Chiang Dao (เชียงดาว) is a town in Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand.
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. Chiang Dao is the third highest mountain in Thailand. The village is a quiet little picturesque area, with a quaint northern Thailand feel. It’s located in Chiang Dao national park. Chiang Dao is cover by fog almost of the year and temperature is always cool in winter and rainy season.
Chiang Dao is 72 km north of Chiang Mai on Hwy 107 to Fang and Thaton (Thailand).
Suvanphum airport and Don-meung airport has a Domestic airline that goes to Chiang-mai international airport. Take taxi meter to the airport, it cost around 500-600 bath for one way. The nearest major airport is in Chiang Mai. A metered, air conditioned taxi will cost about 1,000-1,200 baht one-way.
From Chiang Mai: There are buses six times daily from Chiang Mai to Thaton, which stop at Chiang Dao along the way. 90 minutes, 40 baht (February 2018). Buses run quite often (between 06:00-18:00 every half hour). From the airport, take a bus or songtheaw outside the airport to Chang-peuk, it will cost about 20 baths. Then get the bus in the direction of Tha Ton or Fang for 40 bath.
From Tha Ton: The large orange buses travel from Tha Ton to Chiang Dao (on the way to Chiang Mai) regularly. They stop briefly in Fang along the way (for long enough that you can jump out and buy a bag of delicious strawberries for 10 baht, but make sure to buy two! We bought just the one and regretted it within 15 minutes). From Tha Ton to Chiang Dao the fare was 63 baht in February 2018.
Coming from either direction, you'll be dropped at the bus station on the main road. If you're staying up near the caves, at the many small guesthouse and resorts clustered in this upper valley, a songthaew up there will cost 150 baht (February 2018), so try to connect with other travelers at the bus station to share the cost.
From Chiang-mai airport, A metered taxi to Chiangdao will cost about 1200-1500 baht.
You can go by your car. Chiang-dao district is far from Bangkok about 786 km and takes time to go there about 10 hours 36 minutes by estimate.
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.
- 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 Taking 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 heavier bikes with street tires.
- Makhampon art center. . Very welcoming and laid back place to chill for an afternoon as well as enjoy creative installation made from recycled material. The Makhanpom art center is located +1 km from the city center and seeks to build theater as people’s media. The center holds a series of workshops and normally have circus lessons over the weekend. In low season you can even stay at their guesthouse.
- <see name="Baan rabiangdao" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">. It is one of the best places to see the landscape in Doi Luang Chaing-dao. You can go there to see the beautiful sight with sunrise and sunset. Go to drink coffee and waiting for sunrise in the morning and see many stars in the sky at night.
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 one or 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.
- Getting there: The peak is accessible on foot. At the Park Headquarters (head to Wildlife Sanctuary), guides, porters, and chartered transfers to the starting point of the trail are available. A rented local truck costs around 1200 baht and a porter is 300 baht per person (plus 200 bath ticket for the park). There are a lot of Thai people group going there, just ask to share the vehicle with them. There are no tourist facilities on Chiang Dao mountain. Visitors must bring their own sleeping bags, food, and water. If you are fit you can climb up and down in one day. It is advisable that you start early, as it takes approximately 45 minutes to drive to the start point, about 7 hours of walking, plus some time to stop and enjoy the views! It will cost 200 baht to enter the national park and 30 baht per vehicle. Beware: a guide for the trail is not necessary, however, the staff at the checkpoint may refuse you entry without one if they are aware you are planning on doing the trek. 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, . 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.
- Chiang Dao Nest Tours and Trekking, . 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chai Cafe, (in upper Chiang Dao, after the caves but before you reach Chiang Dao Nest). Excellent coffee and tea, very good western-style breakfasts and Thai food. Only open for breakfast and lunch, not dinner. Run by a lovely Thai/Japanese couple who are wonderful to chat with, and a lovely space.
- 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, . 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, . 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.
- Chiang Dao Saloon, previously named Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guesthouse, Chiang Dao (across the street from the Chiang Dao Inn Hotel), ☎ +66 84 1739975, . 11:00-22:00, Tu-Su. Mon, the owner, serves delicious Western, Thai, and vegetarian food. 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. Conveniently located at the first class (Bangkok) bus stop. 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.). (N19 22.369,E98 57.964)
- 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.
- Black Cat Vacation Rental, 280 Moo 12 Chiang Dao (5 km from ChiangDao Cave just across Rt 107), ☎ 0932148123 or 0844867190, . Black Cat Vacation rental serves thai and european cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. A great place to gather around the nightly campfire and share with friends old and new. Sirine the vivacious owner speaks fluent English.
- The Cave Coffee & Bar, 273/3 Moo 5, Chaing Dao, Chiang Mai (Between Chiang Dao cave to Pha Daeng National Park). 12.00-01.00. The Cave Coffee & Bar is a brand new bar. The one and only bar in Chiang Dao town, located in between Chiang Dao Cave to Pha Daeng National Park. A perfect meeting place to chill out and have fun, relaxing atmosphere on the foot of Mount Chiang Dao. Offering a wide selection of music. Enjoy free Wi-Fi to stay connected while you chill. Pool table and Darts also available. Make sure to have a chat with the bartender. (19.400259,98.928974)
- Microkosmos Thai Craft Beer, 259 Moo 12 Chiang Dao (On the crossroads of highway 107 and the Cave area, right from Black Cat), ☎ 085 992 7005, . 12 - late. This bar specializes in Thai Craft Beers. At the moment of writing they have over 30+ Thai Crafts in stock. Owned by a friendly couple that speaks good english. The place to be if you like craft beer and want to taste something new.
- Suan Buachompoo Na Jomkiree (Organic Farm Stay), 363 Moo 3 Mae Na A. Chiang Dao 50170, ☎ +66813456717 ([email protected]), . checkin: Before 5 PM; checkout: Before 2 PM. Organic rice Veggie & Strawberry farm stay with spectacular Doi Luang scenic view. Nicely located at Jom kiree village surrounded by mountains. 10 minutes drive from center of Chiang dao. It is naturally beautiful place. Nice and clean free-standing bungalows with portable Fan (800-1200 THB/2 pax) private bathroom , Tent (350THB/pax), Bike available for rent 100b/day, free fast WI FI(13 MB ) at the common area. Free drinking water, Free coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Free organic local breakfast. Friendly and kind staff. Open since August 2015 800-1200 Baht.
- Chiang Dao Hut, ☎ +66 87 2081269 ([email protected]), . Bungalows in a lovely garden setting, run by a young friendly Thai couple who have had many years of hotel experience in Chiang Mai and speak English. There are a number of simple and clean wooden bungalows with fans and shared bathrooms (with 2 loos and 2 hot water showers in separate stalls)(400 baht in February 2018), and two bungalows with attached bathrooms and hot showers. There is a lovely common area in the front to read and linger. Their restaurant is across the street, and offers budget- to mid-range basic Thai and Western food, shakes and coffee, and some regional microbrew beers (160 baht and up). 400-600 baht.
- Nature Home Guesthouse, 233 M.12 Ban Rong Vua, Chiang Dao, . 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. (Camping available with own tent for 100 bath) 550 baht.
- Black Cat Vacation Rental, 280 Moo.12 Chiang Dao, ☎ +66844867190, . A quaint little place with cafe/bar. The owner (Thai) is friendly, very helpful and speaks English. Bicycles are available for rental at 50 baht/day. Rooms are available at 300baht/night with shared bathroom. Hot water available and free coffee and tea whole day. 300.
- Rai Siwavej & Farm Stay, 501 Moo 6 Tambon Chiang Dao Amphur Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50170, ☎ 081-9616590, . checkin: 1:00; checkout: 12:00. This location is a very special farm stay on the southern side of Doi Luang Chiang Dao a few minutes from the hot springs (within walking distance). The Farmstay is composed of 4 acres of serene landscape dotted with fruit trees and private riverfront. There are 6 bungalows which can hold two people each and a dormitory with 5 beds. Included in the price is breakfast, water, coffee, fruit and access to the organic vegetables grown there. There is a fully equipped kitchen you can use for cooking and plenty of places to kick back and relax in the beautiful settings. Bicycles are available for rent 50 B/day Bungalow 500฿/night; Dormitory 250฿/night per bed (Rent the whole building for 1,300฿); Tent 150฿/night.
- Chan and Cees (guest house), 434 Moo 8 A. Chiang Dao (700 meter before the centre of Chiang Dao), ☎ 0897 580450, . checkin: any time; checkout: 12 PM. Small resort.Nicely located just 750 meter from the centre of Chiang Dao.in a very quiet area.Very nice and clean free-standing bungalows with Fan (300 b) private bathroom with hot shower,TV and free fast WI FI(13 MB ) or Bigger A C (400 B) and private bathroom with hot shower TV Free fast ( 13 MB ) WI FI.Free bottle of water,Free map of Chiang Dao And free coffee.Open since March 2006 300/ 400 Baht.
- Microkosmos Homestay and Thai Craft Beers, 259 Moo 12 Chiang Dao (On the crossroads of highway 107 and the Cave area, right from Black Cat), ☎ 085 992 7005. checkin: 12; checkout: 12. Homestay situated between Chiang Dao city and the Cave area. In front there is a Thai craft beer Bar with a huge selection (30+) Thai Craft beers. Modestly priced clean and big private en suite rooms equipped with a bath tub amidst a peaceful and quiet garden. Easy access to either city, hotspring or cave area. Camping available on site around 150thb with tent. Private double around 500thb.
- Athomechiangdao, 253 M5 Chiang Dao 50170, ☎ 0066-815807207, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. A small family run B&B with 7 individually designed cabins set in a stunningly beautiful large tropical garden/orchard offering privacy and great views of Doi Chiang Dao as well easy walking distance to the caves, Cave Bar and Wat Tham Pla Plong. There is an onsight Thai/western restaurant. 950-1800. (19.400155,98.92911)
- Baan rabiangdao. Contact 089-998-0712, 089-903-0083. 55 M5 Chiang dao district Chiandmai 50170. It’s in Chiang dao national park. It’s quite, simply and folkways resort has biggest house that can stay for 6-8 people. It’s cost about 500 bath/person include breakfast and dining.
Orange buses (every hour, 63 baht to Tha Ton and 40 baht to Chiang Mai in February 2018) 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 Chiang Dao Saloon, for Bangkok. Arrives at approximately 05:00 in Bangkok.
Regular 52 seat sleeper bus leaves from in front of Chiang Dao Saloon (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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