Thai House in the North
The Lanna or the northern people favor the valleys that are the river basins for settlement. The northern region which begins from Sukhothai all the way to Chiangmai and Chiangrai is dominated by mountains and rain forest. The year round climate is the coolest of all regions. The typical house in the north is rather well walled in with less space for windows, and ample space for platform known in the northern dialect as “toen”. A shelf for a row of earthenware water jars is to be found on one side of the house. The walls tend to be slanted toward the eaves the main body of the house is usually surrounded by large open space. Close to the house, fruit bearing trees and “sompoi” known for its leaves that are used in the rites of the northern people are grown.
Lanna house as a rule faces east with the roof ridge oriented along north south direction. The house is thus exposed to ample sunlight and at the same time protected from northern winds in the cool season.
The house of the north falls into three main categories i.e. tied house (reuan kruang pook), hard wood house (reuan kruang sab or reuan mai jing or reuan katae) and the house in a mixed style between the traditional and the western ideas.
Tied house represents the true tradition of the house of the northern people. Supporting posts and beams are in hard wood while the walls are made from juxtaposed bamboo slats. The roof cover itself is made from large leaves or reeds. Reuan kruang sab or reuan kalae to which similar to reuan krunag sab is built from hard wood introduced during the reign of King Rama V, the house in the mixed style between local and western is richly decorated with carved and cut wooden fleeces also known as the “sala nai” style.
Information from: “Rice and Thai Ways of Life” published by Office of the National Culture Commission.