Where to stay in Chiang DaoChiang Dao Nest: Although more expensive than the average bamboo hut in Northern Thailand, a night at Chiang Dao Nest will hardly break the bank at around 400 baht per person and you’re in for a really wonderful experience! The food here is awesome too. Chiang Dao Nest 2: You can also try the slightly less exclusive but equally as friendly Nest 2 Resort. Chiang Dao Hut Resort is also a good option for accommodation. To search for accommodation in Chiang Dao, Click Here!
Things to do in Chiang Dao
1. Find your inner twitter (Bird Watching)No, we’re not talking about the popular social networking site here, we’re talking about old style birdwatching. Chiang Dao is an absolute haven for birdwatching as it is home to over 300 species of tropical birds, most notably the Giant Nuthatch and Hume’s Pheasant – guaranteed to make twitters go wild! The higher you go up the mountain of Doi Chang, the more species you are likely to spot.
2. Visit Chiang Dao Cave and TempleThe famous Chiang Dao cave is a 12 km chamber filled with impressive stalactites. The fee is 20 baht which goes towards lighting the cave with electricity so you can see where you’re going! There’s also a Buddhist Temple nearby which is worth a visit.
3. Trek to the Summit of Doi Chiang Dao:Treks can be organised from many of the guesthouses where you can book a guide to lead you through the jungle and up the third highest mountain in Thailand. Treks last two days with a taking in a sunrise summit or you can complete the climb in just one day.
4. Treat yourself to a delicious meal at Chiang Dao Nest:This mini resort is raved about by travel reviewers and rightly so! Set in a beautiful location, serving some of the best food in Northern Thailand (so some would say!) the Chiang Dao Nest really does live up to its reputation.
5. Soak in the Hot Springs:Pong Arng Hot Springs is definitely worth a visit while you’re in Chiang Dao, located just 3 minutes away in Pha Daeng National Park. Entrance is 100 THB per person for foreigners or 20 THB for Thais.
6. Explorations on a Scooter:The scenery in this part of Thailand is nothing short of spectacular and if you are exploring the area by scooter you are in for a treat! Heading off on the highway it isn’t long before the markets and shops thin and you find yourself in the mountains in the middle of nowhere chilling with the hill tribes.
7. Chiang Dao to Pai via Wiang Haeng on dirt bikes:In the dry season, there is a fantastic route which can be done from Chiang Dao to Pai through an extremely local village called Wiang Haeng. The scenery on the road from Chiang Dao to Wiang Haeng is some of the best we have ever seen in Northern Thailand with vast mountain scenery and misty forests. From Wiang Haeng there’s a 60-kilometre dirt track to Pai that is best done in dry season on a dirt bike suitable for rugged terrain. It cannot be done in the wet season on a Honda Click… believe us we tried!
How to get to Chiang DaoIndependently: Chiang Dao is around an hour and a half to two hours (72km) directly north of Chiang Mai on a bus along Highway 107 to Fang. To get there, take the fan-only orange bus from Chang Puak Station in Chiang Mai (the bus will terminate in Mae Ai). The fare should be around 50 baht. Or, you can take a minibus which will be a bit more expensive, around 150 baht. If you’re feeling adventurous, hire a scooter in Chiang Mai and ride north to Chiang Dao, watching as the scenery gets more impressive as you drive north. Take a day trip: If you haven’t got time to spend the night in Chiang Dao, you can visit the national park, cave and hot springs on a day trip from Chiang Mai. The trip also takes in the famous Sticky Waterfall of Sri Lanna National Park too. Read more about the Chiang Dao Day Trip here.
Where to go next?Pai – A few hours west you’ll find the hippie tourist town of Pai, with luscious countryside, hot springs, a canyon, plenty of live music, yoga and bohemian markets. Pai is a big hit amongst backpackers (it even has a circus school!), but in recent years it’s become rather more touristy. Chiang Mai – Just an hour and a half away, the city is Thailand’s capital of culture with twinkling Buddhist temples (over 300!) huge weekend markets, great food, cheap hostels, massage and yoga courses, Muay Thai boxing and nearby adventure in the hills around. Mae Hong Son – Heading towards the Burmese border, Mae Hong Son has a very different feel to it than Pai and it is much smaller than Chang Mai. Expect big mountains, rivers, hill tribe villages and local bars and restaurants.
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