Turn Back Time

Turn Back Time

While staying at the award-winning all-suite 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai, guests can enjoy a variety of experiences catering to all tastes. For those who enjoy history and exploring, a half-day tour of the Old City by traditional samlor or rickshaw allows guests to turn back time and experience the slow travel methods of days gone by.


During this half-day tour, guests will be transported back to the heyday of the teak industry in the 1930’s when the Borneo Company was headquartered in the original teak homestead of 137 Pillars House. Guests will visit places where David Macfie and William Bain, former managers of the company spent time, including the Gymkhana Club, as well as the former residences of Arthur Queripel, Forest Manager of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation.


Turn Back Time
137 Pillars House is a short walk from the Ping River.


The tour begins at 8.30 am when a guide and driver meets guests at the hotel from where they will visit the quaint Wat Ket Museum which exhibits memorabilia of old Chiang Mai, followed by the Kad Luang Market which dates back to the early 20th century and which Macfie and Bain would most certainly have frequented.


Turn Back Time – Samlor Tour


The only public transportation available in those days was the samlor (also known as a rickshaw or bicycle taxi). The samlor tour will take guests to some key historical sights of the city, including the oldest house in Chiang Mai, known as the Lanna Ancient House, formerly owned by a Burmese teak trader. After crossing the Ping River via the Iron Bridge, the samlor tour concludes at the First Church of Chiang Mai.


Turn Back Time
Rickshaws were once a common sight on the streets of Chiang Mai.


The tour continues by minivan to the Gymkhana Club. In 1898 Louis Leonowens of the Borneo Company, was one of 14 founders of this sports club, which became the social meeting place of the expat community in Chiang Mai where they gathered to play golf, tennis, cricket and polo and to socialise with friends. Both Macfie and Bain were members and appear in group pictures that adorn the wall of the club. In the 1920’s and 1930’s the expat community probably totaled around 70 people, including children. Most were American missionaries or British employees of the teak firms. The club still operates to this day.


Next to the Gymkhana Club is the foreign cemetery where both Macfie and Bain were laid to rest. Guests can visit and pay their respects at their graves and that of Chiang Mai’s most famous British consul W.A.R.Wood.


Turn Back Time
Teak Wallahs of yesteryear on tour at The Gymkhana Club Chiang Mai.


The tour concludes at the Lanna Traditional House Museum at the Chiang Mai University; a charming open-air museum with an amazing collection of  re-assembled wooden traditional houses. At the centre of the compound is the Queripel House or the House of Lung Que which was the home of Arthur Queripel, forest manager of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. It houses a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Arthur Queripel and the teak industry. Guests will then return to 137 Pillars House in time for lunch at around 12.30 pm.




  • Transportation by private air-conditioned car
  • English speaking guide
  • Sightseeing as indicated
  • Drinking water
  • Entrance fees
  • Limited medical insurance


Not Included:


  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Other expenses that are not mentioned in the itinerary


The cost of the half-day tour is as follows and are valid until December 31, 2022:


1 person   = Bt4,500 (US$139) per person net

2 persons = Bt2,700 (US$83) per person net

3 persons = Bt2,200 (US$68) per person net

4 persons = Bt1,900 (US$59) per person net

5 persons = Bt1,800 (US$56) per person net

6 persons = Bt1,600 (US$50) per person net


For more information and reservations, call +66 (0) 5324 – 7788 or email: 137cnx-fo@137pillarshouse.com.



Source: Dynamic PR & Events.

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