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Difference between revisions of "Chiang Dao"

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(updated listing Chiang Dao Nest (Western food) and Chiang Dao Nest 2 (Thai food))
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==Get in==
 
==Get in==
  
Chiang Dao is 72 km north of [[Chiang Mai]] on Hwy 107 to [[Fang]] and [[Tha Ton]].
+
Chiang Dao is 72 km north of [[Chiang Mai]] on Hwy 107 to [[Fang]] and [[Thaton (Thailand)]].
  
 
===By plane===
 
===By plane===
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==See==
 
==See==
  
* '''Birdwatching''' Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows cater to bird watchers and are very helpful with information.
+
* <see name="Birdwatching" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows cater to bird watchers and are very helpful with information.</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.
+
* <see name="Chiang Dao Cave" alt="ถ้ำเชียงดาว ''Tham Chiang Dao'" address="" directions="5 km off the main highway" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="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">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. Bringing your own flashlight is recommended.</see>
  
* '''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. 
+
* <see name="Hot springs" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="The concrete basins, further up the road, are free to use; fee for the Japanese Garden is 100 baht">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.</see>
  
* '''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.
+
* <see name="San Phakia" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">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.</see>
 
+
* '''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==
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[[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 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''' (ดอยหลวงเชียดางว). At 2,225 m, this is the highest peak in the area (and the third-highest in all of Thailand after Doi Inthanon and Doi Pha Hom Pok) and doable as a two-day trip. It is a limestone mountain in the Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve area. 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.
  
* '''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.
+
:''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.
  
===Trekking operators===
+
* <do name="Pha Daeng National Park" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp/style1/default.asp?npid=167&lg=2" hours="" price="">The town of Chiang Dao is adjacent to the park, 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.</do>
  
* '''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.
+
===Trekking===
  
'''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.
+
* <do name="Chiang Dao Nest Tours and Trekking" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://chiangmaitrekking.chiangdao.com" hours="" price="Roughly 1,000 baht/person/day, all-inclusive">Offers a wide variety of 2-3 day treks in the national park. Small, private groups led by local hill tribe guides.</do>
  
''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.
+
==Buy==
 
+
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'''
+
* <buy name="Tuesday Morning Market" alt="" address="" directions="downtown Chiang Dao on Hwy 107" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Colourful displays, local and hill tribe goods and many great deals.  A great way to spend a Tuesday morning in Chiang Dao.</buy>
  
* '''River rafting'''
+
==Eat==
  
==Buy==
+
* <eat name="Chiang Dao Nest (Western food) and Chiang Dao Nest 2 (Thai food)" alt="" address="" directions="on Hwy 107 at km72, in Chiang Dao, just after the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel, turn left towards Chiang Dao Cave and Malee's Resort." phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Delicious, fresh, local ingredients, high quality - every dish is a sophisticated mix of flavors, this is not a typically thrown together dish.  This is worth a stop even if you're not staying at the nest - even if you are staying in Chiang Mai.  Beautiful setting in the mountains to boot.  Everything is very tastefully done.</eat>
  
Every Tuesday morning the town has a big market with many hill tribe people coming down to trade.
+
*<eat name="DoiMek Café" alt="" address="450/1, Moo 10, Mueang Ngai" directions="just north of Chiang Dao is an intersection. Turn left. The café is on the left 2 km after the turn." phone="+66 53 375088" url="http://www.doimekcafe.com" hours="07:00-18:00" price="40-150 baht" lat="" long="">Serves local, organically shade-grown Arabica coffee beans freshly roasted every week. It is set in traditional Thai-inspired architecture. There is free Wi-Fi, a camping area, and clean bathrooms for backpackers or visitors who are preparing to go up Doi Ang Kang. The café also serves simple food, with locally-sourced ingredients.</eat>
  
==Eat==
+
* <eat name="Haniba Coffee" alt="" address="" directions="opposite PTT gas station" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Nice coffee shop. Cheesecakes!</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.  
+
* <eat name="Malee's Nature Resort" alt="" address="" directions="close to Chiang Dao Cave" phone="+66 81 9618387" email="" fax="" url="http://www.maleenature.com" hours="" price="Accommodation: 250-2,000 baht">Reasonably priced selection of Thai and Western foods. A great breakfast with fresh home made bread and jams. Cosy garden with great views. Also offers sturdy, well-maintained bungalows with private bathrooms. Cheapest rooms (250 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.</eat>
  
* '''Malee's Nature Resort'''. Close to Chiang Dao CaveReasonably priced selection of local Thai and some Western foods. A great breakfast with fresh home made bread and jams. Cosy garden with great views.
+
*<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 1739975" 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 seasonLarge 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. Guest house has 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. Bar 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).</eat>
  
* '''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)
+
* <eat name="Take Cafe" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">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.</eat>
 +
*<eat name="The Star " alt="" address="385 m. 7  chaingdao chaingdao chaingmai 50170" directions="Across from the Tesco Lotus Express + 7-11" phone="" url="" hours="10 - 24 " price="" lat="" long="">This place is cute, clean, and fun. The staff are super friendly. It's great patio atmosphere right on the main road - perfect for cooling off and people watching. Delicious food, cold beer, liquor, free Wi-Fi.   </eat>
  
* '''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="+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 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.
+
Restaurants and guest houses are the places to drink in Chiang Dao. There are also several karaoke bars scattered throughout the town.
 
+
'''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 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.
+
* <sleep name="Chiang Dao Hut" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="+66 87 2081269" email="jarakan123@hotmail.com" fax="" url="http://www.chiangdaohut.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="380 baht (low-season)-580 baht (high)">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. 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>
  
* '''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.
+
* <sleep name="Nature Home" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="400 baht">A nice, quiet place, offering nice rooms with private bath. The owners are a local couple who speak no English but are very friendly. If you are lucky, you might get some kind of free breakfast in the morning.</sleep>
 
+
* '''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 [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 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.
+
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.
  
 +
* [[Bangkok]]
 
* [[Chiang Mai]]
 
* [[Chiang Mai]]
 
* [[Doi Ang Khong]]
 
* [[Doi Ang Khong]]
 
* [[Fang]]
 
* [[Fang]]
* [[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.   
+
VIP (32 seat sleeper), first class, air conditioned bus, leaves at 18:30 (664 baht), in front of Mon and Kurt's Restaurant/Guest House, 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 from in front of Mon and Kurt's Restaurant (reserve tickets across the street, at local mini-mart) as follows:

Revision as of 05:37, 4 September 2013

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 Thaton (Thailand).

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

  • Birdwatching. Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows cater to bird watchers and are very helpful with information.
  • 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. Bringing your own flashlight is recommended. 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.
  • 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; fee for the Japanese Garden is 100 baht.
  • San Phakia. 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.

Do

Waterfall in Chiang Dao National Park
  • Doi Luang Chiang Dao (ดอยหลวงเชียดางว). At 2,225 m, this is the highest peak in the area (and the third-highest in all of Thailand after Doi Inthanon and Doi Pha Hom Pok) and doable as a two-day trip. It is a limestone mountain in the Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve area. 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.
  • Pha Daeng National Park, [1]. The town of Chiang Dao is adjacent to the park, 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.

Trekking

  • 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. Roughly 1,000 baht/person/day, all-inclusive.

Buy

  • Tuesday Morning Market, (downtown Chiang Dao on Hwy 107). Colourful displays, local and hill tribe goods and many great deals. A great way to spend a Tuesday morning in Chiang Dao.

Eat

  • Chiang Dao Nest (Western food) and Chiang Dao Nest 2 (Thai food), (on Hwy 107 at km72, in Chiang Dao, just after the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel, turn left towards Chiang Dao Cave and Malee's Resort.). Delicious, fresh, local ingredients, high quality - every dish is a sophisticated mix of flavors, this is not a typically thrown together dish. This is worth a stop even if you're not staying at the nest - even if you are staying in Chiang Mai. Beautiful setting in the mountains to boot. Everything is very tastefully done.
  • DoiMek Café, 450/1, Moo 10, Mueang Ngai (just north of Chiang Dao is an intersection. Turn left. The café is on the left 2 km after the turn.), +66 53 375088, [3]. 07:00-18:00. Serves local, organically shade-grown Arabica coffee beans freshly roasted every week. It is set in traditional Thai-inspired architecture. There is free Wi-Fi, a camping area, and clean bathrooms for backpackers or visitors who are preparing to go up Doi Ang Kang. The café also serves simple food, with locally-sourced ingredients. 40-150 baht.
  • Haniba Coffee, (opposite PTT gas station). Nice coffee shop. Cheesecakes!
  • Malee's Nature Resort, (close to Chiang Dao Cave), +66 81 9618387, [4]. Reasonably priced selection of Thai and Western foods. A great breakfast with fresh home made bread and jams. Cosy garden with great views. Also offers sturdy, well-maintained bungalows with private bathrooms. Cheapest rooms (250 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. Accommodation: 250-2,000 baht.
  • Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guesthouse, Chiang Dao (across the street from the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel), +66 84 1739975, [5]. 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. Guest house has 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. Bar 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). (N19 22.369,E98 57.964)
  • 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.
  • The Star, 385 m. 7 chaingdao chaingdao chaingmai 50170 (Across from the Tesco Lotus Express + 7-11). 10 - 24. This place is cute, clean, and fun. The staff are super friendly. It's great patio atmosphere right on the main road - perfect for cooling off and people watching. Delicious food, cold beer, liquor, free Wi-Fi.


Drink

Restaurants and guest houses are the places to drink in Chiang Dao. There are also several karaoke bars scattered throughout the town.

Sleep

  • Chiang Dao Hut, +66 87 2081269 (), [6]. 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. 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. 380 baht (low-season)-580 baht (high).
  • Nature Home. A nice, quiet place, offering nice rooms with private bath. The owners are a local couple who speak no English but are very friendly. If you are lucky, you might get some kind of free breakfast in the morning. 400 baht.

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/Guest House, 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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