The majestic Doi Suthep Mountain overlooks Chiang Mai Zoo in Northern Thailand. Established in 1977, this privately operated zoo covers an area measuring 212.4 acres and is one of the most popular Chiang Mai attractions. The verdant forest and gardens serve as an inviting habitat for an assortment of animals from all over the world. The zoo features giant pandas, koalas, Humboldt penguins, Cape Fur seals, rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, elephants, and other magnificent animals.
The Nakornping garden, a true birdwatcher’s paradise, features 800 varieties of birds. On another section of the zoo is the Aquatic Park where visitors can view endemic and rare species of fish through a long aquatic tunnel. Among the 2,000 species of marine and aquatic flora and fauna are the Mekong giant catfish and Siamese giant carp.
The Chiang Mai Zoo features a daily animal show at no extra charge. The shows feature seals and other animals in the zoo and allow limited interaction between the audience and some of the animals. There is a snow dome adjacent to the panda enclosure that has a simulated winter environment for visitors who want to see and frolic in the snow. The whole family will surely enjoy the adventure zone where luge cars pass through various displays about the prehistoric environment. There is also a separate children’s zoo with a development centre, animal exhibit area, lotus ponds, and playground.
The Chiang Mai Zoo is located right after the Chiang Mai University along Huay Keow Road in the Muang district. International visitors pay a general admission fee of around AUD$ 3.00 for adults and AUD$ 1.52 for children. The Panda Park enclosure, Snow Dome, Aquatic Park, and the Adventure Zone also charge separate entrance fees. The Chiang Mai Zoo is open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Another attraction, the Chiang Mai Twilight Zoo, features nocturnal animals and opens daily from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. These attractions can be reached very cheaply and easily from most of the cheap Chiang Mai accommodation in the area.