Thailand’s “Rose of the North” is a cultural and natural wonderland with ethnic diversity, a multitude of attractions and welcoming hospitality.
1 ) Elephant Nature Park
2 ) Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
3 ) Wat Chedi Luang
4 ) Northern Thailand’s Own Sakura Cherry Blossoms
The variety of sakura growing in Thailand is the Wild Himalayan cherry (Prunus cerasoides). Its name in Thai is นางพญาเสือโคร่ง naang phá-yaa sǔea-khrông, which means “Tiger Queen.”
There are several good places to go see the Tiger Queen flowers blooming, including Doi Chaang, Doi Wawee, and Doi Mae Salong mountains, which are all located in Chiang Rai province. But the best place to go see them as a day-trip from Chiang Mai is Khun Chang Khian, a tiny village way up on Doi Pui that you get to by driving up Doi Suthep mountain. The best time to view the sakura at Khun Chang Khian is in the middle of January, but as anyone who has lived in Japan knows, the timing of the cherry blossoms is difficult to predict and can change from year to year by several weeks.
5 ) Karen Long Neck Tribe & Chiang Dao Cave
At Chiang Dao cave, the caverns stretch many kilometres into the mountain yet only a small part of the complex is possible to explore. Two of the caves, Tham Phra Nawn and Tham Seua Dao, are illuminated by electric lights, but the upper caves are pitch-black and requires a local lantern-carrying guides to lead the way. There are some spectacular limestone formations and Buddhist shrines in these caves.
6) Bo Sang Handicraft Village
The handcrafting of umbrellas and parasols in Bo Sang Village is known throughout the country and even abroad – so much so that the umbrella has become one of the symbols of Chiang Mai. Here, you’ll find plenty of hand-painted umbrellas, tiny cocktail umbrellas, large parasols for gardens or patios and other handmade products – all made from sa paper in various designs and at reasonable prices.
7) Chiang Mai Zoo
Covering 200 acres of land in the foothills of Doi Suthep and providing excellent views of the city in addition to fascinating wildlife exhibits, Chiang Mai Zoo is certainly worth a visit. Nearly 400 species of animal are kept here, including the two ‘cultural ambassador’ or pandas from China. The zoo also features outstanding special attractions such as the walk through the aviary and a fascinating freshwater aquarium.
8) Pai Chiang Mai
Set in a particularly picturesque valley north of Chiang Mai, Pai is a predominantly tourism-oriented town, offering a relaxed atmosphere with a broad tourist and backpacker scene. The town’s permanent residents are a seemingly harmonious mix of Western hippies, Thai rastas, and muslims (there is a big mosque in the center of town) which gives the place a unique vibe which may be appealing to some, even if it isn’t traditional.
9) Doi Inthanon
Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand, rises 2,565 metres above sea level. Known as a sanctuary for a wide range of animal species and perhaps the best place in Thailand for bird-watching, the park has approximately 362 different species, many of which are not found anywhere else in Thailand. Doi Inthanon is a popular destination, not only for its natural beauty, but also for its historical significance.
10) Wat Suan Dorg
Wat Suan Dok is a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. It is a Royal Temple of the Third Class. The temple is on Suthep Road, approximately one kilometre west of Suan Dok gate at the west side of the moat.