramwong, or Circle Dance. This is a typical Thai folk dance that was popularised some 60 or 70 years ago. After a few introductory rounds so that you, the guests, can see how it is done, the dancers will invite you to join in on a cheerful, friendly finale to the first part of the evening's programme.

Hilltribe show

After such classical opulence, the Old Chiangmai Cultural Center offers a refreshing change of pace. Donning one's shoes, one can stroll casually to another part of the Center for the hilltribe show. The handicrafts, garments and musical instruments of the various tribes are displayed on stalls along the way should you wish to buy a memento of your visit.
The show features authentic dances from the Lahu (Musur), Hmong (Meo), Mien (Yao), Lisu (Leesaw) and Akha (Igor) tribes that are performed by the tribepeople themselves wearing their own distinctive costumes. The haunting sound of the pipes and the charming simplicity of many of the dances provides a strong contrast to the sophistication you have just left. But there is drama too in the Kinggala Dance from Shan State, performed by a Chiang Mai dancer, and in the Fire-Sword Dance.

Lahu Tribe
There are four main groups of Lahu in Thailand: Lahu Na (black Lahu), Lahu Nyi (Red Lahu, an offshoot of Lahu Na), Lahu Sheh Leh, and Lahu Shi (Yellow Lahu). According to Paul and Elaine Lewis, who proposed a cultural theme for each tribe of the hilltribe people, the Lahu culture's dominant theme is a desire for blessing which accounts for the almost complete conversion to Christianity of the Lahu Na, to which these dancers belong.
Hmong Tribe
The Hmong are a sub-group of the Miao. The others are Hmu, Mong, and Hmao. Only the Hmong migrated to Thailand. The others still live in China. The Hmong themselves, have two sub-groups: Green Hmong, their women wearing hair in big puffy buns and wearing pleated skirts' and white Hmong their women pants and turbans. The Hmong and their sister groups may have preceded the Chinese in China and resisted Chinese encroachment and comination for so long that their cultures' driving theme is independence fromoutside pressure.
Mien Tribe
The Mien of Thailand are a homogeneous group, being the only sub-group of the Yao to migrate to Southeast Asia. Some of the Mien still remain in south China along with the other sub-groups: the Pu Nu, the Iu Ngien, and the Lak Kja. They are also unique among the hilltribe people, having been able to use Chinese characters to write in Mien language for several centuries. They used it to record the Taoist ritrals that were practiced in China in the 13th Centuries to deep family record, and to write contracts and letters. They also like to adopt children from own tribe, other tribes. The Shan, the Laotian, and the Thai. These children will grow up to bu Mien culturally and socially. Over 10% of their population are adoptees, their culture is mainly concerned with propriety. Dignified manners and decorum are valued highly, which is probably why they have a predilection for falking and telling folk tales in a social gathering more than doing song and dance.
Lisu Tribe
There are two main groups of Lisu. The black Lisu live in China and Burma, and dress in dark and subdued colors. Flowery Lisu live mainly in Thailand and dress in bright colors. Thier culture's driving theme is primasy, or to each Lisu "I am, or mine is, and always will be number one", which acounts for thier women's dresses being increasingly more elabolate and thier jewelry more ornate, When they dress up for thier New Year celebation, the jewelry can wiegh up to two kilograms .
Akha Tribe
The Akha culture's theme is continuity. Each Akha sees himself as a link in a chain of life: to be born and be and insurance for the next generation, to be and adult, a keeper of the "Akha Way" and a procreator for the race; and finally, to die and to join ancestors and be worshipped one. The Akha Way is over 10,000 poetic lines of codes of conduct governing all aspects of life from waking to sleeping and from birth to death. It covers laws, costoms, relegion, medicines, agriculture, blacksmithing, and handicrafts. Each village priest has to memorize all the codes, for they are illiterate. There are three styles of clothing for Akha women in Thailand: Ulo, worn by long-time residents of Thailand; Loimi, worn by recent immigrants from a mountain district in Burma; anc Phami, worn by women of the Mawn Po clan. Our dancers wear the Ulo style of dress. Married women wear tall hats (u-cher). Single women wear bonners (u-coe).
THAI FOOD
Phad thai