As Sakura season approaches, I’m sure many are looking forward to witnessing the spectacular blooming of Cherry flowers in Japan. Yet, a trip to Japan during this peak period can be costly, like really really costly. However, do not feel dejected just yet as I have wonderful news for you!
Cherry blossoms don’t exist only in Japan. In fact, you can actually see cherry blossoms in Thailand! Yes, you heard us right. Thailand, to be more specific, Chiang Mai now has it’s very own Cherry Blossom Forest! Now, you don’t have to travel far to catch the blooming pink petals, hurray! I can safely assure you that cherry blossoms in Thailand are just as beautiful and a much more affordable option.
Read also: Khao Yai, the Hidden Gem in Thailand
Khun Chang Khian Highland Agriculture Research Centre, Chiang Mai
Located just an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai’s airport lies Khun Chang Khian Highland Agriculture Research Centre, a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to admire the vibrant shades of pink blossoms and green trees against a backdrop of rolling hills. Khun Chang Khian is surrounded by the picturesque Doi Suthep-Pui National Park and offers plenty of fresh air, stunning views and of course, aromatic coffee freshly brewed with coffee beans obtained from the nearby coffee plantation. The ethnic Hmong hill tribe village is part of the Highland Agricultural Research Center, run by the University of Chiang Mai.
Around January and February each year, visitors flock to this pink wonderland to witness the Wild Himalayan Cherry trees in bloom, which turns the hillsides into a blazing pink landscape.
Also known as “Nang Phaya Sua Krong” or “Tiger Queens” by the locals, these elegant flower species are unique to Chiang Mai. This is because of the cool weather which plays a major role in producing these beautiful wonders of nature. Originally found in Himalayan Mountains, these beautiful flowers gradually spread into mountainous territories of Northern Thailand, most notably Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Pro tip: There’s a designated camping ground where you can set up a tent and enjoy the simple pleasure of spending time under a Sakura tree.
Read also: Travel Guide to Hua Hin, Thailand
How to get to Khun Chang Khian
Khun Chang Kian is a village that sits on the other side of the mountain ridge above Chiang Mai, situated in a narrow rutted road that makes it difficult to access. While it isn’t far from town, the transportation options offered are pretty limited. There are mainly two options.
If you have experience with motorbikes, I would recommend going by motorbike as it is a much faster option. You would first need to climb the road to Doi Suthep then onto Khun Chang Khian. However, as the way up to the Agricultural Centre is rather steep, please exercise caution and pick a good motorbike that can go up steep hills easily.
Another option you could consider would be to take one of the shared pickup trucks aka the red truck, which can be found about a third of the way in on the road coming from Phuping Palace at the end of the Doi Suthep road. This is definitely an easier and more comfortable way to access Khun Chang Kian but they will most likely wait until the truck is full before driving there. So be prepared to wait!
As the global climate gets increasingly unpredictable in recent years, it is pretty difficult to accurately predict the Sakura Season. As such, to ensure that you maximise your chance of witnessing the Cherry Trees bloom in all their glory, be sure to do thorough research beforehand. Off you go!