Chiang Mai is kid friendly and provides an assortment of peerless experiences which will remain treasured memories for years to come. Attractions like Chiang Mai Zoo and Aquarium and the Night Safari plus colourful festivals, elephant-riding, and browsing shops and markets loaded up with an exciting array of toys, knick-knacks and souvenirs provide that wow factor few other destinations are able to match.
There are also a traditional park, a water park, several kids’ playgrounds, mini-golf courses and two themed facilities. Most of the larger Big C and Tesco Lotus stores plus Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Mall, the Airport Plaza and the MAYA Lifestyle Shopping Centre also have play-zones with ball rooms, toy trains, and other amusements for kiddies.
A ride in a tuk-tuk without getting stuck in a Bangkok traffic jam is an easy and cheap activity for children to enjoy. Chiang Mai’s climate is warm enough for swimming more-or-less all year. Many guest houses and hotels have onsite swimming pools to keep youngsters and teenagers occupied and give mum and dad some downtime. A trip to one of the national parks close to Chiang Mai gives additional choices for swimming and paddling in pools at the foot of waterfalls.
Top Attractions for Family:
Elephant Camps | Night Safari | Mae Sa Valley | Suan Buak Haad Park | Tweechol Garden | Zoo & Aquarium
Cinemas and Playgrounds:
Cinemas | Kids@Play | Shopping Centre Amusements
Chiang Mai Festivals | National Children’s Day
Water Parks & Theme Park:
Elephant PooPooPaper Park | Hidden Village | Tube Trek Water Park | Further Reading
*Note: Entrance fees do change, we recommend you check for the latest updates.
CHIANG MAI ZOO AND AQUARIUM
Northern Thailand is home to unique wildlife as well as facilities with collections of creatures from around the world. Chiang Mai Zoo rarely disappoints and boasts a range of around 400 species with highlights which include Asian elephants, koalas, penguins and seals. Two Sichuan giant pandas have their own purpose-built enclosure near the Snow Dome.
The Snow Dome provides that rare experience in a tropical nation for children to experience a polar climate and play with snow. Chiang Mai Zoo stages seal and animal shows at frequent intervals throughout the day. The zoo’s onsite aquarium incorporates a transparent tunnel which gives amazing views of marine species such as reef sharks, giant trevally and barramundi.
Chiang Mai Zoo: #100, Huay Kaew Rd., T. Suthep, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 150 B, Child 70 B | Tel: +66 53 221 179 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
CHIANG MAI NIGHT SAFARI
In 2006, Chiang Mai Night Safari welcomed its first wildlife fans and has since become an irresistible magnet for visiting tourists. The Night Safari has a 1,400 strong collection of animals spread over three main zones. A night safari by trolley-bus takes visitors through the Savanna and Predator zones while the Jaguar Trail is a pedestrian path meandering around a lake. Fountain-music shows and lion shows are the other key reasons to visit.
Chiang Mai Night Safari: #3, M. 12, T. Nong Khwai, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 | Open: 11:00-22:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 800 B, Child 400 B | Tel: +66 53 999 000 | Fax: +66 53 999 099 | Website | Map
Chiang Mai offers the chance of interacting with lovable Asian elephants. Mae Sa Elephant Camp is nearby and good spot for short elephant ride. On the main road south to Lampang, the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre is a facility dedicated to showcasing these intelligent creatures. Elephant logging shows, elephant bathing, elephant rides and an elephant hospital plus souvenirs crafted from kradaat chang (elephant dung paper) are the highlights.
#1 Mae Sa Elephant Camp: #101, M. 9, Mae Rim-Sa Moeng Rd., A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 07:30-15:30 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 250 B, Child 150 B | Elephant Rides: ½ Hour 1,000 B | Tel: +66 53 206 247-8 | Fax: +66 53 206 247 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
#2 Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC): Km.#28-29, Lampang-Chiang Mai Highway, Hang Chat, Lampang 52190 | Open: 08:00-16:30 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 200 B, Child 100 B | Elephant Rides: ½ Hour 500 B, 1 Hour 1000 B | Tel: +66 54 829 333 | Fax: +66 54 829 334 | Website | E-mail | Map
THE MAE SA VALLEY
Near Mae Rim and north of Chiang Mai, the Mae Sa Valley is an adventure playground with varied attractions and activities suitable for young and old alike. Kid and family friendly places are an elephant camp, the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden, the X-Centre, Tiger Kingdom, a snake farm, an orchid and butterfly farm, and an eight-level waterfall. The snake and tiger farms put on shows and have interactive sessions. Baan Tong Luang is a small village at which tourists are able to get a glimpse of the famous long-necked hilltribe people.
ELEPHANT POOPOOPAPER PARK
Elephant PooPooPaper Park provides a couple of hours of unique and interactive entertainment for people of all ages. The main theme of this park is a step-by-step walk-through guide to the process of turning elephant poop into the paper which is one of Chiang Mai’s most beloved souvenirs. The onsite store carries a stock souvenirs fashioned from the finished product. POOPOOPAPER Park is near the Tiger Kingdom and can be combined with a visit to this or one of the other eclectic attractions in the Mae Sa Valley.
Elephant POOPOOPAPER Park: #87, M. 10, T. Mae Ram, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 09:00-17:30 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: 100 B | Tel: +66 53 299 565 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
TUBE TREK WATER PARK
A recent addition to the kid-friendly attractions in Chiang Mai, Tube Trek Water Park has fast evolved into an extremely popular destination for families. The general theme of the park is robots. It incorporates pools, a wave-simulation pool and exhilarating water-chutes and slides. Soft plastic rafts, tubes and floats afford maximum comfort while zooming down chutes and floating across pools. Onsite food and drink outlets ensure families can make a day of their Tube Trek trip. The park is situated in the San Kamphaeng area and about 20 minutes drive from Chiang Mai.
Tube Trek Water Park: #55/5, T. Ton Pao, A. San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai 50130 | Open: 10:00-19:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 1,350 B/Child 450 B | Tel: +66 53 010 123 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
THE HIDDEN VILLAGE
The Hidden Village is another fairly new Chiang Mai attraction aimed at families with young children. The park is located inside the northern section of the city’s outer ring road. The park features a lifelike collection of models of prehistoric dinosaurs, a petting section of tame animals, playground amusements and a US-style steak-house, the Barn, at which gourmet burgers are always a hit with youngsters.
The Hidden Village: #77/19, T. San Pee Sua, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50300 | Open: 09:00-19:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: 200 B | Tel: +66 64 550 0305 | Facebook | E-mail | Map
SUAN BUAK HAAD PARK
Parks are always fun places to go with children and the Old City’s Suan Buak Haad is no exception. The park is nicely maintained and features a series of walkways and bridges leading through ponds and past tall palm trees. The ponds are stocked with indigenous species such as tabtim ruby fish. Feeding the fish is all part of the park experience. The playground zone has a toy train, a climbing frame and swings. Bamboo picnic mats are available for rent. These are ideal for picnicking on the snacks and drinks sold outside the park’s main gate.
Suan Buak Haad Park: – T. Phra Singh, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 05:00-21:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: Free | Map
TWEECHOL BOTANICAL GARDEN
For those with youngsters in tow, Tweechol Botanical Garden is a must. This lovely garden complex has a fantastic portfolio of plants and trees, a boating lake and a petting zoo. Tweechol’s gardeners are experts at topiary and manage to consistently come up with shrubs shaped into lifelike animal figures. The zoo is home to real deer, peacocks, swans, ostriches, camels and other docile creatures. Tweechol is 10kms from downtown Chiang Mai and on the route to Doi Saket.
Tweechol Botanical Garden: #118, M. 7, T. Cheng Doi, A. Doi Saket, Chiang Mai 50220 | Open: 08:30-17:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 86 B, Child 43 B | Tel: +66 53 868 891-3 | Website | E-mail | Map
KID@PLAY AT THE PROMENADA RESORT MALL
Loaded up with state-of-the-art playground equipment and features, Kids at Play transports youngsters into heaven. The play areas are split into two zones, one for under fours and the other for over. The Pirate Boat and Spin Octopus are two of the magnetic draws for the under fours while the older kids’ zone boasts a gigantic bouncy castle, a mini-zip line and a 3D play maze among its highlights. Six themed playrooms include ones focussed on princesses, gallant knights and dinosaurs.
Kids@Play at Promenada Resort Mall: #192-193, M. 2, T. Thasala, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50000 | Open: 11:00-21:00 (Daily) | Tel: +66 3 107 888 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
Chiang Mai has a number of cinemas and getting to see the latest Hollywood releases is not a problem. Most malls have cinemas showing films with Thai and English soundtracks. Cinemas affiliated to SF Cinema City and Major Cineplex are the best choice for English language movies. The Airport Plaza, Central Festival, Maya and Promenada malls have multi-screen facilities operated by one or other of these film distributors.
SHOPPING CENTRE AMUSEMENTS
The bulk of the malls plus branches of the Tesco-Lotus and Big C supermarket chains have designated children’s zones. These typically feature ballrooms, sit-and-ride monsters, rocking cars, mini-trains and other fairground equipment. Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway and Dairy Queen are among the international restaurant chains with outlets in Chiang Mai’s shopping and lifestyle centres. These provide familiar tastes for youngsters who do not take to the flavours of Thai cuisine.
Festivals are one of Chiang Mai’s top attractions. Songkran is the main one and comes right in the middle of the hot season in Northern Thailand. Water fights and water throwing are usually a hit with children over the age of about seven. Younger ones seem to enjoy the spectacle, albeit from drier vantage points. Colourful parades through the city centre are another integral Songkran happening.
The joint Loy Krathong Festival (or Yi Peng) is the second most important festival on Chiang Mai’s annual calendar. Launching a model boat in the nearest waterway, the sight of the famous komloy sky lanterns and fireworks galore are key reasons to try and time a family visit to coincide with Loy Krathong in the latter months of the year.
CHIANG MAI NATIONAL CHILDREN’S DAY
National Children’s Day in Thailand falls on the second Saturday in January. The Royal Thai Air Force’s Wing 41 throws open the gates of its base near the city airport and stages an extravaganza aimed at youngsters. Youngsters get to clamber aboard aircraft and military vehicles. Dog-handling shows, parachute drops and aircraft flypasts are other events laid on during the day. Shopping malls tend to stage their own entertainment for kids and free gifts are the order of the day.