6 June 2024

Thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT), more than 20 dark sky conservation areas now span the nations five regions. And that number is increasing to welcome the popularity of Astro-tourism in Thailand.

Whether you’re a seasoned astronomer or an amateur enthusiast, these curated locations promise an unforgettable astronomical experience, bringing the cosmos within reach for all. Here are the top 10 places to blow your mind with dark skies and bright stars.

SUMMIT GREEN VALLEY CHIANG MAI COUNTRY CLUB, CHIANG MAI

Amidst the idyllic landscapes of North Chiang Mai, the Summit Green Valley Chiang Mai Country Club weaves an irresistible tale of golfing splendour and celestial magic. This haven of tranquillity embraces the night sky’s cosmic spectacle, free from urban lights. Stargazers, lured by unobstructed views, traverse constellations, planets, and star clusters through their lenses. Yet, this ethereal escape transcends stargazing, transforming seamlessly into an elegant venue. A celestial symphony unfolds as meetings, seminars, and banquets intertwine with the enchanting night, leaving lasting memories under the sky‘s gleaming expanse.

Best Time to Visit: November-December

Sky quality: 19 mpsas

Facilities: open space for stargazing activities, clubhouse and hotel transfer

Call: 053-298222 and 094-764-1110

VILLA DE VIEW BOUTIQUE RESORT, CHIANG MAI

Villa De View Boutique Resort ignites enchantment with the sky through thoughtfully curated eco-tourism and astro-tourism pursuits. Immersive experiences beckon guests delving into astronomical marvels and mastering mobile phone astrophotography. As the night deepens, a captivating Cocktail Party unfolds beneath the shimmering starlit sky, with wine and drinks flowingwhile speakers from the esteemed National Astronomical Research Institute network weave mesmerizing tales of the cosmos. Here, nature’s wonders and celestial allure unite, creating an unforgettable symphony of cosmic exploration.

Best Time to Visit: October-February

Sky quality: 19 mpsas

Facilities: Eight cosy guestrooms, camping ground with shared bathrooms, café, restaurant and lobby lounge

Call: Sukij Kongthong at 081-952-1256

Sri Nan National Park, Nan. Photo by TAT

SRI NAN NATIONAL PARK, NAN

By day, venture through Nan’s breathtaking mountain valleys, embracing the vistas from Pha Chu and Doi Samer Dao viewpoints. As night falls, cast your gaze upwards to witness the mesmerizing dark sky. Perched at an altitude of 600-700 meters and free from obstructions, the park becomes a haven for astronomy enthusiasts, a place where the Milky Way paints its luminous trail across the expansive sky. Immerse yourself in celestial wonders and capture the cosmic spectacle through your lens, creating timeless memories under the pristine night canvas.

Best Time to Visit: November-December

Sky quality: 21 mpsas

Facilities: Basic lodges, camping ground with shared bathrooms and small store

Call: 093-2422-914

PUTO, Chiang Mai. Photo by TAT

PUTO, CHIANG MAI

Puto, a rustic-chic homestay in Chiang Dao District, offers an enchanting escape beneath the stars. Adhering to IDA (International Dark Sky Association) standards, the 360-degree view allows unobstructed observation, revealing the wonders of the Andromeda Galaxy on moonless, clear nights. Thoughtfully designed with large glass windows, guests can stargaze and immerse themselves in celestial phenomena from the comfort of their own beds. At Puto, dreams and the universe unite, creating an unforgettable cosmic experience.

Best Time to Visit: October

Sky quality: 20 mpsas

Facilities: A cosy lodge, with kitchen and hot shower, can accommodate four stargazers

Call: Jirathit Saard-iam at 096-880-8980

Kirimala Eco Farm, Ratchaburi. Photo by TAT

KIRIMALA ECO CAMP, RATCHABURI

A mere two-hour drive from vibrant Bangkok, Kirimala Eco Camp in Ratchaburi’s Suan Phueng District beckons urbanites to embrace nature’s tranquil embrace. Set amidst lush forests, the sprawling campsite invites visitors to relax in tents and camper vans, offering an immersive experience beneath an enchanting night sky. Pristine darkness unveils a celestial spectacle, where constellations and the ethereal Milky Way charm the naked eye. Enriching activities like Star Observation Camp, Astronomy Camp, Milky Way photography, and meteor shower gazing heighten the allure of this serene camping haven.

Best Time to Visit: October-July

Sky quality: 21 mpsas

Facilities: Camping ground with shared bathrooms, eatery, grocery store and coffee stall.

Call: Theerasak Thongwichitkul at 098-316-3868

PHA LUANG WATERFALL FOREST PARK, UBON RATCHATHANI

Tucked away in Ubon Ratchathani Province, Pha Luang Waterfall Forest Park graces the Dong Phu Lon National Reserved Forest, encompassing an area of 11,375 rai. With a network of sandstone mountain ranges, the parks star attraction is the waterfall, which is captivating during the rainy season. In winter, the waterfall recedes, unveiling a breathtaking tapestry of wildflowers on the rocky terrace, creating the enchanting Pha Luang Waterfall Wild Flower Field. The parks wide-open space, adorned with short, stunted trees, offers a perfect haven for stargazing and astrophotography, embracing optimal darkness to capture celestial wonders like the Milky Way and deep space objects.

Best Time to Visit: October-July

Sky quality: 21 mpsas

Facilities: Camping ground with rental tent and sleeping bag, food stalls and shared bathroom

Call:  080-2797459

KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK, NAKHON RATCHASIMA

Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, boasts diverse forests and abundant wildlife, offering a serene retreat for urbanites. Renowned for elephants, hornbills, waterfalls, and hiking trails, it also provides an enchanting opportunity for stargazing. With minimal light pollution due to its remote location, the park’s open spaces like Khao Rom and Lam Takhong camping grounds offer an ideal setting to marvel at the Milky Way stretching across the rainforest. A breathtaking experience, indeed.

Best Time: October-July

Sky quality: 21 mpsas

Facilities: Camping ground with share bathroom, cottages, eatery and astronomy guide

Call:  086-092-6529

Suwana Farm, Nakhon Ratchasima. Photo by TAT

SUWANA FARM, NAKHON RATCHASIMA

Suwana Farm, a nature and astronomy learning centre located north of Khao Yai National Park, captivates both novice and seasoned astronomers with its offerings. From basic stargazing to wide-angle astrophotography and deep space discussions, the centre has something for everyone. The Ing Dao observatory building and the open space have been a haven for stargazers and astronomers for over two decades, yielding numerous award-winning astrophotos. Engaging activities and workshops here include stargazing, telescope and binocular exploration of the sky, catering to both beginners and skilled enthusiasts.

Best Time: October- March

Sky quality: 21 mpsas

Facilities: 10 guestrooms with basic amenities, a stargazing open area and observatory building with telescopes

Call:  Chol Wichaidit at 081-255-4621

Ban Suan Pa Pong, Chiang Mai. Photo by TAT

BAN SUAN PA PONG DOI, CHIANG MAI

Ban Suan Pa Pong Doi, a community tourism enterprise, offers a delightful rural experience with daytime onsen soaking and invigorating hikes around Chiang Dao mountain. As night falls, a captivating celestial display awaits, featuring constellations, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters visible to the naked eye. The real treat comes as the universe unfurls above the majestic Chiang Daomountain. Local hosts are well-versed in the emerging trend of astro-tourism, eagerly sharing constellation stories and providing stargazing tips to their fortunate guests.

Best Time: October – February

Sky quality: 20 mpsas

Facilities: There are five rooms with modest amenities, five tents, a camping area, and a small grocery store.

Call:  Chol Kanokporn Wongngam at 098-778-7473 or 087-185-0040

Ao Toh Lee Vietpoint, Phang Nga. Photo by NARIT

AO TOH LEE VIEW POINT, PHANG NGA

Nestled in Takua Pa District, Phang Nga province, the mesmerizing Ao Toh Lee offers dramatic ocean vistas adorned with scattered limestone karsts in Phang Nga Bay. But it’s when night falls that the real enchantment begins. Look up to witness breathtaking nighttime sky spectacles, where the Milky Way weaves a river of light over the bay and karsts. The celestial dance of northern constellations adds to the magic, creating a harmonious symphony of nature’s grandeur and the cosmos. At Ao Toh Lee, ocean meets the stars in perfect harmony.

Best Time: November – February

Sky quality: 21 mpsas

Facilities: camping ground and small bamboo huts with shared bathrooms and grocery store

Call:  Theeraphong Tula at 062-3945646

By Thai PBS World