Most of us know Thailand for its exquisitely decorated temples, it’s delicious street food, and it’s romantic beaches. In the city of Chiang Mai however, is a special secret. Art in Paradise is an illusory delight for art lovers and big kids alike. Join me on my day trip to one of the most unique attractions in Chiang Mai!
When it’s monsoon season and pouring with rain, finding a fun indoor attraction can sound like a challenge in a country famed for its many outdoor activities. Once you know about Art in Paradise however, staying inside is definitely no longer a problem!
What is Art in Paradise?
Art in Paradise is an immersive art gallery featuring illusory works depicting a variety of scenes including underwater and nature scenes, popular characters, famous historic artworks, iconic locations around the world, and unique, entertaining scenes.
Directions to Art in Paradise
Just outside the city walls near the Ping River, Art in Paradise is a short and easy walk just 10 minutes from the Night Bazaar. From the east side of the old city walls at Tha Phae Gate, head straight along Tha Phae road until you reach the crossroads with Chang Klan Road where you should turn right onto that street. There should be a few banks and ATMs behind you with temples up ahead. Continue on for around 15 minutes past the Night Bazaar until you reach Art in Paradise, you can’t miss it thanks to big sign out the front! If you don’t feel like walking, one of the many tuk tuks can take you there in under 5 minutes, but make sure you’re getting a decent price.
How much does Art in Paradise cost?
Entry to Art in Paradise is 400 baht (around £8). For such a low price it’s well worth the money as you can really spend a whole day exploring and entertaining yourself here. While Thailand has many wonderful attractions, this was by far one of the most unique and entertaining of them all! I’d definitely consider it a must-do activity in Thailand.
How long should I spend at Art in Paradise?
As long as you like! The day I visited was rainy so we spent all day exploring and indulging in the fun scenes and creating the most entertaining photos. Being such a large space, we often if not mostly had all the space to ourselves throughout the gallery.
Is Art in Paradise worth visiting?
Art in Paradise changes the way you think about traditional artwork. The modern twist on classic works, landscapes and ideas was that you, the viewer are IN the work of art, and using tricks of the eye and optical illusion it was like being in an adults playground. I cannot stress enough how worth it visiting Art in Paradise is. We spent about 4 hours there in total and loved every second. We took far too many photos, so only a selection have been chosen for viewing!
Artworks you can see at Art in Paradise
As you enter you’re greeted by a cheeky Mona Lisa grinning at you (what a surprise!) before finding yourself in a spacious foyer, a hint of the artworks to come covering the wall ahead. There is a cafe, restrooms, and cloakroom on the ground floor, so all the necessessities are easily located if you’re planning to spend the whole day.
Additionally, the ground floor also introduces you to the works you can expect to see, with a quaint French scene guiding you towards the escalators and stairs up to the main gallery space.
At the entrance we were welcomed by a familiar face… Olaf from the movie Frozen! This snowglobe illusion got us instantly excited, we couldn’t wait to see what else was in store.
We moved on to the first main gallery space, this time dedicated to the ocean, water creatures, and all things under the sea.
We then moved on to a gallery space filled with wildlife from the land, and walked around iconic landmarks from across the world. The highly realistic and vibrant artworks covering the walls and floors are an incredible feast for the eyes, we couldn’t get enough!
One of my favourite things about the art works is how immersive it all is. You can go from simply touching the works to full on crawling inside and climbing on top of the works!
Putting visitors literally in the art itself really adds to the tricks your eyes play on you. The clever warped perspectives are mind-boggling and so much fun. It’s certainly easy to spend a whole day exploring the many rooms in the gallery!
Around the most popular works are helpful guides to taking the photos, including where to stand and how to rotate after you’ve snapped your picture!
Feeling like a big kid in a playground, we ran around getting stuck in and getting into the best poses and positions and taking quite literally hundreds of photos! The best way to see some of the works, in my opinion, is through video to get a real taste of the warped illusions.
My favourite thing about the gallery is that every turn is a new surprising adventure. You’ll be battling crocodiles in one room, and the next you’ll be a part of history in classic works with a unique twist. It really opened my mind to what we consider to be “art” – these didn’t have the artists name or works’ title next to each piece, they were there for the pure enjoyment of the visitor. It meant I came away with more reflective thoughts and creative inspiration than I expected, with a new take on familiar sights and artworks I felt that I could appreciate the purely aesthetic pleasures of art!
Art in Paradise is amazing. If you’re not able to visit Chiang Mai, they also have gallery spaces in Bangkok and Pattaya too! It’s a great activity for families in Thailand (and for friends!), and is totally worth dedicating some time away from temple hopping and markets to enjoy this unforgettable and must-do Chiang Mai experience right in the heart of the city. The photos I’ve taken here are just a taste of the many, many interactive artworks to enjoy, you’ll really have to see it for yourself to see how great it is!
Stop off at the Night Bazaar after
After a tiring day feeling like artistes, we headed to our favourite spot in Chiang Mai for one last browse… the Night Bazaar! A bit of last minute bartering and spending resulted in a couple of nifty souvenirs, and we were done. We turned in for the night having had an awesome day of Thai life, a last Pad Thai and being tourists.
This was to be my last night in Thailand after 6 months non-stop travel, so it was strange to finally be packing up and sleeping in a dorm for the last time (for a while). After so long away, part of me was excited for bed, comforts, Netflix, you know, normality. But I know as much as I was shattered and probably ready to move on, I was not ready to go home!
Would you enjoy Art in Paradise? What would be your favourite part? Tell me about your unique art gallery experiences!