An eclectic and off-the-beaten-path spot you should definitely visit in Chiang Mai is The Erotic Garden. Sound interesting?
The Erotic Garden is a beautiful garden and teahouse owned, operated and created by a friendly, and extremely progressive, woman named p’Katai. The Erotic Garden is about 35 minutes outside of Chiang Mai city. If you’re a tourist, the best way to get there is to use the Grab app and order a Grab from wherever you are staying. You can certainly take a motorbike to the garden, but it’s too far of a ride for my liking to motorcycle to.
The entry fee for the garden is 300 baht ($9 USD) and it includes a coffee, hot tea or iced tea. I had the Erotic Garden specialty iced tea, which was a Butterfly Pea tea. The owner said it was a “special tea,” I’m not sure what that meant, but I assumed that meant it was an aphrodisiac? Who knows – but it was delicious!
When you arrive you’re greeted by a three penis water fountain that leads you into the garden, which is full of plants, flowers, sculptures, purposefully landscaped land and statues that display images of both the male and female bodies.
Katai was kind enough to give us bottles of water, parasols to keep us shaded, and a guided tour of the garden. The first plant we saw was a flower preparing to bloom because it looked just like a penis. We ended up having a conversation about how crazy it is that people are taught to be uncomfortable and quiet about something as natural as the human body. As an older Thai woman, it’s shocking to see her have this progressive view of the naked body, but it makes for wonderful conversation. The idea is to push people to think beyond what society has conditioned them to think. She wants people to understand that the human body is beautiful, and it’s certainly something to be celebrated.
With the help of local art students and a dream to normalize the naked body the Erotic Garden thrives and it makes you think. If you’ve got a few hours to spare and you’re looking to get out of the city, I 10/10 would recommend visiting The Erotic Garden. You won’t be disappointed!