Chiang Dao (เชียงดาว) is a town in Northern Thailand.
Chiang Dao ( Piang Dao the first name of the village meaning level of the stars. now commonly called city of the stars) lies above the Menam Ping gorge on the green slopes of Doi Chiang Dao mountain. Limestone peaks reaching a height of 2186 m (7174 ft) make Chiang Dao an impressive area. Chiang Dao village is a quiet little picturesque area, with a quaint Northern Thailand feel, the week is broken up by a tuesday hill tribe market, where you can see many of the twelve local hill tribes coming down to do their weekly shopping.
Chiang Dao is 72 km north of Chiang Mai on Highway 107 to Fang and Tha Ton.
The nearest major airport is in Chiang Mai. A metered, air conditioned taxi will cost about 1000 - 1200 Baht one-way (~$35US).
The easiest and cheapest way to get in and out of Chiang Dao, is to stay next to, or near Highway 107. Anywhere along side the highway, one can wave down a bus or Songtheaw to either go towards Chiang Mai (40 Baht), or Fang (40 Baht). Buses run quite often (between 6am - 6pm 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 ofter better than getting off at the Chiang Dao bus stop, where Sontheaw drivers charge 100 Baht or more to take you one-way to a resort.
Most guesthouses can arrange motorcycles for rent for around 200-300 baht/day. This is is the cheapest option 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.
- Chiang Dao Cave (Tham Chiang Dao) is the best-known attraction here, offering 12 kilometers of stalactite-laden caves — although only five of the caverns are accessible to the public. Entry 10 baht. You can tour the lighted part of the cave alone, or hire a guide with a lantern to view the unlit caverns.
Waterfall in Chiang Dao National Park
The town of Chiang Dao is adjacent to Chiang Dao National Park , which covers over 1000 sq.km. of the stunning craggy mountains in the area, including Doi Chiang Dao itself (2225m). 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.
- 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, priced at roughly 1000 baht/person/day all-inclusive.
- Doi Luang Chiang Dao is a wonderful two day mountain trip for experienced hikers.
Every Tuesday the town has a market with many hilltribe people coming down to trade.
Star Cafe. Just beside the 7-11 in the middle of Chiang Dao village, offers clean and tasty food, catering for western style Thai foods ( Not too Spicy). at a good price in pleasant surroundings, now with free internet and wifi for patrons.
Take Cafe, Japanese restaurant, Run by a Japanese gentleman and his wife on the road between Chiang dow village and the cave very reasonably prices, jovial host and enjoyable budget Japanese food.
Mallee's Nature Resort. Close to Chiang Dao Cave. Reasonably priced selection of local Thai and some western foods, makes a great breakfast with fresh home made bread and jams. (Next to Chiang Dao Nest)
- Mon and Kurt's Thai-German Restaurant (on the old Chiang Dao - Fang highway, 2.5km after the Chiang Dao 7-11 in the Fang direction, on the right hand side) +66-841739975  - big variety of European, North American and Thai food. Thai mains ~50 baht, European dishes ~100 baht. Apparently closed at the moment until October 2009 according to their website.
Update.... Closed down, the couple say they are leaving Thailand
- Chiang Dao Nest (western food) and Chiang Dao Nest 2 (Thai food) Take highway 107 North from Chiang Mai towards Fang (Chang Puak Gate from the old city) , At 72km, in Chiang Dao town ,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.
Cafe Cafe is the place to go if you like sports. The owner broadcasts football games and sometimes Auto racing. Good coffee!
There are also a few Thai Karaoke Bars in and around Chiang Dao, for those who are a little more adventerous.
Update.....Cafe Cafe has closed down
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.
- Mon and Kurt's Thai-German Restaurant, +66-841739975  [email protected] has a large, cozy, teak private room with a fan for 190 baht/night. Shared bathroom and hot shower, towels and clean bedding provided, and great food in the restaurant and good fresh coffee. Beautiful mountain view from the restaurant, UBC TV, 7 baht/minute international calls and Internet access. A popular place for local expats as well as people on day trips from Chiang Mai.
They also have a furnished house for rent, with full kitchen, two bedrooms and dining room, in a quiet location for 650 Baht per night, 2500 Baht per week
Closed at the moment ( November 2008 )
- Chiang Dao Nest, +66-60171985  run by English/Thai couple Stuart and Wicha is a self-proclaimed mini-resort with views of the mountains around and Thai/Western food. 11 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.
- Nature Home, is a nice and quiet place, offers nice rooms with private bathrooms for 400 baht/night. The owners are a local couple that speaks no English, but is very friendly. If you are lucky, you might get some kind of breakfast for free in the morning.
- Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows, +66-53456426  is a nice and quiet place set up in 1995 offers bamboo rooms with private bathrooms. Family and honeymoon suits are also available. The location offers views of the surrounding mountains. It is located right next to the above mentioned Chiang Dao Nest.
- Chiang Dao Hut,+66-872081269 [email protected] 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.
- Baan Krating Chiang Dao, Highway 107 Km. 63, +66-19520067  is a "boutique resort" with 10 villas on the banks of the Ping River, 10 km to the south of town. Each villa has air-con, attached bathroom, terrace, and costs from 900 baht/night low season, from 1200 baht/night high season.