Hang Dong and San Pa Tong are two neighbouring districts directly to the south of Chiang Mai. They both have central towns and these are on Highway 108, the main route southbound from the city. Between them, the districts feature some of the best known attractions in the Chiang Mai area.
Grand Canyon Water Park is a must for those looking for exhilarating action. Chiang Mai’s second zoo, two beautiful botanical gardens, and shopping for buffaloes and handicrafts are other experiences unique to this corner of Thailand. The quirky Flora Creek is one of a number of pleasant accommodation choices in the area. The What’s Up guide below has more details.
Last Updated: December 2018
WHAT TO SEE
Wat Ton Kwen
Wat Ton Kwen is located in Ton Kwen Village and is also known as Wat Intharawat. The highlight of this temple is a wooden chapel (viharn) built in the 1850s. The structure is a classic example of historic Lanna construction styles. Huge naga dragon statues act as sentries at the front entrance of the viharn.
Wat Ton Kwen: – T. Nong Kwai, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 | Open: 08:00-16:30 (Daily) | Admission Fee: Free | Tel: +66 53 248 607
Ob Khan National Park
Ob Khan National Park is a relaxing location and a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Ob Khan Gorge, bird-watching, picnics and camping are the main draws of the park. The camp site is open between September and April.
Ob Khan National Park: – T. Nam Prae, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 | Open: 08:00-16:30 (Daily) | Admission Fee: Free | Tel: +66 86 181 1068 | Website
Chiang Mai Night Safari
The Night Safari is Chiang Mai’s second zoo and was the world’s second nocturnal zoo when it opened in 2006. It provides great animal related experiences and the chance of seeing magnificent creatures including tigers, lions and porcupines in recreated natural habitats. Tiger shows, night predator shows and musical fountains are key incentives to choose the Night Safari for an evening’s entertainment.
Chiang Mai Night Safari: #33, M. 12, T. Nong Khwai, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 | Open: 11:00-22:00 (Daily) | Tickets: Adult 800 B, Child 400 B | Tel: +66 53 999 000 | Fax: +66 53 999 099 | Website
Royal Park Rachaphruek
Opened in the same year as the Night Safari, Royal Park Ratchaphruek is spread over 200 acres and houses a fabulous collection of plants, trees and flowers representing all corners of the globe. Zones designed to showcase gardens from countries like Spain, Turkey, the Netherlands and Japan plus Ho Kham Luang Royal Pavilion are the main highlights. Desert species and greenhouses packed with tropical plants add another facet to Ratchaphruek’s myriad draws.
Royal Park Ratchaphruek: – T. Mae Hia, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100100 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 200 B, Child 150 B | Tel: +66 53 114 110-5 | Website | E-mail
San Pa Tong Buffalo Market
The Buffalo Market in San Pa Tong opens every Saturday morning and is a large scale traditional Thai market. Hundreds of vendors start loading up their stalls on Friday nights. Clothing, footwear, household tools, bicycles, motorcycles, buffaloes, chickens, Thai spices and pastes, tropical fish, fruit and low-priced jewellery are among the items waiting to tempt those with a few spare Baht in their pockets.
San Pa Tong Buffalo Market: – T. Yu Wa, A. San Pa Tong, Chiang Mai 50120 | Open: 07:00-12:00 (Saturday)
The Krisdadoi Gardens are a few kilometres up the south side of the Samoeng Loop and a must see when on this well travelled highway. Numerous beds of multi-coloured flowers, a huge assortment of trees, a waterfall, Lanna style pavilions and artistic statues all gel to create an awesome sight. An onsite restaurant and the deluxe Flora Creek holiday resort are additional amenities here.
Krisadadoi Gardens: #90, M. 4, T. Baan Pong, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 60 B, Child 40 B | Tel: +66 52 001 400 | Website
WHAT TO DO
Shopping at Baan Tawai Handicraft Village
Baan Tawai is home to a varied collection of Chiang Mai’s legendary handicraft shops and factories. The handicraft village proper is a few kilometres from Hang Dong Town, but there are a number of sales outlets on the way in. Collectively, the handicraft outlets sell the signature Baan Tawai wood carvings and teakwood furniture plus decorative lamps, ornaments, lacquerware, souvenirs, jewellery, dolls, toys and all manner of Buddha statues.
Baan Tawai Handicraft Village: #90, M. 2, T. Khun Khong, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: Free | Website
Adventure Activities at Grand Canyon Water Park
Despite being a recent addition to Chiang Mai’s adventure centres, the Grand Canyon is now one of its most popular. The park is a kind of waterborne obstacle course made of rafts, floating walls, chutes and slides in a water-filled, disused quarry. The mandatory wearing of lifejackets and a large number of lifeguards is evidence safety is of the utmost importance. Added bonuses are a zipline, a separate kiddies’ zone and a café noted for yummy desserts and drinks.
Grand Canyon Water Park: #202, M. 3, T. Namprae, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 | Open: 09:00-18:30 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: Adult 450 B, Child 350 B | Tel: +66 63 672 4007 | Facebook
Go Karting at Chiang Mai Speedkart
Chiangmai Speedkart is a few metres from the Ratchaphruek-Outer Ringroad Intersection. The karts are high-powered while the nicely laid out track offers racers the illusion they are zooming around a Formula I circuit. Helmets and safety clothing are included in the kart usage fee.
Chiang Mai Speedkart: #59, M. 6, T. Nong Kwai, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 | Open: 09:30-18:30 (Daily) | Prices: 700 B/10 Mins; 1,000 B/15 Mins | Tel: +66 95 652 9550 | Facebook
WHERE TO STAY
The North Hill City Resort
A premier choice for discerning guests, the North Hill City Resort is an enchanting premises with the added bonuses of an 18-hole golf course, a spa, a fitness centre, a swimming pool and an Italian restaurant. The resort’s 42 rooms and suites boast creature comforts including rain showers, bathtubs, Egyptian cotton bedding, mini-bars, air-conditioning, TVs and media players, and WiFi…more info & booking
Corner Spa Resort
The Corner Spa is another top quality accommodation choice. A sauna, the signature Corner Spa, a swimming pool, a gym, massage services, bicycle hire and a restaurant ensure the needs of guests are more than satisfied. Tastefully decorated rooms are the epitome of style. They come with inimitable art pieces, satellite TV, WiFi, refrigerators, facilities to make hot drinks, air-conditioning and bathrobes…more info & booking
Flora Creek Chiang Mai
The Flora Creek is located at the beautiful Krisdadoi Gardens and towards the southern end of the Samoeng Loop. Superior and deluxe rooms and suites are themed on historical Lanna styles, but fitted with modern amenities. Free WiFi, cable TVs, air-conditioning and private balconies are key features. A restaurant, a swimming pool, a spa, and the peaceful 10-acre spread of the Krisdadoi gardens are reasons the Flora Creek is one of the most popular resort choices in Hang Dong…more info & booking
The Heritage House and Garden
Billed as Chiang Mai’s European bed and breakfast, the Heritage House boasts an elegant collection of manor house rooms and secluded cottages. All units come with full home comforts and gourmet breakfasts. The Heritage Café’s tasty coffees and pastries, an ambient forest location and facilities to stage functions for up to 150 guests round off the draws at this boutique resort…more info & booking
Rice Barn and Rooms
The Rice Barn is an accommodation option with a difference in southern Hang Dong. Old barns have been converted into homely units. One of these is for two people and another for a family of four. Room bonuses such as polished wood, lavish ornaments and furniture, kitchens and air-conditioning set this small resort apart from other larger ones. A rustic setting, gardens, motorcycle hire services and a small swimming pool are added features…more info & booking
The Northstar Paradise Resort
The Northstar Paradise provides superior accommodation and amenities at budget prices. It has an onsite restaurant by a lake, pleasant gardens, a swimming pool and a playground for children. Fan and air-conditioned rooms are basic yet spacious and colourful. They are equipped with cable TVs, refrigerators and seating areas…more info & booking
Kaomai Lanna Resort and Hotel
The portfolio of chic rooms at the Kaomai Lanna have been fashioned from old tobacco drying barns. No expense has been spared in fixing them up to satisfy the needs of 21st century travellers. The finished products ooze quality with touches including marble-tiled bathrooms and retro wooden furniture. The main resort amenities are a yoga pavilion, a swimming pool, a spa, a restaurant and meeting facilities…more info & booking
HOW TO GET TO HANG DONG AND SAN PA TONG
Highway 108 leads south from Chiang Mai’s inner road and is the main road to Mae Sariang and Mae Hong Son. It cuts through Hang Dong and San Pa Tong en route. Yellow songthaews and blue buses for the two towns depart from a stand near the Old City’s Chiang Mai Gate. Those planning on going to locations not on the 108 will need to get a tuk-tuk or songthaew for the trip. Renting a car or motorcycle is another option. Rentalcars.com is a preferred partner for What’s Up and is a global car hire provider offering competitive daily rental rates in Chiang Mai. [Read more about Mae Sariang and Mae Hong Son]