The rosy pink blooms of cherry blossom season are not reserved for East Asian destinations like Japan and South Korea. Thanks to its cooler climate and higher altitude, Chiang Mai puts on its own spectacular show of dusky pink flowers from the end of December until mid-February. While the peak of the blossom season varies slightly from year to year, January is typically the best time to head up north and make the most of the blush pink flowers. Bear in mind, the best viewing spots tend to get quite busy during weekends in January, so it’s worth factoring that into your travel plans.
Top spots for Cherry Blossom Viewing in Chiang Mai
Get into prime position for some sensational snaps of sakura flowers at Chiang Mai’s Khun Chang Khian Highland Agricultural Research Centre. Situated at the top of Doi Suthep Mountain, this viewing site is the closest to town, and offers a flowery feast for the eyes. Arabica coffee beans are also grown at the centre, so be sure to grab yourself a brew at one of the small stalls. You can also tie in a visit with the temple Wat Phra That Soi Suthep if you want to make a whole day out of your visit.
Another top spot to put on your cherry blossom viewing itinerary is Khun Wang Royal Agricultural Research Centre, nestled within Doi Inthanan National Park. You can stroll beneath a rosy canopy of blooms and take all the selfies your heart desires. There’s also the opportunity to check out other seasonal fruits at the Centre, including Chinese pears, plums and peaches. The centre is open from 8am until 4pm daily.
If you don’t mind travelling a little further afield, Doi Ang Khang is a three to four-hour drive away, and overs spectacular views across a fluffy pink blanket of blossoms.
Getting to the gardens
Many of the roads leading up and out of town to the prime cherry blossom viewing sites are narrow and unpaved. As such, the most efficient way to reach the best gardens are via songthaew from the city centre. If you want to take all the stress out of planning a trip out of the city, you can also book onto a packaged day tour of the region’s best cherry blossom sites, which usually includes a visit to some local villages and waterfalls.