Attractions in Chiang Mai (Courtesy of nearby Dokmai Botanical Gardens)
At times, it is hard for a short-time visitor to find local attractions that coincide with their interests. Below, we list a few of the nearby destinations, but there are many more places of interest, further north, east and west. The distance in km refers to the driving distance from the Asian Healing Arts Center.
The Grand Canyon of Nampreh – 3 km
When the Canal road (a.k.a. Klong Cholprattan) was being constructed, it was raised by 2 meters and the soil came from an area which is now called the Grand Canyon of Nampreh which has deep craters of red soil with small lakes where you can fish.
Hang Dong food market – 4 km Try to identify fruits and vegetables for sale by local farmers to local villagers. Please note that very few speak English.
Hang Dong Ban Tawai – 4 km This is Thailand’s most famous street for antique and furniture sales.
Obkhan National Park – 6 km Here you can see trees and animals in their natural habitat. You may even recognise individual species – while at the same time enjoy the jungle. Again, very few speak English.
Sanpatong Saturday market – 7 km Unlike the night bazaar, aimed at tourists, this market caters to Thai farmers. You can buy water buffaloes, cows, fruits, vegetables, seedlings, roosters, living beetles, fried bananas, clothes, tools, etc. Make sure to be there around 08:00 in the morning, since everything ends at 11:00 a.m.
The Night Safari – 12 km This is a good place to see native Thai mammals. Although civets, gibbons and leopard cats are present in the national parks, they are very hard to spot. Here, you can conveniently study them.
The Royal Flora Show – 15 km This is a large botanical garden, suitable for picnics and studies of e.g. bonsais.
Doi Suthep National Park, the Zoo and the Arboretum
There are many highlights on the route to the crest of this mountain, which hovers above Chiangmai.
At the base, you will find the arboretum and the zoo. The zoo contains interesting species from all over the world, but be prepared for an exhausting walk up-hill and crowds of people.
The Doi Suthep temple is Chiangmai’s biggest tourist attraction.
Higher up on the mountain is the Royal Puping Palace. This palace hosts some high-elevation tree species and interesting architecture. If you keep driving till the end of the road, you will find a nice camping ground. No need to bring anything; everything can be rented.
Baan Phorliangmeun’s Terracotta Arts in Lamphun, 20 km
This private garden is an outdoor showroom for terracotta art, inspired by Khmer design. The clay excavations created in an interesting landscape with ponds, bridges and shade trees of many species. The owner has a large collection of bonsais.
Tweechol Botanical Garden in Doi Saket – 42 km
This large recreational park, complete with hotel, playgrounds, a zoo and paddleboats, is a nice family destination. The garden design is for modern Thai taste, i.e., formal, with cut hedges and perfect lawns. The topiaries are of highest quality and appreciated by all ages.
The Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden in Mae Rim – 46 km
This national garden has a vast collection of native orchids and splendid greenhouses in the midst of native forests. A very scenic area!
Wat Phrayun in Lamphun – 46 km This ancient and quiet temple is the home of gigantic Corypha umbraculifera palm trees. Lamphun is an ancient city with ruins from the time before the arrival of the Thais.
Doi Inthanon National Park – 50 km This is Thailand’s highest mountain, with pine forests and native Rhododendrons crowded with orchids and other epiphytes. This is a wonderful national park that would take more than a life time to fully explore.
Doi Chompo Po Ka National park – 400 km In this remote national park in the Nan province, you may find species endemic to this mountain, but also tigers, leeches and other exciting beings. The Bretschneidera, a lovely tree with only ten specimens left in the wild, is in blossom in February.