Chiang Dao

The main feature of Chiang Dao is Doi Chang Dao, you can’t miss it, and at 2225 metres, its Thailand’s third highest peak. It completely dominates the area.

Chiang Dao is a district to the north of Chiang Mai’s provincial capital, reached by bus or car in 60 minutes. Doi Chang Dao and the surrounding countryside are without doubt one of the highlights of Chiang Mai and Thailand as a whole. There are caves and a temple set on the side of the mountain that are well worth a visit, here you will also find a number of nature style resorts where you can either chill out or explore the surrounding countryside.

The city centre is located just off the main highway (road 107), and has a rustic feel to it with some old style wooden shops still intact. Most of the locals are hard-working farmers, so the town can seem sleepy during the daytime as everyone is in the surrounding countryside. Everything springs to life briefly in the evening as everybody returns from work and fill up the local markets, by 9pm the place resembles a ghost town as the locals grab an early night for the early start the next day. If you are a fan of early morning markets, you better be quick, the one in Chiang Dao starts at 3am and is shut by 8am.

Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary

Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area covering doi Chiang Dao and the immediate area. The entrance is located near the caves and if you follow the twisty mountain road, some 200km later you will eventually end up in Pai. There are hill tribe villages along the way, some of which you can stay the night or just pop in for some locally farmed coffee.

Chiang dao wildlife sanctuaryRabiang Dao homestay in Chiang Dao wildlife sanctuary

The access road is most suited for 4wd vehicles, however it is possible to drive some of the way in a normal road car. Along the twisty mountain road, you will experience breathtaking views of the dramatic Doi Chiang Dao.

How to get to Chiang Dao

Chiang Dao is located just off highway 107, which is the main road heading north out of Chiang Mai City. The journey by car or motorbike takes around 1 hour, but allow a bit extra if you plan to stop along the way.

If you plan on exploring the wildlife sanctuary, at least an overnight stay is recommended to fully appreciate the area. To get to the wildlife Sanctuary, follow highway 107, just before you get to Chiang Dao town (coming from Chiang Mai direction), you will see a sign for Chiang Dao Caves on the left, along with a whole host of other signs for resorts and homestays. Take the left turn and keep on going for another 3-4km. The sanctuary headquarters are after the caves and temple.

Photo Tour – Chiang Dao

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