The beautiful Himalayan Cherry Blossoms

by FieryTree on January 26, 2015 · 8 comments

Post image for The beautiful Himalayan Cherry Blossoms

Anyone would agree that Thailand is much cheaper to live in than Japan but does it have sakuras? Turns out the answer is “YES” but here they go by a slightly more exotic name, “Tiger Queen”.

To get to these light pink beauties requires about an hour drive outside of Chiang Mai, winding up the mountain, passed the Doi Suthep temple and climbing still to Khun Chang Khain, the Highland Agricultural Research Centre. There the grounds are decorated with the beautiful wild Himalayan Cherry blossoms.

Our small group choose to hire a songtaew after our usually taxi driver wanted a much higher price to avoid the narrow winding road used to access the Centre. We read people calling the road scary and dangerous, citing accidents, but our songtaew driver “Mr. Cats” (who illustrated his name by holding up his hands as if claws) weaved with the best of them to allow a random sequence of two-way traffic on the tiny road.

We arrived to a lovely sea of pink and dove in taking photos of the delicate flowers. The air was cooler at that higher altitude, the sky clear, and the smell of exhaust had faded so each breath filled our lungs with cool, fragrant air. It was a welcome change!

The Centre grounds were moderately busy with other travelers but a quick walk up the road put more distance between us and allowed for exploration of the coffee beans grown on site and photos with the soaring pink trees. It was a peaceful morning that even the dust and exhaust fumes on the way down couldn’t tarnish.

If you are in town, check out these delicate creatures soon! They boom through January and a bit into February and are definitely worth the hike! Check below for more visitor tips.

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Visitor tips –
  • Best viewing is through January.
  • Go during the week.
  • There are food stalls setup on the side of the road and at the Centre, as well as the locally grown coffee.
Visiting –
  • Plan for at least an hour drive each way.
  • By Songtaew – Ask them to take you to see the pink flowers and they are likely to know what you are talking about (find a “seasoned” driver). Our group paid 1500 Baht for our day from about 8:30-2pm and we were picked up and dropped off at Maya Mall. [There are probably better and worst prices to be had.]
    • If you cannot find a willing songtaew in town, go up to Doi Suthep and look for songtaews advertising the pink flowers.
  • Driving – Keep in mind you will be forced to pull over to let other vehicles pass and if you have too low a profile you may get stuck. The road is pitted too so plan on a slow trip.
    • If going by scooter, also consider that the road is steep (especially getting up to Doi Suthep) but definitely passable.
Web resource –
 Example of one-way lane and what happens if car’s profile is too low –

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Sampling of the Thursday morning crowd –

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Connect with me in the comments –

Have you had a chance to see Cherry Blossoms?

If you’re too busy, leave me a thumbs up or down!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen January 26, 2015 at 11:17 pm

This had to be so much better in person! Lucky you for getting the experience.

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2 FieryTree February 18, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Hi Karen! It was wonderful in person! So nice to be out of the city and in cooler air surrounded by beautiful flowers!

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3 Renee February 10, 2015 at 8:25 am

I can see why people make the trek up there to see those flowers. They are stunning! You and James have some really great photos!

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4 FieryTree February 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Thank you Renee! It was definitely worth the hike! Our friend went about a week later and said they’d already started to fall, so short-lived but beautiful!

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5 Jess December 31, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Love your photographs. Do you have any idea whether there is any hotel up in the mountain to stay overnight?

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6 FieryTree January 1, 2016 at 5:22 am

Hi Jess, thank you.
I do not believe there are any hotels on Doi Suthep, (they have very poor marketing if one does exist)! This particular area where we saw the cherry blossoms is pretty unpopulated.
If you just wanted to stay in the mountains, I would recommend Doi Inthanon.

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7 Jess January 1, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Happy New Year!

I look through Internet, stating there isn’t any agency organising tour up to see cherry blossom? Need to get cab on my own?

Do you know any blog or website that keep track of timing for cherry blossom?

Reply

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