What to Expect at the Chiang Mai Zoo, Thailand

A peacock at Chiang Mai Zoo | © Dennis Jarvis/Flickr
A peacock at Chiang Mai Zoo | © Dennis Jarvis/Flickr
Photo of Iona Proebst
18 September 2017

A visit to the Chiang Mai Zoo guarantees a fun day out for the whole family! You’ll see animals from all around the world as well as some of northern Thailand’s most famous residents, including gibbon monkeys.

Chiang Mai Zoo is situated at the base of Doi Suthep mountain in lush 200-acre grounds. The zoo started from humble beginnings when Harold Mason Young, the son of American missionaries, started helping injured animals. Visitors began coming to see the animals he was caring for, which prompted him to open the site to the public in 1957. The zoo was officially taken over by the Zoological Park Organization under the patronage of the King of Thailand and opened as the first commercial zoo of northern Thailand in 1977.

Giraffe & monks | © Warren Talbot/Flickr

Entrance cost and dining options

Basic entrance tickets to the Chiang Mai Zoo are 150 Thai Baht ($4.50 USD) for adults and 70 Thai Baht ($2.11 USD) for children under 135 centimetres in height. An additional 30 Thai Baht ($0,90 USD) applies for those who wish to take the transportation option rather than walking around the vast complex. To visit the Panda House, Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium and Snow Dome also costs extra. There are numerous food options available on site serving both Thai and international dishes, with plenty of options for the kids. A number of other restaurants are also nearby including Krua Sillapacheep and Huen Huay Keaw Restaurant. To help navigate your way around the Chiang Mai Zoo follow the handy map that you’ll be given at the entrance.

Entrance to Chiang Mai Zoo | © Casey Grove/Flickr

The animals

The Chiang Mai Zoo is home to over 400 animal species including koalas, penguins, seals, hippos, flamingos, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, camels, lions, tigers, Barbary sheep, Malayan tapir, a bunch of different reptiles and the only rhino in Thailand. The zoo also has two elephants and three giant pandas named Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang and their daughter Lin Bing – they have become rather famous through their live webcam. Other special attractions of the zoo are a walk-through aviary, a freshwater aquarium and a snow dome. Many of the exhibits let visitors get up close and personal with animals from all around the world, you’ll also get the chance to feed a few. Conservation and education are at the forefront of the zoo’s priorities and the animals are well cared for.

One of the pandas at Chiang Mai Zoo | © Casey Grove/Flickr

What’s nearby

Once you are done exploring the zoo you might like to cool off and dip your toes in the nearby Huay Kaew Waterfalls or head up to Wat Doi Suthep to watch the sunset over the city.

Opening Hours: 8.00 am – 6.00 pm

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