Chiang Dao

Remote Chiang Dao, Chiang Dao District Chiang Mai Thailand Published on: 08-06-2016

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Chiang Dao is in a valley north of Chiang Mai between green mountains. Its main attractions are the Chiang Dao Cave and the Pha Daeng National Park.

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Why Chiang Dao is special ?

Chiang Dao was a smaller city state (mueang) in the northern Thai Lan Na kingdom. As part of the thesaphiban administrative reforms at the end of the 19th century it was made a district in Chiang Mai Province. Originally a minor district (king amphoe), it was upgraded to a full district in 1908.

A district of Chiang Mai province, Chiang Dao refers to the main regional town, the huge limestone massif that overlooks it, and the neighbouring wildlife sanctuary as well. Dao means star in Thai — the mountain is so high it’s supposed to be on the same level as the stars themselves. While the district is large – starting at Mae Taeng, just north of Chiang Mai, it extends all the way to the Burmese border at Arunothai and west and east to Wiang Haeng and Phrao respectively — the town is small. The “city of stars” lies around 80 kilometres due north of Chiang Mai city and an equal distance from Fang.


What to explore at Chiang Dao?

In a lush, jungle setting in the shadow of a mighty limestone mountain, Chiang Dao is where expats and Chiang Mai's growing middle classes come to escape the heat of the plains. It gets cooler still as you leave the village and climb towards the summit of Doi Chiang Dao (2175m). The forest is a popular stop for birders and trekkers, and at the base of the mountain is a highly venerated wát marking the entrance to one of Thailand's deepest limestone caverns.


How to get to Chiang Dao?

From Chiang Mai, Hwy 107 runs 72 km north to Chiang Dao and then on to Fang and Thaton. The nearest major airport and railway station are in Chiang Mai. A metered, air conditioned taxi will cost about 1,000-1,200 baht one-way.

By bus

Every half hour from 06:00-18:00, buses and songthaews run south to Chiang Mai (40 baht) and north to Fang (40 baht). They can be flagged down anywhere alongside the highway.

Six buses per day also run from Chiang Mai to Thaton via Chiang Dao. 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 to a resort.


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5.0 days
235.13 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
14 places




Chiang Dao, Chiang Dao District Chiang Mai Thailand

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Tips for you

  • 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.
  • Don't miss the Tuesday Morning Market, (downtown Chiang Dao on Hwy 107). Colourful displays, local and hill tribe goods and many great deals.
  • For those who like trekking, 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.
    Things to do
  • Chiang Dao Cave is the best-known attraction here, offering 12 km of stalactite-laden caves, although only five of the caverns are accessible to the public.
    What to see

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