Chiang Dao is stunningly beautiful and makes for a perfect weekend escape from Chiang Mai or a stop-off point if you are en route to explore further north. The town of Chiang Dao is a bustling place, with a vibrant local market, coffee shops, and restaurants. The surrounding area and Pha Daeng National Park (formerly Chiang Dao) are popular for walking, hiking, and its local attractions. Explore the Chiang Dao Caves; soak in the local hot springs, or walk to the stunningly beautiful jungle temple, Wat Tham Pha Plong. There are also various hill tribe villages to explore as well as elephant sanctuaries and an array of wildlife to discover. A trip to Chiang Dao will leave you refreshed, inspired and likely coming back for more.
Where to stay
There are numerous accommodation options in Chiang Dao, from cheap bungalows to high-end resorts. Stay at the Chiang Dao Nest or Chiang Dao Hut Resort to be close to the Chiang Dao Caves, Wat Tham Pha Plong, hot springs and popular hiking trails. For a special treat, head to the Chiang Dao Nest 1 for their Thursday barbeque where a spread of salads, grilled vegetables, seafood and meats will cure any international food cravings. For those looking for a luxurious break, opt to stay at the Chiang Kham Lung Resort.
How to get there
Chiang Dao is approximately a 1.5-hour drive from Chiang Mai and is easy to get to by motorbike, bus or private car. In Chiang Mai, there are numerous places where you can rent a motorbike for a few days. The cost to hire one depends on what type you choose; for a simple scooter, expect to pay roughly 200 Thai baht per day (US$6.50). For those who prefer the bus, hop on a local bus from Chiang Phueak Bus Station.