09 Mar Visiting Nai Lert Heritage Home in Bangkok, Thailand
This is a place that very very few people know about, especially foreign tourists. But surprisingly, it is located right in the middle of the city, in plain sight. It is a little popular with local Thais, but still not so much. Nai Lert Heritage Home is a legacy home that gives a peep into Bangkok’s past with a lot of elegance.
I discovered it accidentally. I actually saw something on google maps when I was in the area and then looked it up online. What I found was one of the most offbeat places to visit in Bangkok. You will especially like it if you love a little history and architecture. It kind of reminded me of Jim Thompson House, but more Thai.
Anyway, if you like what you read, go ahead and check this place out.
Why Visit Nai Lert Home
Nai Lert Park Heritage Home was the abode of Mr Lert’s family, a leading businessman in Bangkok in the 50s. This place mostly showcases their personal collection of articles from that time. But it also weaves a story of Bangkok, a town that was bustling towards modernity and fast evolution.
If architecture interests you and are curious to check out a blend of heritage Thai and modern chic finishes, you should stop by here. The woodwork is exceptionally lovely.
Other than that, it is a beautiful park too. It was the first contemporary park in Bangkok, even before Lumphini and people visited often. It will surprise you to find a breath of fresh air, right in the heart of a bustling Bangkok.
Brief History of Nai Lert Home
Nai Lert was a Thai businessman in the early 1900s who introduced a lot of novelty in Thailand unheard of at that point. He was the first person to introduce ice to Thai people. Nai Lert did it by building a large ice factory in the city. Apparently, Thais found it too cold then and did not like it at first (now they cannot do without ice).
Apart from a lot of other import and real estate businesses, he introduced Bangkok’s first motor Bus. The first Bus made of teakwood is present at the entrance of this place. Before Nai Lert Home was built and its inhabitants moved here permanently, the area was used as a bus depot.
Nai Lert also constructed a canal to connect it to San Saep Canal. This was a major route for trade during that time. His family permanently moved to this place where they hosted a large number of guests.
After his death in 1945, the place was passed on to his daughter and then granddaughters. It was recently opened to the public as a heritage property.
Nai Lert Heritage Home Location
Nai Lert Heritage Home is located in the Lumphini area, on the opposite side of Phloen Chit Road from Lumphini Park. It is right behind the Central Embassy and Central Chidlom squeezed between Witthayu Road and Som Khit Alley.
Address: 2 2 Witthayu Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok 10330
How to reach Nai Lert Heritage Home
Since Nai Lert Home is located right in the middle of the city, it is even convenient to take a taxi if you are in Bangkok. Otherwise, you can check out the following ways:
BTS: You can take the BTS on Light Green Line and get down at Ploen Chit Station. From there you can walk around 600m to Nai Lert Heritage Home.
Ferry: A more interesting way to travel is by ferry that makes its way to the canals that runs all across the city. In this case, you can take the route on Saen Saep Canal (that Nai Lert himself travelled from). Get down at Witthayu pier. From there you can walk around 250m to this place.
Several buses also run to Phloen Chit Road. You can find a route Central Embassy or Central Chidlom and walk from there.
Nai Lert Home Ticket Prices and Timings
Nai Lert Home ticket price: THB 250 per person for adults, THB 100 for students (you will need an ID card) and the entrance is free for all children below the age of 7 years.
The ticket also includes an English/Thai speaking private tour guide. The guide will take you around the place that spans around an hour. However, you will need to connect with them over a call or email beforehand to book the tour. You can pay for the ticket at the counter.
Phone: +66(0)2 253 0123
Facebook: Nai Lert Park Heritage Home
The guide will pick you up from the main entrance. Then you will head towards the main buildings and the dock where the tour ends. You are free to check out the place on your own from there.
Nai Lert Home Timings: The place is open from Wednesday – Sunday from 9.30 am – 11.30 am and 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm.
What to see Inside the Heritage Home
The tour starts at the entrance where our tour guide met us. After welcoming, we first stopped in front of a vintage bus. This was the first bus in Bangkok that Nai Lert introduced for his transportation business. It still looks beautiful.
From there we slowly walked into the main garden while he told us all the stories of Nai Lert’s businesses. The gardens are lovely, neatly trimmed but not extremely large. A huge tent stood in the middle for a wedding ceremony. Apparently, the place is popular for weddings and family celebrations. You can privately book them.
While there were a couple of more stops, the main highlight for me was the main house, built in teakwood in traditional Thai style. The beauty of the place was in its simplicity. The house is built on the first floor like most Thai homes. The house is completely open and walls or rooms hardly separate the area.
Each space flows into another and living areas sit overlooking the gardens in the open lobby. Partial glass walls have been introduced recently in some areas to provide air-conditioning.
There are several sitting areas and then a large gallery that has artefacts of the family members. Some of them are brought back from different countries along with a lot of family heirlooms.
You can also check out the dining rooms, Nai Lert’s daughter’s childhood bedroom, the cabinet area where they kept all their crystals and glassware and importantly, a bathroom! There was only one bathroom in the house, which was a big deal at that time. Plumbing was extremely expensive and very modern, the resources most Thais didn’t have.
We also briefly saw the kitchen area that (like most other Thai homes) are located outside the house. Our guide told us that the kitchen was a very busy part of the house. This was because Nai Lert’s family always had a lot of guests.
Back then, everyone gathered in the dining area and sat on the floor to eat. Even the beds were stretched out on the floor itself and mosquito cover hung from the ceiling. This was a simple life that Nai Lert and his family lived.
The tour ends at the dock where there still are two boats that were used by Nai Lert. One is a riverboat that the family used to travel upstream to several destinations in Thailand. The other one was for shallow ocean waters but just the coastal area. The finishing is still gorgeous to look at.
It was also here that the home was connected to the Saen Saep canal and Nai Lert and other people could move around the city much faster.
There is a little bit more to discover. But you can check it out on your own after the tour ends.
Cafes and Restaurants
Inside the premises are four different restaurants, all with different personalities and specific purposes. Lady L is a garden bistro that carries a menu with European flavours and dishes. You will find salads, sandwiches, pizza, main courses, desserts and even afternoon tea in classic European style.
Ma Mansion is a restaurant that tries to preserve some rare and unique recipes. These were passed on from generation to generation. They go all the way back to Nai Lert’s wife when she used to host hundreds of guests at a time. The place serves authentic Thai dishes with some unique twists. Needless to say, this is what Thai fine dining looks like.
The third one is a small coffee house that is visible right as you enter the property. The place has a select few dessert options with great coffee. And the last one is Caviar Cafe which is fine dining. It focuses on a few dishes made around the rare and premium kind of Russian caviar.
Nai Lert Heritage Home hosts a lot of events. Some are available on request. You can request things like Flower Design & Decoration and Traditional Thai Dessert Making by calling them up in advance and booking.
The property is available and hosts large gatherings for weddings, dinners, brand promotional events and well, whatever you need. Check out photos from a lovely wedding that took place here.
The place also organises events on special occasions like art and floral shows. They mostly take place around Valentine’s day and Loi Krathong (basket floating for couples). You can check out their upcoming events by following their facebook page.