Best cherry blossoms in Thailand

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (1) - Chiang Rai in January
Image adapted from: Changrai Times

When it comes to hunting down the pastel pink flurries called sakura that our IG dreams are made of, Japan holds the key. But that doesn’t mean we have to stave off all things good until we save up for an air ticket across the South China Sea because we can have a sakura-themed holiday right here in Thailand.

If you’re looking for a nearby vacay to escape the sweltering heat and tick new experiences off your bucket list, here are 10 viable cherry blossom hunting grounds you’ll want to travel out of BKK for.

Check out our other cold holiday ideas in Thailand:

Chiang Mai

1. Khun Chang Khian Highland Agriculture Research Centre

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (2) - Khun Chang Khian Highland Agriculture Research Centre
Image credit: @ku8a

Sporting a sister variety of the sakura called the Wild Himalayan Cherry or the “Tiger Queen” amongst locals, Khun Chang Khian is a pink wonderland tucked away amid Suthep-Pui Mountain, just an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai’s airport.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (3) - Khun Chang Khian cherry blossoms
Image credit: @ariyarid

The journey by songthaew (pick-up truck) – a common mode of transportation up the mountain – will take you a bumpy 40 minutes but the view up top is so convincing, you’ll momentarily forget you’re even in Thailand.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (4) - Strawberry picking at Khun Chang Khian
Strawberry picking at the farms.
Image credit: @shane2080

And if you’ve more time to spare, the Hmong villages atop the mountain hide a couple of authentic coffee houses and even strawberry farms for you to literally reap the fruits of your labour and pick your own punnet for the journey home.

TSL Traveller Tip: Don’t miss out on the local delicacies like the sai-ua (northern Thai sausages) and dark purple sweet potatoes.

Khun Chang Khian
Address: Huai Kaeo Road | Suthep Subdistrict, Chiang Mai, Thailand

2. Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Station

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (5) - Ang Khang cherry blossoms

Image credit: @rawang.thang

Not only will you get to bask under full cherry blossom branches, but you’ll also get to enjoy a taste of winter with temperatures in Ang Khang dropping to as low as -3ºC at night!

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (6) - Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Station
Image credit: @aom_amp

Standing at 1,400 meters above sea level with cool weather all year round and sprawled out over 318.24 hectares, the Royal Agricultural Station is one of the most magnificent garden parks in all of Thailand with its painstakingly manicured grounds home to a wide variety of highland crops, flowers, and temperate fruits – cherry blossoms being their seasonal highlight.

Entry to the park will set you back ฿50 per person and an additional ฿50 per car if you’re making the drive up, but we recommend allocating at least a full day to explore all 318.24 hectares of the grounds and take in all the beauty that is around you.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (7) - Mon Sone View Point
Mon Sone View Point. Image credit: @viewfinder_thailand

For more adventure, bring along your camping gear and spend a night atop the mountain at the Mon Sone View Point.

The Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang
Address: 1 Moo 5, Mae Ngon Subdistrict, Fang City 50320, Thailand
Opening hours: 9AM-5PM, Daily
Website

3. Khun Mae Ya

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (8) - Khun Mae Ya
Image credit: Pai Let’s Go!

Even though it’s rather morbid, we can thank a fire breaking out on Khun Mae Ya for the cherry blossoms we have today. The now-thriving pine and cherry forest make for a great spot to camp overnight in the presence of Chiang Mai’s wildlife.

Getting to the site is a 3-hour mountain drive through Routes 108 and 3033 from Chiang Mai airport, so you’ll need to plan the journey well ahead to pitch your tent before dark. As day turns to night, it’s a brilliant location to recharge and spend time with nature under the cherry trees as you look through the canopy of flowers into a starry sky.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (9) - Khun Mae Ya campsite
Khun Mae Ya campsite
Image credit: @nokty_airline

TSL Traveller Tip: Prepare to bring food along as there are limited facilities through the night if you get hungry. If you do, rent a charcoal stove from park management, make use of water taps within the grounds and visit the nearby grocery shop for instant noodles and coffee if you’re hungry for a midnight snack, but strictly no campfires allowed lest a repeat fire!

4. Khun Wang Royal Agricultural Research Centre

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (10) - Khun Wang Royal Agricultural Research Centre
Image credit: @hisundays

Khun Wang is the second royal agricultural project on the list. Also worthy of royalty are its hill sakura, which grow to a deep shade of pink during full bloom along the slopes of Doi Inthanon National Park.

And don’t just prepare your cameras and phones for the trip up, aside from the cherry trees, Doi Inthanon is also home to many fruits – Chinese pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, and strawberries – all of which are free for picking and tasting!

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (11) - Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon National Park.
Image credit: @j.n_world

If you prefer your flora with fauna, take the time to do some bird watching to spot some of the many species of birds flitting from tree to tree. The centre also has 4 guest houses, perfect for groups of 4-8 visitors, in case you’re looking to spend more than just a few hours surrounded by nature.

Royal Agricultural Centre (Khun Wang)
Address: M.12 | Mae Win Subdistrict, Mae Wang 50360, Thailand
Opening hours: 8AM-4PM, Daily

Chiang Rai

5. Phu Lom Lo

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (12) - Phu Lom Lo
Image credit: @mixrinho

It’s easy to see why the mountain of Phu Lom Lo was once used as a military base from the sheer size of Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park stretching 1,200 hectares, covering the provinces of Phitsanulok, Loei, and Phetchabun. With more than 100,000 cherry trees peppering its plains, there’s no limit to the number of beautiful pictures you’ll be able to take.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (13) - Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
Image credit: @aoftine

Be sure to layer up – the mountain does get a fair bit of wind on top of the 4-8ºC temperature in the early mornings.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (14) - Man Daeng Waterfall in Phu Hin Rong Kla
Man Daeng Waterfall in Phu Hin Rong Kla
Image credit: @weirdkaewie

Apart from flowers, there are plenty of other natural wonders like caves and waterfalls within the park itself, providing nature lovers with plenty to do. And while swimming in the winter months isn’t advisable, you can always plan a trip back in the summer months between May and September!

Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
Address: Kok Sathon, Dan Sai 42120, Thailand

6. Doi Chang

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (15) - Doi Chang
Image credit: Changrai Times

Catching the cherry trees in full bloom is a rare affair, and it’s even rarer to catch a large number of them blooming at the same time. So, if your motto is “Go Big or Go Home“, then the 500,000 sakura trees up in Doi Chang will increase your chances of sighting them!

While you’re here, visit the Chiang Rai Highland Agricultural Extension Centre, where poppies, petunias and begonias proliferate – great for flower lovers who haven’t got their fill. They’re grown for experimental purposes – think Frankenstein, but in a pleasant flower form – which you can frolic amidst Mary Poppins-style with no judgement thanks to the low-key location.

TSL Traveller Tip: Don’t leave Doi Chang without a taste of their world famous arabica coffee!

7. Doi Pha Tang

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (16) - Doi Pha Tang cherry blossoms
Image credit: @yaiibua

Get into the tribal mood 2 hours away from Chiang Rai at Doi Pha Tang, which is home to several native Chinese minority villages all within walking distance of each other. And if you’re wondering why this is important, it’s because the cherry blossoms line the mountain roads between the villages.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (17) - Doi Pha Tang
Image credit: @noipoloi

And if you’ve had enough of tom yum and boat noodles, you can always get your Chinese food fix at one of the nearby Yunnan restaurants or sample fresh local apricots, peaches and Chinese pears at one of the roadside fruit stalls.

8. Phu Chi Fah

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (19) - Phu Chi Fah cherry blossoms
Image credit: @cchinpat

To catch a glimpse of the landscape spanning Thailand and Laos, Phu Chi Fah or “mountain pointing to the sky” is an ideal spot with its breathtaking views from high above the ground.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (20) - View from Phu Chi Fah
Image credit: @backpackaholic

Cherry trees line the peak of Phu Chi Fah, with green gradually yielding to pink as you make your way to the top.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (21) - Phu Chi Fah night sky
Image credit: @papae_foto

And whether you’re an early riser or a nocturnal owl, the peak is where you’ll be able to catch two things:

1) The best view of the sunrise in all of Thailand
2) Thousands of stars contrasting a jet black sky

9. Doi Mae Salong

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (22) - Sinakarintra Stit Mahasantikhiri Pagoda in Doi Mae Salong
Sinakarintra Stit Mahasantikhiri Pagoda.
Image credit: @shogo_gondo

Dubbed as a miniature Yunnanese Shangri-La because of its strong ties to Southern Chinese culture, the view of the mountains here is comparable to Sapa in Vietnam, except without the tiresome hiking.

Don’t like leaving your trip to chance? Then the Doi Mae Salong Tea & Sakura Festival that runs from 28th Dec – 2nd Jan will almost guarantee you a mountain full of whitish pink cherry blossoms in bloom. These are also known as the rare Dok Nang Phaya Suea Khrong, a species of blossoms rarely spotted in Thailand because of the cold climate required for its growth.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (23) - View from Doi Mae Salong
Image credit: @jhane7

Not only does the festival celebrate the fleeting beauty of the sakura, it also gives recognition to Doi Mae Salong’s thriving production of oolong tea – said to be some of the best in the world! Catch cultural performances from ethnic groups, taste Thailand’s best teas, and buy handicraft and items made by local tribes during the festival.

Sinakarintra Stit Mahasantikhiri Pagoda
Address: Mae Salong Nok, Mae Fa Luang 57110, Thailand

Nan

10. Khun Sathan National Park

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (24) - Khun Sathan National Park cherry blossoms
Image credit: @nnamchr

Cherry blossoms flourish in Khun Sathan because of its high altitude and abundance of water, with many rivers and streams. The best place to view these blossoms is from the Water Source Research Station – just 2km from the main office.

Best cherry blossoms in Thailand (25) - Pha Nang Khoi Cave in Khun Sathan National Park
Image credit: makalu57

Or if you’d like to get an authentic Bruce Wayne experience sans bats, visit Pha Nang Khoi Cave where you can view the mesmerising stalagmites and stalactites and an internal stream within the 1.8-kilometre cave.

Khun Sathan National Park
Address: Na Noi 55150, Thailand

Tick cherry blossoms off your bucket list without venturing far

Sakura season in Thailand varies depending on annual climate, but odds are full bloom happens between late December to February and sometimes even March if temperatures have been soaring throughout the year

Regardless of which site you’re visiting on this list, it’s always a great idea to do your research and preparation before visiting. That way, you’ll be able to maximise your likelihood of catching the cherry trees in all their budding glory.


This post originally written by Alex Tan for The Smart Local Singapore in collaboration with Amazing Thailand.