Baan Khun Chang Kian: Thailand’s Very Own Cherry Blossom Sanctuary

Baan Khun Chang Kian: Thailand’s Very Own Cherry Blossom Sanctuary

Never thought you could be seeing cherry blossoms in Thailand? Chiang Mai’s Baan Khun Chang Kian village will prove you wrong.

Cherry blossoms don’t exist only in Japan. In fact, you can also spot these pretty pink flowers in Korea, Taiwan, Washington DC and… Thailand? Yes, you heard us right – you can actually see cherry blossoms in Thailand, in Chiang Mai to be exact.

When visiting Chiang Mai, many tourists flock to visit the famous sacred site of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, but don’t just stop there! Located less than 20 kilometres away sits the hill tribe village of Baan Khun Chang Kian, where cooler weather and a beautiful sea of pastel pink awaits.

Baan Khun Chang Kian, or sometimes referred to as Khun Chang Kian Highland Agriculture Research Center, is run by the University of Chiang Mai’s Faculty of Agriculture. The planting of the cherry blossom trees was an attempt by the Research Centre to draw more visitors to the area. It has certainly worked – Baan Khun Chang Kian is swarmed with mostly locals and a handful of tourists, and is especially crowded during weekends in January.

Image credit: 4793641

The idea of cherry blossoms blooming in a tropical climate like Thailand’s might seem a little unbelievable to you (we totally get your scepticism), but the chilly temperatures atop the Doi Suthep mountain provide favourable conditions for these delicate pink flowers to grow.

While usually known as sakura in Japan, this species of cherry blossoms are called Wild Himalayan Cherry (Prunus Cerasoides), also known as Tiger Queen among locals. But because these cherry blossoms love the cool climate so much, it also means that you’ll only be able to encounter them during the colder season, with the period between late December to late January being cited as the best time to visit. That being said, the best time to catch them in full bloom may vary from year to year, so it’s definitely good to do your own research before planning your visit.

Image credit: Tony

Getting to Baan Khun Chang Kian is no easy feat, though. The roads leading up to the village are unpaved, extremely narrow and littered with many potholes. It is advisable that drivers with little experience in driving and little knowledge about Thai roads avoid making their own way up as it is very dangerous. In fact, local taxi drivers might not even want to drive you up there! Traffic is usually heavy from both sides, making it tough to drive up. So be mentally prepared, as there’s a big possibility that you’re going to spend a lot of time waiting in the vehicle en route to Baan Khun Chang Kian.

The best way to reach Baan Khun Chang Kian is by hiring a songthaew (red taxi trucks) from Chiang Mai City or Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Compared to regular taxis, songthaews are built to carry a larger number of passengers, so you can make your own arrangements with other travellers beforehand to share a songthaew as well as the cost. You may also choose to go on one of the organised tours from Chiang Mai if you would like a less troublesome trip.

If you get hungry while admiring the picturesque scenery, don’t worry as there are locals selling food like dark purple sweet potatoes, sai-ua (Northern Thai sausage), noodle soup and even ice-cream! Other than that, the Research Centre is also home to a variety of other plantations, including avocado, lychee, macadamia and coffee arabica. Make sure you don’t leave the place without getting a cup of coffee – many visitors have claimed that it’s a must try because of how good it is.

So there you have it – the best place to see cherry blossoms in Thailand! Maybe it’s not as extensive as Japan’s sakuras, but we promise that the view here surely doesn’t lose. So the next time you’re thinking of booking a flight to Japan to see these pretty pink flowers, why not consider travelling to Chiang Mai instead? With cool temperatures, flourishing cherry blossoms, delicious and affordable Thai food PLUS a whole lot of other plantations for you to discover, do we really need to say any more?

About Author

Brenda Poh
Brenda Poh

Brenda loves to travel and explore. She wishes to travel the world and experience living like a local as much as she can. New experiences and unfamiliar places excite her, and writing about them gives her great joy. When she’s not going on an adventure or daydreaming about exploring the world, she enjoys binge-watching Taiwan dramas, reading, going to gigs and jamming out to punk rock music.

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