A Mae Sa Valley tour is a must for Chiang Mai visitors who enjoy unique attractions or thrive on adventure activities. At the different wildlife centres located along the main road through the valley people are able to get up close and personal to elephants, tigers, snakes, monkeys and crocodiles plus the renowned Northern Thai hill tribes.
Mae Sa Waterfall, the famous Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden and facilities dedicated to butterflies and orchids are for those who like their entertainment a little tamer. The valley’s Chiang Mai X-centre is a top spot for extreme activities.
Last Updated: December 2018
Best Attractions and How to Get to Mae Sa Valley:
Baan Thong Luang | Chiang Mai X-Centre | Gater Farm | Monkey School | Mae Sa Elephant Camp | Mae Sa Waterfall | Orchid Farms | Queen Sirikit Garden | Snake Farm | Tiger Kingdom | How to Get Here | Cheap Car Rental | Further Reading | *Note: Fees do change, we recommend you to check with the operators for the updates.
Baan Tong Luang is a show village in the Mae Sa Valley and home to families from four of Chiang Mai’s ethnic hill tribe groups. The famous Long Necked Karen, or Paduang as they are sometimes called, plus Hmong, Lahu and White Karen are the hill tribes with traditional houses at Baan Tong Luang. Thatched shacks and houses are spread around a rural district where rice paddies are the dominant feature. Villagers showcase traditions such as weaving or using crossbows. Roadside shops sell hand-made items including silver jewellery, colourful cotton shirts and bamboo utensils. A selfie while standing beside a hill tribe villager resplendent in traditional costume provides an incomparable souvenir. [Read more about Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand]
Baan Tong Luang Hill Tribe Village: T. Mae Ram, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 08:30-16:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: 500 B | Tel: +66 53 206 247-8, +66 85 711 9575 | Fax: +66 53 206 247 | Website | Facebook | Email
Chiang Mai X-Centre is the perfect place for those who prefer their activities to incorporate elements of risk and excitement. The range of experiences includes drift-karting, bungy-jumping, off-road drives, paintballing and Xorb-ball rides. ATVs, CFMoto UTVs and trial bikes are the options for the off-road jungle odysseys. The X-Centre is family friendly too and the facilities can be enjoyed by youngsters too, but there are age and weight restrictions applicable to each one. The X-Centre is a popular venue for birthday parties. Mini-golf and paintball target shooting add that wow factor to parties for one and all. [Read more about the extreme activities at Chiang Mai X-Centre]
Chiang Mai X-Centre: #816, Moo 1, Mae Rim-Sa Moeng Rd., T. Rim Tai, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 09:00-18:00 (Daily) | Tel: +66 53 297 700, +66 87 833 6655 | Website | Facebook | Email
A little farther along the Mae Sa Valley highway, the Gater Farm presents a once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness something available in few other locations around the world. Audiences at the Gater Farm get to see the real connection between the trainers and their crocodiles. Stunts such as the trainer putting his head in the reptile’s mouth and hitching a ride on the back of one are sure to excite. Audience members can have a souvenir photograph taken with crocodiles and feed the baby crocs at the facility’s breeding farm.
Gater Farm: #422, Moo 1, Mae Rim-Sa Moeng Rd., T. Mae Ram, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 09:00-17:30 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: 300 B | Tel: +66 53 044 299, +66 53 044 064, +66 89 956 5472
Showcasing the bonding of monkeys and humans, Mae Rim Monkey School is an interesting stop on any tour of the Mae Sa Valley attractions. Visitors get to see how a monkey school works and how the pig-tailed macaques here have been trained to work with humans. Monkey shows and the chance of a selfie photo with one of the inmates are the other highlights at Mae Rim Monkey School.
Mae Rim Monkey School: #296, Moo 1, Mae Rim-Sa Moeng Rd., T. Mae Ram, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 08:30-16:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 200 B; Child 100 B | Tel: +66 53 044 288 | Website
Mae Sa Elephant Camp is dedicated to showcasing the charms and characteristics of Thailand’s national animal. An elephant-ride is an experience most visitors enjoy at least once when in Chiang Mai and this camp is the perfect location. Tourists sit in elephant thrones (howdah) perched high on the elephants’ backs for their treks through the jungle. Other experiences here include watching elephants bathing, elephant shows and elephant training sessions.
Mae Sa Elephant Camp: Open: 07:30-15:30 (Daily) | Shows: 08:00, 09:40 and 13:30 | Entrance Fees: Adult = 250 B; Child = 150 B | Elephant Rides: 800 B/25 Minutes | Tel: +66 53 206 247-8 | Website | Facebook | Email
Mae Sa Snake Farm is a quirky facility at which tourists are able to see about 10 of the different snake species found in Thailand. King cobras and pythons are among the snakes in the collection. The more intrepid of visitors have the option of picking these species up and feeling them curl around their arms. Snake-handing shows are staged three times daily.
Mae Sa Snake Farm: #804/1, Moo 1, T. Rim Tai, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 09:00-16:00 (Daily) | Shows: 11:30, 14:15 and 15:30 | Entrance Fees: Adult 200 B; Child 100 B | Tel: +66 53 860 719, +66 85 029 1907
A relaxing location to spend a couple of hours relaxing after enjoying the valley’s peerless attractions, the cascades at Mae Sa Waterfall are linked by a stream interspersed with shallow ponds suitable for cooling dips. There are also tree-shaded picnic spots where visitors are able to enjoy the traditional Thai snacks and delicacies sold at cafés near the start of the path to the waterfall. The waterfall is inside Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.
Mae Sa Waterfall: Km. 7, Mae Rim-Sa Meong Rd., A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 08:30-17:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 100 B; Child 50 B | Tel: +66 53 210 244, +66 53 210 246 | Website | Email
There are four Orchid and Butterfly Farms at various locations in the Mae Sa Valley. Sai Nam Phueng Farm is said to be the largest, but all of them have good collections of vivid orchids and enclosures with butterflies. This farm also has a koi carp pond and some vintage cars. Butterfly and orchid souvenirs plus tasty coffee are available at Sai Nam Phueng.
Sai Nam Phueng Orchid and Butterfly Farms: #60-61, Moo 6, T. Mae Ram, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Monday-Friday) | Entrance Fees: Adult 100 B; Child 60 B | Tel: +66 53 297 152, 298 771-2
Even for those without a natural affinity for beauty and plant-life, Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden is the next best thing to heaven. The gardens sprawl over the foothills of the Mae Sa Valley and are packed with collections of indigenous Thai and international trees, plants and flowers. The Arboretum and Waterfall trails are among designated walking paths in the gardens while, since 2015, the tree-top Canopy Walkway has offered visitors alternate views of the gardens. The walkway plus the Ornamental Garden, Banana Avenue and greenhouses are the flagships of the draws here. The Arid House has collections of cactuses, agaves and other desert denizens. The Orchids and Ferns House contains hundreds of orchid species.
Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden: #100, Moo 9, T. Mae Ram, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 08:30-17:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 100 B; Child 50 B | Tel: +66 53 841 234 | Website | Email
Tiger Kingdom is one of the first attractions after taking the 1096 turnoff. Tiger Kingdom Chiang Mai is a sister of a similar establishment on southern Phuket Island and gives visitors the opportunity of interactions with these big cats. All the tigers here are reared by human trainers and are used to people. Playing with cubs and the younger adults or socialising with adult tigers are unforgettable experiences.
Tiger Kingdom: #51/1 Moo 7, T. Rim Tai, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 08:00-16:00 (Daily) | Prices: 800-5,000 B | Tel: +66 53 860 704 | Website | Facebook | Email
HOW TO GET TO MAE SA VALLEY
Highway 1096 links all the Mae Sa attractions, tourists will have to rent red songthaews, hire self-drive cars or motorcycles. 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.