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[[Image:ChiangDao_Mountains.JPG|thumb|240px|Chiang Dao National Park]]
 
[[Image:ChiangDao_Mountains.JPG|thumb|240px|Chiang Dao National Park]]
  
'''Chiang Dao''' (เชียงดาว) is a town in [[Chiang Mai Province]], [[Northern Thailand]].
+
'''Chiang Dao''' (เชียงดาว) is a town in [[Chiang Mai Province]], [[northern Thailand]].
  
 
==Understand==
 
==Understand==
Chiang Dao lies above the Menam Ping gorge on the green slopes of Doi Chiang Dao mountain.  The name means "City of Stars", and derives from its earlier name ''Piang Dao'', or "(at the) level of the stars".  True to the name, limestone peaks reaching a height of 2186 m (7174 ft) make Chiang Dao an impressive area.  The village is a quiet little picturesque area, with a quaint Northern Thailand feel.
+
 
 +
Chiang Dao lies above the Menam Ping gorge on the green slopes of Doi Chiang Dao mountain.  The name means "City of Stars", and derives from its earlier name ''Piang Dao'', or "(at the) level of the stars".  True to the name, limestone peaks reaching a height of 2,186 m (7,174 ft) make Chiang Dao an impressive area.  The village is a quiet little picturesque area, with a quaint northern Thailand feel.
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
Line 16: Line 17:
 
===By bus===
 
===By bus===
  
The easiest and cheapest way to get in and out of Chiang Dao, is to stay next to, or near Hwy 107.  Anywhere along side the highway, one can wave down a bus or songthaew to either go towards Chiang Mai (40 baht), or Fang (40 baht).  Buses run quite often (between 06:00-18:00 every half hour)
+
The easiest and cheapest way to get in and out of Chiang Dao is to stay next to, or near, Hwy 107.  Anywhere along side the highway, one can wave down a bus or songthaew to either go towards Chiang Mai (40 baht), or Fang (40 baht).  Buses run quite often (between 06:00-18:00 every half hour).
  
 
There are buses six times daily from [[Chiang Mai]] to [[Tha Ton]], which stop at Chiang Dao along the way. 90 minutes, 40 baht.
 
There are buses six times daily from [[Chiang Mai]] to [[Tha Ton]], which stop at Chiang Dao along the way. 90 minutes, 40 baht.
Line 23: Line 24:
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
Most guesthouses can arrange motorcycles for rent for around 200-300 baht/day. This is is one of the cheapest options as there are very few taxis in the town and they employ a price fixing strategy, be prepared to pay 150 baht per ride from one of these regardless of how much you barter.
 
  
Taxis usually stay in town close to the 7-11, better to negotiate with taxi drivers directly, instead of asking the guest houses as they mark their prices sometime quite dramatically.
+
Most guesthouses can arrange motorcycles for rent for around 200-300 baht/day. This is is one of the cheapest options as there are very few taxis in the town and they employ a price fixing strategy. Be prepared to pay 150 baht per ride from one of these regardless of how much you barter.
  
Places, such as Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guesthouse, also rent reliable bicycles and mountain bikes (100 baht per day/24 hours).
+
Taxis usually stay in town close to the 7-11. Better to negotiate with taxi drivers directly, rather than asking at your guest house as they mark up their prices sometimes quite dramatically.
  
Tip:  If you are travelling on the main Hwy 107, the songthaews that travel on the main highway are only 10 baht within the Chiang Dao area all the way to the MuangNgai turnoff, north of town.
+
Places such as Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guest house, also rent reliable bicycles and mountain bikes (100 baht per day/24 hours).
 +
 
 +
Tip:  If you are travelling Hwy 107, the songthaews that travel there are only 10 baht within the Chiang Dao area all the way to the Muang Ngai turnoff, north of town.
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
* '''Chiang Dao Cave''' (ถ้ำเชียงดาว ''Tham Chiang Dao''), 5 km off the main highway.  The best-known attraction here, offering 12 kilometers of stalactite-laden caves — although only five of the caverns are accessible to the public. Chambers are large but lack spectacular decorations. Entry: electricity fee 40 baht.  You can tour the lighted part of the cave alone, or hire a guide with a lantern to view the unlit caverns. It will cost you 100 baht per group (goes to the temple?) plus the guide will expect the tip about 100 baht/person. Bringing your own flashlight is recommended.
 
  
* '''Birdwatching''' Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows, cater to bird watchers and are very helpful with information, with regards to bird watching.
+
* '''Chiang Dao Cave''' (ถ้ำเชียงดาว ''Tham Chiang Dao''), 5 km off the main highway.  The best-known attraction here, offering 12 km of stalactite-laden caves, although only five of the caverns are accessible to the public. Chambers are large, but lack spectacular decorations. Admission: electricity fee is 40 baht.  You can tour the lighted part of the cave alone, or hire a guide with a lantern to view the unlit caverns. It will cost you 100 baht per group (goes to the temple?), plus the guide will expect the tip of about 100 baht/person. Bringing your own flashlight is recommended.
  
* '''Hot springs''' The original Hot Springs,consisted of several small concrete basins fed from a pipe.
+
* '''Birdwatching''' Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows cater to bird watchers and are very helpful with information.   
* A few years ago, the friendly owner, Ura, of Take Restaurant, built two very nice Japanese Gardens, with bamboo gazebos, change room/showers and toilets.  There is also a small restaurant on site. The concrete basins, further up the road, are free to use, while the fee for the Japanese Garden, is 100 Baht.   
+
  
* '''San Phakia''' is a spot for overnight camping located on the mountain with a fantastic view over Doi Luang Chiang Dao and the valley below. In January good place to see cherry blossom. Tents, sleeping mattresses and blankets available for rent (300 baht/tent). Few bungalows are also available. Access via 24 km dirt road; turn-off from main road at Mae Na. Drivable on the small bike but not on the heavier bikes with street tyres.
+
* '''Hot springs''' The original hot springs consisted of several small concrete basins fed from a pipe. A few years ago the friendly owner, Ura, of Take Restaurant, built two very nice Japanese gardens, with bamboo gazebos, and a changing room, showers, and toilets. There is also a small restaurant on-site. The concrete basins, further up the road, are free to use, while the fee for the Japanese Garden is 100 Baht.
  
* '''Tuesday Morning Market''' Located downtown Chiang Dao, on Highway 107, offers colorful displays, local and Hilltribe goods and many great deals.  A great way to spend a Tuesday Morning, in Chiang Dao.
+
* '''San Phakia''' is a spot for overnight camping located on the mountain with a fantastic view over Doi Luang Chiang Dao and the valley below. In January it's a good place to see cherry blossoms. Tents, sleeping mattresses, and blankets are available for rent (300 baht/tent). A few bungalows are also available. Access via 24 km dirt road. Turn off the main road at Mae Na. Drivable on a small bike, but not on a heavier bikes with street tires.
 +
 
 +
* '''Tuesday Morning Market''' Located in downtown Chiang Dao, on Hwy 107, offers colourful displays, local and hill tribe goods and many great deals.  A great way to spend a Tuesday morning in Chiang Dao.
  
 
==Do==
 
==Do==
 +
 
[[Image:ChiangDao_Waterfall.JPG|thumb|Waterfall in Chiang Dao National Park]]
 
[[Image:ChiangDao_Waterfall.JPG|thumb|Waterfall in Chiang Dao National Park]]
  
The town of Chiang Dao is adjacent to '''Chiang Dao National Park''' [http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp/style1/default.asp?npid=167&lg=2], which covers over 1000 sq.km. of the stunning craggy mountains in the area. Being fairly high up, it's noticeably cooler and drier than on the plains and can get downright cold in the winter. The local flora are semitropical, with extensive bamboo forests and a number of mountain streams and waterfalls.  The area is popular for '''trekking''', as in addition to the mountain views there are many '''Lisu''' and '''Karen''' hill tribe villages scattered in the park.
+
The town of Chiang Dao is adjacent to '''Chiang Dao National Park''' [http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp/style1/default.asp?npid=167&lg=2], which covers over 1,000 square kilometres of the stunning craggy mountains in the area. Being fairly high up, it's noticeably cooler and drier than on the plains and can get downright cold in the winter. The local flora are semi-tropical, with extensive bamboo forests and a number of mountain streams and waterfalls.  The area is popular for trekking, as in addition to the mountain views, there are many '''Lisu''' and '''Karen''' hill tribe villages scattered throughout the park.
  
* '''Doi Luang Chiang Dao''' (ดอยหลวงเชียงดาว) at 2225m is the highest peak in the area (and the third-highest in all Thailand) and doable as a two-day trip.
+
* '''Doi Luang Chiang Dao''' (ดอยหลวงเชียงดาว) at 2,225 m is the highest peak in the area (and the third-highest in all of Thailand) and doable as a two-day trip.
  
 
===Trekking operators===
 
===Trekking operators===
  
* '''Chiang Dao Nest Tours and Trekking''', [http://chiangmaitrekking.chiangdao.com] offers a wide variety of 2-3 day treks in the national park.  Small, private groups led by local hill tribe guides, priced at roughly 1000 baht/person/day all-inclusive.
+
* '''Chiang Dao Nest Tours and Trekking''', [http://chiangmaitrekking.chiangdao.com] offers a wide variety of 2-3 day treks in the national park.  Small, private groups led by local hill tribe guides, priced at roughly 1,000 baht/person/day, all-inclusive.
  
'''Doi Luang Chiang Dao''' is a limestone mountain in the Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve area, Amphoe Chiang Dao.  This cone-shaped mountain is 2,195 metres from sea level, which makes it the third highest mountain in Thailand after Doi Inthanon and Doi Pha Hom Pok.  Narrow plains on top of the mountain overlook spectacular views that include a sea of fog on the Amphoe Chiang Dao side, Doi Sam Phi Nong, the Chiang Dao mountain range, and the far end of Doi Inthanon.  The peak is cool and windy. It is full of rare highland flowers, birds, and butterflies.  Visiting Doi Chiang Dao needs an approval letter from the Director of Wildlife Reserve Division, Royal Forest Department. It must arranged at least 2 weeks before travelling. Call 0 2561 2947 for more information.
+
'''Doi Luang Chiang Dao''' is a limestone mountain in the Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve area.  This cone-shaped mountain is 2,195 m above sea level, which makes it the third highest mountain in Thailand after Doi Inthanon and Doi Pha Hom Pok.  Narrow plains on top of the mountain overlook spectacular views that include a sea of fog on the Chiang Dao side, Doi Sam Phi Nong, the Chiang Dao mountain range, and the far end of Doi Inthanon.  The peak is cool and windy. It is full of rare highland flowers, birds, and butterflies.  Visiting Doi Chiang Dao needs an approval letter from the Director of the Wildlife Reserve Division, Royal Forest Department. It must arranged at least 2 weeks before travelling. Call +66 25 612 947 for more information.
  
''Getting there:'' The peak is accessible on foot. At Chiang Dao cave, guides, porters, and chartered transfers to the starting point of the trail are available. Rented local truck costs around 900 baht and, a porter is 300 baht per person.  There are no tourist facilities on Chiang Dao Mountain. Visitors must bring their own sleeping bags, food, and water. If you are a very fit trekker you might be able to climb up and down in one day if you start very early and the locals confirm that. There is a small village with the lodging near the start of the northern trail, easily accessible on the motorbike via paved road.  
+
''Getting there:'' The peak is accessible on foot. At Chiang Dao cave, guides, porters, and chartered transfers to the starting point of the trail are available. A rented local truck costs around 900 baht and a porter is 300 baht per person.  There are no tourist facilities on Chiang Dao mountain. Visitors must bring their own sleeping bags, food, and water. If you are a very fit trekker you might be able to climb up and down in one day if you start very early. There is a small village with lodging near the start of the northern trail, easily accessible on a motorbike via paved road.  
 
    
 
    
Descending the mountain is possible on the trail near Ban Tham, which is located near Chiang Dao cave. The trail is rather steep; nevertheless, it could shorten the walking distance upon descending. It is quite difficult to climb up.
+
Descending the mountain is possible on the trail near Ban Tham, which is located near Chiang Dao cave. The trail is rather steep. Nevertheless, it could shorten the walking distance upon descending. It is quite difficult to climb up.
  
 
* '''Elephant riding'''
 
* '''Elephant riding'''
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==Buy==
 
==Buy==
Every Tuesday morning the town has a big '''market''' with many hilltribe people coming down to trade.
+
 
 +
Every Tuesday morning the town has a big market with many hill tribe people coming down to trade.
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
  
* '''Take Cafe''', Japanese restaurant, Run by a Japanese gentleman and his wife on the road between Chiang Dao village and the cave. Very reasonable prices, jovial host, and enjoyable, budget Japanese food.  
+
* '''Take Cafe''', Japanese restaurant, Run by a Japanese gentleman and his wife on the road between Chiang Dao village and the cave. Very reasonable prices, jovial host, and enjoyable, inexpensive Japanese food.  
  
* '''Malee's Nature Resort'''. Close to Chiang Dao Cave.  Reasonably priced selection of local Thai and some Western foods, makes for a great breakfast with fresh home made bread and jams. Cosy garden with great views.
+
* '''Malee's Nature Resort'''. Close to Chiang Dao Cave.  Reasonably priced selection of local Thai and some Western foods. A great breakfast with fresh home made bread and jams. Cosy garden with great views.
  
* '''Chiang Dao Nest (Western food) and Chiang Dao Nest 2 (Thai food)'''  Take Hwy 107 north from Chiang Mai towards Fang (Chang Puak Gate from the old city) , At km72, in Chiang Dao,just after the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel, turn left towards Chiang Dao Cave and Malee's. Delicious, fresh, local ingredients, high quality.  Worth a stop even if you're not staying at the nest.  Beautiful setting in the mountains to boot. (Next to Malee's)
+
* '''Chiang Dao Nest (Western food) and Chiang Dao Nest 2 (Thai food)'''  Take Hwy 107 north from Chiang Mai towards Fang. At km72, in Chiang Dao, just after the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel, turn left towards Chiang Dao Cave and Malee's. Delicious, fresh, local ingredients, high quality.  Worth a stop even if you're not staying at the nest.  Beautiful setting in the mountains to boot. (Next to Malee's)
  
 
* '''Haniba Coffee'''. Nice coffee shop opposite PTT gas station. Cheesecakes.
 
* '''Haniba Coffee'''. Nice coffee shop opposite PTT gas station. Cheesecakes.
  
*<eat name="Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guesthouse" alt="" address="Chiang Dao" directions="across the street from the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel" phone="084-173-9975" url="http://www.chiangdao.org" hours="10:00-22:00, Tu-Su" price="moderate" lat="N19 22.369" long="E98 57.964"> Mon,the owner, serves delicious Western, Thai and vegetarian food, along with her mouth watering cheesecakes.  Nightly BBQ'sShe also brews a great cup of coffee. You may have to wait for a while for your food and it is recommended to make reservations on weekends, because the place is quite popular with local expats as well as Thais. It is well-worth the wait! Fast, free Wi-Fi, air conditioned inside during hot season.  Large selection of imported beers and wines. Every evening, starting at 16:00 and also during the Tuesday Morning Market, Mon sells her delicious Khanom Jeen, for 20 baht per bowl.</eat>
+
*<eat name="Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guesthouse" alt="" address="Chiang Dao" directions="across the street from the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel" phone="+66 84 173 9975" url="http://www.chiangdao.org" hours="10:00-22:00, Tu-Su" price="" lat="N19 22.369" long="E98 57.964"> Mon, the owner, serves delicious Western, Thai, and vegetarian food, along with her mouth watering cheesecakes.  Nightly BBQ's. She also brews a great cup of coffee. You may have to wait for a while for your food and it is recommended that you make reservations on weekends because the place is quite popular with local expats as well as Thais. It is well-worth the wait! Fast, free Wi-Fi, air conditioned inside during hot season.  Large selection of imported beers and wines. Every evening, starting at 16:00 and also during the Tuesday Morning Market, Mon sells her delicious khanom Jeen, for 20 baht per bowl.</eat>
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
'''Mon and Kurt's''' offers a good selection of wine and imported beers, along with "Shooters" and "Highballs".  They use quality alcohol. (Jose Quervo Especial Tequila, Jack Daniel's, Jaegermeister, Russian Vodka, etc.) They are conveniently located downtown, have a Happy Hour, between Noon-2pm and 5-7pm (Big bottles of Beer Chang, Chang Export and Leo for only 50 Baht) and serve alcohol until 9:30pm (close at 10pm).
+
 
'''Chiang Dao Nest''' also has a great selection of Spirits and a nice quiet atmosphere, but there are also a few Thai Karaoke Bars in and around Chiang Dao, for those who are a little more adventerous.
+
'''Mon and Kurt's''' offers a good selection of wine and imported beers, along with shooters and highballs.  They use quality alcohol. (Jose Quervo Especial Tequila, Jack Daniel's, Jaegermeister, Russian vodka, etc.) They are conveniently located downtown, have a happy hour, between 12:00-14:00 and 17:00-19:00 (big bottles of Chang, Chang Export, and Leo for only 50 baht) and serve alcohol until 21:30. They close at 22:00.
 +
 
 +
'''Chiang Dao Nest''' also has a great selection of spirits and a nice quiet atmosphere, but there are also a few Thai karaoke bars in and around Chiang Dao, for those a little more adventurous.
  
 
==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
  
Chiang Dao now offers quite a few guesthouses and resorts, some located right near the Chiang Dao - Fang Highway, others near the bypass or near the cave and mountain temple.  There's no luxury accommodation though, since the Baan Krating resort closed in 2007.
+
Chiang Dao now offers quite a few guest houses and resorts, some located right near the Chiang Dao -Fang Highway, others near the bypass or near the cave and mountain temple.  There's no luxury accommodation though.
  
* '''Chiang Dao Nest''', ''+66''-60171985 [http://nest.chiangdao.com] run by English/Thai couple Stuart and Wicha is a self-proclaimed mini-resort where the mass goes with views of the mountains around and Thai/Western food. 11 bamboo bungalows with fan, attached bathroom, hot water, from 495 baht/night.Some Thai/Western couples claim to have been harrassed (Thai wives accused of being 'bar girls') by the rather officious Wicha, she can also be very unreasonable with guests when things don't go so well.
+
* '''Chiang Dao Nest''', ''+66''-60171985 [http://nest.chiangdao.com] run by English/Thai couple Stuart and Wicha is a mini-resort where the mass goes with views of the mountains around and Thai/Western food. 11 bamboo bungalows with fans, attached bathrooms, hot water, from 495 baht/night. Some Thai/Western couples claim to have been harassed (Thai wives accused of being bar girls) by the rather officious Wicha. She can also be very unreasonable with guests when things don't go so well.
* '''Nature Home''', is a nice and quiet place, offers nice rooms with private bathrooms for 400 baht/night. The owners are a local couple who speak no English but are very friendly. If you are lucky, you might get some kind of breakfast for free in the morning.
+
 
* '''Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows''', ''+66''-819618387 [http://www.maleenature.com] is a nice and quiet place set up in 1995 offers sturdy, well-maintained bungalows with private bathrooms. Cheapest rooms (200 baht) have shared bathroom and a fan. Family and honeymoon suites are also available. The location offers a pool in a cosy garden with views of the surrounding mountains. Free WiFi in the entire resort. There are detailed maps of the area on display and there is a bird sightings log.
+
* '''Nature Home''', is a nice, quiet place, offering nice rooms with private bathrooms for 400 baht/night. The owners are a local couple who speak no English but are very friendly. If you are lucky, you might get some kind of breakfast for free in the morning.
* '''Chiang Dao Hut''',''+66''-872081269 jarakan123@hotmail.com [http://www.chiangdaohut.com Chiang Dao Hut] is a small, new, cosy, guest house run by a young friendly Thai couple who have had many years of hotel experience in Chiang Mai and speak reasonable English. There are 2 fairly large, simple but clean wooden bungalows (one double, one twin) each with fan, attached bathroom and hot shower. Prices from 380B (low season) to 580B (high). They have a small cafe at the front which is a great place to relax with a latte, fruit shake or some Western or Thai food like pizza, spaghetti, pad thai etc.
+
 
*<sleep name="Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guesthouse" alt="" address="Right Across the Street from the Chiang Dao Inn" directions="Downtown Chiang Dao" phone="084-173-9975" url="http://www.chiangdao.org" checkin="before 9pm" checkout="12 Noon" price="400-500 Baht" lat="N19 22.369 " long="E98 57.964">Clean, new, spacious rooms. Comfortable beds with clean, quality sheets and towels. Air Conditioned 500 Baht, Fan room 400 Baht.  Conveniently located at the First Class (Bangkok) Bus stop.  Free, Hi-Speed Wi-Fi in all the rooms and in the restaurant.  Beautiful Mountain views from Rooms and nice garden sitting area, outside the air conditioned restaurant downstairs.</sleep>
+
* '''Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows''', ''+66''-819618387 [http://www.maleenature.com] is a nice and quiet place set up in 1995 offers sturdy, well-maintained bungalows with private bathrooms. Cheapest rooms (200 baht) have shared bathroom and a fan. Family and honeymoon suites are also available. The location offers a pool in a cosy garden with views of the surrounding mountains. Free Wi-Fi. There are detailed maps of the area on display and there is a bird sightings log.
 +
 
 +
* '''Chiang Dao Hut''',''+66''-872081269 jarakan123@hotmail.com [http://www.chiangdaohut.com Chiang Dao Hut] is a small, new, cosy, guest house run by a young friendly Thai couple who have had many years of hotel experience in Chiang Mai and speak reasonable English. There are 2 fairly large, simple but clean wooden bungalows (one double, one twin) each with fan, attached bathroom and hot shower. Prices from 380 baht (low-season) to 580 baht (high). They have a small cafe at the front which is a great place to relax with a latte, fruit shake or some Western or Thai food like pizza, spaghetti, pad Thai, etc.
 +
 
 +
*<sleep name="Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guest house" alt="" address="across the street from the Chiang Dao Inn" directions="downtown Chiang Dao" phone="+66 84 173 9975" url="http://www.chiangdao.org" checkin="before 21:00" checkout="12:00" price="400-500 baht" lat="N19 22.369 " long="E98 57.964">Clean, new, spacious rooms. Comfortable beds with clean, quality sheets and towels. Air Conditioned, 500 baht, fan room, 400 baht.  Conveniently located at the first class (Bangkok) bus stop.  Free, hi-speed Wi-Fi in all the rooms and in the restaurant.  Beautiful mountain views from rooms and nice garden sitting area, outside the air conditioned restaurant downstairs.</sleep>
  
 
==Get out==
 
==Get out==
orange Buses (every hour, 40 Baht)and orange Songtheaws (every 30 minutes, 40 Baht),pass through Chiang Dao, on Highway 107.  You can wave them down anywhere and they will stop for you, if not full already.
 
* [[Chiang Mai]]
 
  
 +
Orange buses (every hour, 40 baht)and orange songthaews (every 30 minutes, 40 baht), pass through Chiang Dao, on Hwy 107.  You can wave them down anywhere and they will stop for you, if not full already.
 +
 +
* [[Chiang Mai]]
 
* [[Doi Ang Khong]]
 
* [[Doi Ang Khong]]
 
* [[Fang]]
 
* [[Fang]]
* [[Bangkok]]  
+
* [[Bangkok]]
*VIP (32 Seat Sleeper), First Class, Air Conditioned Bus, leaves at 6:30pm (664 Baht), in Front of Mon and Kurt's Restaurant, for Bangkok.  Arrives approx. 5am in Bangkok.   
+
 +
*VIP (32 seat sleeper), first class, air conditioned bus, leaves at 18:30 (664 baht), in front of Mon and Kurt's Restaurant, for Bangkok.  Arrives at approximately 05:00 in Bangkok.   
 +
 
 +
Regular 52 seat sleeper bus leaves from in front of Mon and Kurt's Restaurant (reserve tickets across the street, at local mini-mart) as follows:
  
Regular 52 Seat Sleeper bus leaves as follows, in Front of Mon and Kurt's Restaurant (Reserve tickets across the street, at local mini-mart):
+
*Leaves Chiang Dao 08:30, arrives in Bangkok 20:00. 569 baht.
*Leaves Chiang Dao 8:30am, arrives in Bangkok 8pm. 569 Baht
+
*Leaves Chiang Dao 19:30, arrives in Bangkok 07:00. 569 baht.
*Leaves Chiang Dao 19:30pm arrives in Bangkok 7am. 569 Baht
+
  
  

Revision as of 12:17, 23 December 2012

Chiang Dao National Park

Chiang Dao (เชียงดาว) is a town in Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand.

Contents

Understand

Chiang Dao lies above the Menam Ping gorge on the green slopes of Doi Chiang Dao mountain. The name means "City of Stars", and derives from its earlier name Piang Dao, or "(at the) level of the stars". True to the name, limestone peaks reaching a height of 2,186 m (7,174 ft) make Chiang Dao an impressive area. The village is a quiet little picturesque area, with a quaint northern Thailand feel.

Get in

Chiang Dao is 72 km north of Chiang Mai on Hwy 107 to Fang and Tha Ton.

By plane

The nearest major airport is in Chiang Mai. A metered, air conditioned taxi will cost about 1,000-1,200 baht one-way.

By bus

The easiest and cheapest way to get in and out of Chiang Dao is to stay next to, or near, Hwy 107. Anywhere along side the highway, one can wave down a bus or songthaew to either go towards Chiang Mai (40 baht), or Fang (40 baht). Buses run quite often (between 06:00-18:00 every half hour).

There are buses six times daily from Chiang Mai to Tha Ton, which stop at Chiang Dao along the way. 90 minutes, 40 baht.

You can ask the driver to stop anywhere along the side of the road, which is often better than getting off at the Chiang Dao bus stop, where songthaew drivers charge 100 baht or more to take you one-way to a resort.

Get around

Most guesthouses can arrange motorcycles for rent for around 200-300 baht/day. This is is one of the cheapest options as there are very few taxis in the town and they employ a price fixing strategy. Be prepared to pay 150 baht per ride from one of these regardless of how much you barter.

Taxis usually stay in town close to the 7-11. Better to negotiate with taxi drivers directly, rather than asking at your guest house as they mark up their prices sometimes quite dramatically.

Places such as Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guest house, also rent reliable bicycles and mountain bikes (100 baht per day/24 hours).

Tip: If you are travelling Hwy 107, the songthaews that travel there are only 10 baht within the Chiang Dao area all the way to the Muang Ngai turnoff, north of town.

See

  • Chiang Dao Cave (ถ้ำเชียงดาว Tham Chiang Dao), 5 km off the main highway. The best-known attraction here, offering 12 km of stalactite-laden caves, although only five of the caverns are accessible to the public. Chambers are large, but lack spectacular decorations. Admission: electricity fee is 40 baht. You can tour the lighted part of the cave alone, or hire a guide with a lantern to view the unlit caverns. It will cost you 100 baht per group (goes to the temple?), plus the guide will expect the tip of about 100 baht/person. Bringing your own flashlight is recommended.
  • Birdwatching Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows cater to bird watchers and are very helpful with information.
  • Hot springs The original hot springs consisted of several small concrete basins fed from a pipe. A few years ago the friendly owner, Ura, of Take Restaurant, built two very nice Japanese gardens, with bamboo gazebos, and a changing room, showers, and toilets. There is also a small restaurant on-site. The concrete basins, further up the road, are free to use, while the fee for the Japanese Garden is 100 Baht.
  • San Phakia is a spot for overnight camping located on the mountain with a fantastic view over Doi Luang Chiang Dao and the valley below. In January it's a good place to see cherry blossoms. Tents, sleeping mattresses, and blankets are available for rent (300 baht/tent). A few bungalows are also available. Access via 24 km dirt road. Turn off the main road at Mae Na. Drivable on a small bike, but not on a heavier bikes with street tires.
  • Tuesday Morning Market Located in downtown Chiang Dao, on Hwy 107, offers colourful displays, local and hill tribe goods and many great deals. A great way to spend a Tuesday morning in Chiang Dao.

Do

Waterfall in Chiang Dao National Park

The town of Chiang Dao is adjacent to Chiang Dao National Park [1], which covers over 1,000 square kilometres of the stunning craggy mountains in the area. Being fairly high up, it's noticeably cooler and drier than on the plains and can get downright cold in the winter. The local flora are semi-tropical, with extensive bamboo forests and a number of mountain streams and waterfalls. The area is popular for trekking, as in addition to the mountain views, there are many Lisu and Karen hill tribe villages scattered throughout the park.

  • Doi Luang Chiang Dao (ดอยหลวงเชียงดาว) at 2,225 m is the highest peak in the area (and the third-highest in all of Thailand) and doable as a two-day trip.

Trekking operators

  • Chiang Dao Nest Tours and Trekking, [2] offers a wide variety of 2-3 day treks in the national park. Small, private groups led by local hill tribe guides, priced at roughly 1,000 baht/person/day, all-inclusive.

Doi Luang Chiang Dao is a limestone mountain in the Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve area. This cone-shaped mountain is 2,195 m above sea level, which makes it the third highest mountain in Thailand after Doi Inthanon and Doi Pha Hom Pok. Narrow plains on top of the mountain overlook spectacular views that include a sea of fog on the Chiang Dao side, Doi Sam Phi Nong, the Chiang Dao mountain range, and the far end of Doi Inthanon. The peak is cool and windy. It is full of rare highland flowers, birds, and butterflies. Visiting Doi Chiang Dao needs an approval letter from the Director of the Wildlife Reserve Division, Royal Forest Department. It must arranged at least 2 weeks before travelling. Call +66 25 612 947 for more information.

Getting there: The peak is accessible on foot. At Chiang Dao cave, guides, porters, and chartered transfers to the starting point of the trail are available. A rented local truck costs around 900 baht and a porter is 300 baht per person. There are no tourist facilities on Chiang Dao mountain. Visitors must bring their own sleeping bags, food, and water. If you are a very fit trekker you might be able to climb up and down in one day if you start very early. There is a small village with lodging near the start of the northern trail, easily accessible on a motorbike via paved road.

Descending the mountain is possible on the trail near Ban Tham, which is located near Chiang Dao cave. The trail is rather steep. Nevertheless, it could shorten the walking distance upon descending. It is quite difficult to climb up.

  • Elephant riding
  • River rafting

Buy

Every Tuesday morning the town has a big market with many hill tribe people coming down to trade.

Eat

  • Take Cafe, Japanese restaurant, Run by a Japanese gentleman and his wife on the road between Chiang Dao village and the cave. Very reasonable prices, jovial host, and enjoyable, inexpensive Japanese food.
  • Malee's Nature Resort. Close to Chiang Dao Cave. Reasonably priced selection of local Thai and some Western foods. A great breakfast with fresh home made bread and jams. Cosy garden with great views.
  • Chiang Dao Nest (Western food) and Chiang Dao Nest 2 (Thai food) Take Hwy 107 north from Chiang Mai towards Fang. At km72, in Chiang Dao, just after the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel, turn left towards Chiang Dao Cave and Malee's. Delicious, fresh, local ingredients, high quality. Worth a stop even if you're not staying at the nest. Beautiful setting in the mountains to boot. (Next to Malee's)
  • Haniba Coffee. Nice coffee shop opposite PTT gas station. Cheesecakes.
  • Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guesthouse, Chiang Dao (across the street from the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel), +66 84 173 9975, [3]. 10:00-22:00, Tu-Su. Mon, the owner, serves delicious Western, Thai, and vegetarian food, along with her mouth watering cheesecakes. Nightly BBQ's. She also brews a great cup of coffee. You may have to wait for a while for your food and it is recommended that you make reservations on weekends because the place is quite popular with local expats as well as Thais. It is well-worth the wait! Fast, free Wi-Fi, air conditioned inside during hot season. Large selection of imported beers and wines. Every evening, starting at 16:00 and also during the Tuesday Morning Market, Mon sells her delicious khanom Jeen, for 20 baht per bowl. (N19 22.369,E98 57.964)

Drink

Mon and Kurt's offers a good selection of wine and imported beers, along with shooters and highballs. They use quality alcohol. (Jose Quervo Especial Tequila, Jack Daniel's, Jaegermeister, Russian vodka, etc.) They are conveniently located downtown, have a happy hour, between 12:00-14:00 and 17:00-19:00 (big bottles of Chang, Chang Export, and Leo for only 50 baht) and serve alcohol until 21:30. They close at 22:00.

Chiang Dao Nest also has a great selection of spirits and a nice quiet atmosphere, but there are also a few Thai karaoke bars in and around Chiang Dao, for those a little more adventurous.

Sleep

Chiang Dao now offers quite a few guest houses and resorts, some located right near the Chiang Dao -Fang Highway, others near the bypass or near the cave and mountain temple. There's no luxury accommodation though.

  • Chiang Dao Nest, +66-60171985 [4] run by English/Thai couple Stuart and Wicha is a mini-resort where the mass goes with views of the mountains around and Thai/Western food. 11 bamboo bungalows with fans, attached bathrooms, hot water, from 495 baht/night. Some Thai/Western couples claim to have been harassed (Thai wives accused of being bar girls) by the rather officious Wicha. She can also be very unreasonable with guests when things don't go so well.
  • Nature Home, is a nice, quiet place, offering nice rooms with private bathrooms for 400 baht/night. The owners are a local couple who speak no English but are very friendly. If you are lucky, you might get some kind of breakfast for free in the morning.
  • Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows, +66-819618387 [5] is a nice and quiet place set up in 1995 offers sturdy, well-maintained bungalows with private bathrooms. Cheapest rooms (200 baht) have shared bathroom and a fan. Family and honeymoon suites are also available. The location offers a pool in a cosy garden with views of the surrounding mountains. Free Wi-Fi. There are detailed maps of the area on display and there is a bird sightings log.
  • Chiang Dao Hut,+66-872081269 jarakan123@hotmail.com Chiang Dao Hut is a small, new, cosy, guest house run by a young friendly Thai couple who have had many years of hotel experience in Chiang Mai and speak reasonable English. There are 2 fairly large, simple but clean wooden bungalows (one double, one twin) each with fan, attached bathroom and hot shower. Prices from 380 baht (low-season) to 580 baht (high). They have a small cafe at the front which is a great place to relax with a latte, fruit shake or some Western or Thai food like pizza, spaghetti, pad Thai, etc.
  • Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guest house, across the street from the Chiang Dao Inn (downtown Chiang Dao), +66 84 173 9975, [6]. checkin: before 21:00; checkout: 12:00. Clean, new, spacious rooms. Comfortable beds with clean, quality sheets and towels. Air Conditioned, 500 baht, fan room, 400 baht. Conveniently located at the first class (Bangkok) bus stop. Free, hi-speed Wi-Fi in all the rooms and in the restaurant. Beautiful mountain views from rooms and nice garden sitting area, outside the air conditioned restaurant downstairs. 400-500 baht. (N19 22.369,E98 57.964)

Get out

Orange buses (every hour, 40 baht)and orange songthaews (every 30 minutes, 40 baht), pass through Chiang Dao, on Hwy 107. You can wave them down anywhere and they will stop for you, if not full already.

  • VIP (32 seat sleeper), first class, air conditioned bus, leaves at 18:30 (664 baht), in front of Mon and Kurt's Restaurant, for Bangkok. Arrives at approximately 05:00 in Bangkok.

Regular 52 seat sleeper bus leaves from in front of Mon and Kurt's Restaurant (reserve tickets across the street, at local mini-mart) as follows:

  • Leaves Chiang Dao 08:30, arrives in Bangkok 20:00. 569 baht.
  • Leaves Chiang Dao 19:30, arrives in Bangkok 07:00. 569 baht.



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