Located within the famous Chiang Mai Zoo, the Chiang Mai Aquarium is a modern, beautiful, and well-designed aquarium that maintains 8,000 specimens of 250 different species. It first opened its doors to the public back in year 2008 but, because of problems with its filtration system, it had to close the following day and opened again a month after. Now, it continues to draw in huge crowds ready to explore the marine underwater life featured in its premises.
The newly built aquarium in Chiang Mai was built on top of a pond replacing a much older and outdated aquarium inside the zoo. It was a result of a joint project between the Royal Thai Government and an Australian firm. The latter is to get 60% of the aquarium’s profits and has license to operate the aquarium for 20 years.
Since its opening, it has had its fair share of achievements and successes. In August 2010, 90 brown-banded Bamboo Sharks that were cared for and raised inside the aquarium were released into the wild. The aquarium also managed to hatch more than 170 sea turtles for release to the wild with the help of the Turtle Conservation Center in Sattahip.
Certainly, the Chiang Mai Aquarium is comparable to the many other beautiful Southeast Asian aquariums. It boasts of the world’s longest underwater tunnel of 133 meters, half of which is solely dedicated to freshwater habitats. Over 250 varies of species can be seen with most of them native to the country of Thailand. Aside from the spectacular coral reef collection, the Mekhong River wildlife can be seen right above your head. Some of the well-loved species include the stingrays, clownfish, lionfish, sea horses and starfishes. These all-time favorite and odd-looking species make a spectacular and worth-it trip to the aquarium most especially to the little kids. Small sections of the aquarium are dedicated to the life surrounding the Bhumidol dam, the Doi Inhanon, different mangrove habitats and life of the insects.
Unfortunately, brochures are completely written in Thai but the aquarium’s staff is more than happy to accommodate any concerns and questions about the marine life seen inside the aquarium. A smart moving platform proceeds at convenient speed so visitors wouldn’t be bumping into other people as they gaze upon the aquarium’s windows. Faster and slower-moving visitors can then move on the stable part of the pavement right beside the moving platform.
The aquarium in Chiang Mai is open daily from 8 in the morning until 6 in the evening. Entrance tickets cost 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children. These ticket prices are exclusively for visiting the aquarium only. Visitors can also purchase packaged entrance fees when paying fees to the Chiang Mai Zoo as well. It takes about 2 hours to observe everything the aquarium has to offer.
As the latest attraction of the zoo, the Chiang Mai Aquarium, with its underwater exhibit that joins both freshwater and saltwater environments, is certainly a must-visit attraction of the city. Both kids and curious adults will especially enjoy seeing how amazing underwater life can be.