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“Old Home” in Barn Hom community, Kotchasarn Road, Mueang District, Chiang Mai province, in 1989
Boonserm Satrabhaya
Kotchasarn Road; Old Home; Barn Hom community

Loy Krao area is considered one of the oldest areas in Chiang Mai which is connected to the Night Bazaar. The community which settled in this area was Barn Hom community, the community which King Kawila gathered from Chiang Saen.

History has it that originally this temple was called Loy Kor temple (Roy Kor temple) built during Pra Ya Kue Na’s reign (1367-1388). The area was deserted for a time until Barn Hom villagers settled there and built the Loy Krao temple to be the community center. Because the community settles around its area continuously, the temple has been renovated from the community regularly. Loy Kroa temple was last renovated in 2007-2008. The temple abbot mentioned that this latest renovation maintained its original plan from 1865. One example is the use of old front part of a temple from the original temple to decorate the present one with delicate beautiful designs. The door of the monastery has the design of the figure of diva and ornamental gable-end of Thai houses or the naga structure which had designs with colorful stained glass.

Presently, due to its location which is close to the Night Bazaar area, an important tourist attraction in Chiang Mai, the home owners in the area have transformed their dwelling places into hotel, guesthouses, restaurants, and coffee shops. They serve tourists who are mainly foreigners. In addition, it is found that there are also outside investors who invest their money in the area. These outside investors consist of those who live in Chiang Mai but outside the Loy Kroa area and investors from outside Chiang Mai. This can be seen from Suriwongse Hotel which is situated at the corner of Loy Kroa Road in Night Bazaar which is an example of Chiang Mai investors. The hotel was built by Chao Chai Suriwongse Na Chiang Mai in 1962. When it was first built, it was a very modern hotel in the city. However, when more and more new hotels were built, this hotel was down-graded. Chao Chai Suriwongse Na Chiang Mai had another hotel built – Duang Tawan Hotel which was close to Suriwongse Hotel but was later sold. An example of the outside investor is the Le Meridian Hotel of Beer Chang Group. It is a five-star hotel located in the original Night Bazaar facing Suriwongse Hotel.

Presently, if one walks into the Loy Krao area, the familiar scene will be packed shops and modern services for foreign tourists on both sides of the road. However, though the road sides reflect modern trends, if one walks beyond Loy Kroa temple area, one will witness the big contrast to the main road. What one sees is the remaining of the Lanna cultures which are administered by the civilian training unit of Chang Khlarn Sub-district. This unit is the site for Sunday Buddhism study and was established in 1984. Other than Buddhism teaching, the center offers the teaching of Lanna language and native music. The majority of the students are youth groups with some adults. The students are taught that Lanna is a center of valuable traditions which have been handed down for many generations and should be preserved.

Anu Neunhard, Pol. Lt. Col.. (2000). Sapa Rueng Kao (Miscellaneous stories of
             Chiang Mai in the past. (in Thai). Chiang Mai: Nopburi Printing.

Tam Nan Puen Muang Chiang Mai (The Legend of Chiang Mai). (in Thai).
             (1973). Bangkok: The Committee for Printing History Documents,
             Office of Prime Minister.

Prawat Wat Loy Krao (The History of Loy Krao Temple). (in Thai).
             Chiang Mai: Loy Krao Temple.
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