A Day Trip to Chiang Dao, Thailand
In Thailand’s northern region, the islands and beaches of the south are replaced with rugged mountains, fast-flowing rivers and misty valleys. The area is popular with travellers looking for a tranquil experience, far-flung from the urban chaos of Bangkok. The lush terrain of the north is home to hill tribes, stunning ancient temples and an abundance of outdoor activities.
Nestled in this leafy mountain landscape – and a few hours north of the region’s largest city, Chiang Mai – is the picturesque town of Chiang Dao. Remote, yet nevertheless easily accessible from Chiang Mai by car or bus, the area offers the perfect opportunity to escape the city and embark upon a unique day-trip.
Explore the Chiang Dao Caves
Descend into the depths of the earth and explore the sacred Chiang Dao Caves. Of the 12km expanse of caves, two routes are open to the public and both showcase stalactites and stalagmites of geological splendour. Take a walk through the 200m long main cavern; a wide, well-lit space, scattered with shrines and an impressive gold-leaf statue of a sleeping Buddha. More adventurous travellers may opt to take the second route: a guided 725m trek deep into the caves. Crawl, squeeze and clamber through dark and eerie tunnels lit only by your personal torch and the guide’s own gas lantern, and witness a wider array of shrines and spectacular rock formations of limestone and crystal.
Take a Dip in the Hot Springs
After a morning in the dark, confined spaces underground, visit the Chiang Dao Hot Springs, located in the beautifully secluded forest of Chiang Dao National Park, 30 minutes’ drive north of the town. Bathe in the naturally heated pools that maintain a tropical temperature of around 51 – 58˚C, or take a plunge in the single cold spring, all of which are enclosed by a jungle of palms and shrubs; a truly luxurious geothermal experience. The springs are complete with showers and lockers and lie just a few kilometres from another site of natural beauty, the Sri Sungwan Waterfalls.
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