Children’s Day is on the 10th of January, and is taken very seriously by Thailand’s children who get to go to their favourite destinations, stuff their faces with ice creams and candies and generally rule the roost for one day of the year. So if you are scratching your head with indecision about where to take your children, here are some popular spots for Chiang Mai’s little ones.
01 Mae Sa Valley
Mae Sa Valley, 15 or so kilometres north of Chiang Mai, has many great attractions to please the whole family.
Elephant camps can be either educational, teaching children to love animals and learn to respect them, or in some cases purely entertaining with elephants doing tricks and amusing the masses. Mae Sa Elephant Camp is open from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Show times 8 a.m., 9:40 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. 120 baht/adult and 80 baht/child, FREE for kids on Children’s Day. www.maesaelephantcamp.com.
Just a bit further is the Elephant Life Experience which is more focused on elephant conservation and education, more of a one-on-one experience, not a show for the masses, times and prices depend on you and what you want to do. www.elelife.com.
Mae Sa Snake Farm is an interesting and scary spot. Watch a show with cobras as the leading actors. Dare yourself to touch a cobra and hold an enormous python. Perfect to send pictures home! Open daily. Show times: 11:30 a.m., 2:15 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. 200 baht/adult, 100 baht/child, FREE for kids on Children’s Day. Tel: 053 860 719
Charming monkeys await you at the Monkey School. Their ability to play basketball, ride a tricycle, count, and perform other monkey tricks will have the kids giggling with glee. Open daily with shows at 11 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m., and 4:15 p.m. 200 baht/adults, 100 baht/child. Tel: 053-298-818
Looking for a more low-key day? Have a picnic and a swim at the lush Mae Sa Waterfalls, the largest waterfalls in the area, located in a National Park which has a steep 400 baht entrance fee for foreigners.
Visit the Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens nearby, a must see for photographers and plant lovers. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 40 baht/adult, 10 baht/child, 100 baht/car. www.qsbg.org.
Other attractions in the area include visiting one of the dozens of resorts, stopping off at the buffalo farm, going crazy with outdoor adventures at the X-centre
, www.chiangmai-xcentre.com, or simply driving along and stopping off at whatever interests you.
02 Chiang Mai Zoo
Spend the day learning about the animals of the world. The zoo provides the perfect atmosphere for a great day surrounded by animals, shady trees and colourful flowers.
The zoo also has a kids’ area with a playground, sand box, performing stage, exhibit hall, fish exhibit, spacious lotus pond, and a development centre. There will plenty of special activities on the day. Open daily. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. 100 baht/adult, 50 baht/child. www.chiangmaizoo.com.
03 Huay Tung Tao Lake
Drive 10 minutes out of town on the same road to the 700 Year Stadium and you will find a scenic lake. The best place to escape from downtown disturbance. Relax and stroll among nature, swim, fish, or paddle on surfboards. Enjoy a picnic on the bamboo rafts around the lake, which can be hired for a small amount. Open to visitors from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
04 Kad Suan Kaew (Central) Shopping Mall
The children’s day activity, Genius Valley, will provide kids between infants and nine with all sorts of challenges and games. There is little information about times of games at time of press, but usually the activities go on all day. Stop by, have some fun, grab a movie, do some shopping and have lunch. Located on Huay Kaew Road, you can’t miss it.
Tel: 053 224 444
05 Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo
Take a tram ride and get close-up views of predators, Savannah field creatures, and more. No need for parents to worry, the trams are very safe. The Night Safari has nature trails and a mini zoo area. While you are there check out the beautiful lake and can grab a drink. 500 baht (all inclusive) for foreigners after 6 p.m., or 100 baht before (no tram rides), and 300/50 baht for kids. Half price for Thais. www.chiangmainightsafari.com.