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Chiang Mai Zoo

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As zoos go, Chiang Mai’s effort is the largest, and arguably the best, in Thailand.

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It’s located at the foot of Doi Suthep, just west of the sprawling university complex off Huay Kaew Road, and so is conveniently reached by public transport from town, and also fits in well with any planned trip up Doi Suthep itself. It is set up very much in the classic zoological park style, though the extensive, more than 200 acres of natural forest setting definitely raises it a notch or two above the average. Originally established back in 1977, it has seen regular improvements, upgrades and additions throughout the years.

The only way to see a free panda. Photo taken in or around Chiang Mai Zoo, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

The only way to see a free panda. Photo: Mark Ord

Inhabitants, or inmates if you prefer, include local species such as Asian elephants, tigers, tapir and numerous members of the monkey family, as well as non-indigenous animals such as koalas, giraffes, lions and even penguins. Conditions are variable, with herds of deer free to roam large fenced-off tracts of woodland, yet Asian black bears confined to a rather pitiful concrete pit. Conditions are regularly upgraded and the zoo’s welfare reputation is relatively good; overall it isn’t worse than many large Western city zoos.

The vast site also includes a range of activities such as go-karting, a zip-line, water park and particularly popular with locals, a Snowdome. Perhaps of limited interest to many foreign visitors, climatically challenged Thais get very excited about seeing snow, tobogganing in plastic tubes or taking selfies in igloos. Next door to the Snowdome is the panda house, which as with the other additional attractions mentioned here, requires a separate entrance fee. We’ve seen them on several occasions—due to having small kids in tow—and they’ve been asleep each time, so it's up to you whether you think the 100 baht is worth ... Travelfish members only (Around 900 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Chiang Mai Zoo is easily accessible and you have several public transport choices available to get here. Firstly, you could take a red songthaew up Huay Kaew Road for 30 baht although this may require flagging a few down before you find one heading up that way. Cheaper at 15 baht, though if you’re unlucky entailing a longer wait, is one of the regular city buses which wind their way through Chiang Mai between Arcade bus station and the zoo terminus. A tuk tuk from downtown will cost 100 to 150 baht, depending upon your starting point.

Chiang Mai Zoo
100 Huay Kaew Rd, Suthep
Mo–Su: 08:00–17:00, aquarium 10:30–16:00
T: (053) 210 374
Admission: Zoo entry, adult 150, child 100 (children under 135 cms), Zoo + panda, adult 250, child 120, Zoo + aquarium, adult 520, child 390

Location map for Chiang Mai Zoo

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Mai.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Chiang Mai.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Chiang Mai.
 Read up on how to get to Chiang Mai, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Chiang Mai? Please read this.
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