I am not a fan of zoos. I have always imagine zoos to be smelly and full of noisy schoolkids. But after I visited Taronga Zoo Sydney, I find that zoos are actually quite fun.
After being “templed-out” by the never-ending temples in the Chiang Mai Old Town, I decided to head to Chiang Mai Zoo to see some animals.
Located at the foot of the hill that goes up to Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai Zoo is the first commercial zoo in northern Thailand. It houses 400 species of animals in 200-hectares of land.
Chiang Mai Zoo Admission Tickets
The admission ticket of Chiang Mai Zoo costs THB$150 for adults and THB$70 for children under 135cm. I personally feel it is pretty cheap.
However, the admission ticket does not cover Pandan House, Snow Dome and Aquarium. There are separate admission fees for these special exhibitions.
Chiang Mai Zoo Opening Hours
Chiang Mai Zoo is open daily 8.30am – 5pm.
Chiang Mai Zoo Map
I have attached a copy of Chiang Mai Zoo’s map for your reference. If you want to download a copy of this map, just right-click (press and hold on the image for handphones) and save.
Getting Around Chiang Mai Zoo
If you have the time and energy, you can walk around the zoo which should take you 4-5 hours.
If you are pressed for time or too tired to walk in the sweltering heat, you can opt to take the Tourist Bus. One round-trip of Tourist Bus costs THB$30 for adults and THB$20 for kids. You can buy Tourist Bus tickets at any of the Tourist Bus stops. Tourist Bus tickets bought at different stops are differentiated by colored tickets, so don’t think you can just buy one ticket and use it on unlimited rides.
The driver will provide some commentary, but everything is in Thai. I don’t understand a word of Thai, I just ride the open-air trams to get from one station to the next.
Chiang Mai Zoo Highlights
Besides seeing the 400 species of animals, Chiang Mai Zoo offers some special highlights.
One of the main reasons why I wanted to visit Chiang Mai Zoo is because I wanted to see the pandas. Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang are loaned to Chiang Mai Zoo for 10 years.
The admission ticket to the Panda House is THB$100 for adults and THB$50 for kids.
There is “panda feeding” at 1pm and 3pm. I thought “panda feeding” meant I get to feed the pandas. I actually returned a second time (and paid the admission ticket again) because I just missed the panda feeding when I came the first time. But it turned out that “panda feeding” just means watching as the pandas munch happily on the bamboo.
The multi-million baht Panda House was built to simulate the cool mountain climate of their natural habitat. Besides seeing the cute pandas, the air-conditioned Panda House is also the perfect place to cool down in the relentless heat.
Amazing Animal Presentation
The Amazing Animal Presentation is free to watch. The show timings are 11am and 3pm on weekdays and 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm on weekends.
You will get to see parrots, pigs, otter, pelicans and other animals perform tricks. The commentary is all in Thai language so I don’t understand a word, but it’s pretty nice to watch. You will also get a chance to take photographs with the colorful parrots after the show.
I have experienced real snow many time so I don’t see the point of paying money to go into the Snow Dome to see fake snow.
The ticket for Snow Dome is THB$150 for adults and THB$100 for children.
There are various timings for the Snow Dome, around every 40 minutes starting from 9.45am.
I have visited aquariums before and I am not exactly a fan of marine animals. Plus, the THB$500 admission ticket is a little steep.
The Seal Show was not available due to closure maintenance on the day I visited.
The Seal Show is free for all to watch and the timings are 10.30am and 2pm on weekdays and 10.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm on weekends.
This is my favorite part of Chiang Mai Zoo where I can get close and personal with many animals.
Don’t make the same mistake I did by thinking that “panda feeding” means you get to physically feed the pandas, you just watch as the pandas feed themselves.
The feeding spots are denoted by “turf of grass” sign on the Chiang Mai Zoo map. You will be able to feed up to 10 animals, including giraffes, goats, sambar deers (I saw one in Horton Plains National Park in Sri Lanka), rhinoceros and many more. There is no additional charge for feeding animals, you just have to buy the animal feed which costs THB$10 per serving.
Chiang Mai Zoo is totally underrated and deserves a spot on everyone’s itinerary. You can get close to the animals and feed quite a few. I would totally come again if only for the animal feeding.
Chiang Mai Zoo
Address: 100 Huaykaew Road, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai, Chang Wat, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Telephone: +66 53-210-374
Opening Hours: Daily 8.30am – 5pm