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Our Ultimate Guide to Your Chiang Dao Journey and Why a Weekend Getaway May Not Be Enough

Our Ultimate Guide to Your Chiang Dao Journey and Why a Weekend Getaway May Not Be Enough!

If you’re in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, then you can do yourself a huge favor by dropping by at nearby Chiang Dao. One caveat: this quaint little town may need more than just a weekend to grab all the roaring adventure it offers. 

I found endless inspiration in the Chang Dao mountains. At just over 2,000 feet (more than that and I’d faint), the views from these limestone mountain ranges are epic, allowing me to have some needed me-time to take a breather. 

Well, not everything clicked in our climb. Many of my colleagues ended up having micro-bruises on their arms fending off tall bushes and low-hanging branches of apparently barren trees.  

But, we had the time of our lives! And guess what? We’re letting you in on all of the most amazing adventures we’ve had while visiting Chiang Dao, so read on!

Things to Know

Currency: Thai Baht
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai (Central Thai)

Calling Code: (+66)

Location: Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Nearest Airport: Chiang Mai International Airport (88.4 km)

Best Time to Visit Chiang Dao

It’s best to visit Chiang Dao from November to January to experience optimal weather conditions for exploration. During these cool and dry months, you can enjoy all sorts of sights and activities within the district throughout the day.

Moreover, this lets you also avoid the smokey season from February to May which negatively affects Chiang Dao’s air condition and scenery.

How to Get to Chiang Dao

Rental Car: The best way to get to Chiang Dao from Bangkok is to drive a rental car, as long as you don’t mind the 10-hour travel duration. Of course, you also need a driver’s license and an International Driving Permit to rent a vehicle.

From Thailand’s capital city, drive north through Highway 347, Highway 32, and Highway 1 until you reach Lampang. Afterward, head north via Highway 11 to reach Chiang Mai City and continue via Highway 107 until you reach Chiang Dao District.

Bus: A cheaper way to get to Chiang Dao from Bangkok is to catch a daily bus to Chiang Mai City. These buses depart from Mochit Bus Terminal every 4 hours and can take you there in 9 to 10 hours.

Once you arrive at Chiang Mai City, you can catch another bus at the Chang Phueak Bus Terminal that can take you directly to Chiang Dao District. This bus ride should take up to 2 hours to complete.

Plane: If you want to get to Chiang Dao from Bangkok faster, booking a flight to Chiang Mai International Airport is your best option. After all, the plane ride only takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Afterward, you can just board a bus from Chiang Mai’s Chang Phueak Bus Terminal to Chiang Dao District. Or you can hire an airport taxi if you’re okay paying for a more expensive ride and if you want to avoid the commute to the city center.

Where to Stay in Chiang Dao

Azalea Village Wellness Resort & Residence

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Address: 168 Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in) & 12 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 53 456 168


Prices: ฿฿

Azalea Village Wellness Resort & Residence is a laid-back hotel at the heart of Chiang Dao Town. That makes it ideal if you want affordable accommodation close to the bus terminal, so you get quick access to the popular attractions within the district.

This lakeside hotel also has a lush garden with charming wooden pathways, so it’s perfect if you enjoy walking around and taking photos for Instagram. But that’s not all because you can also see Doi Chiang Dao’s cloudy peak from this hotel.

Moreover, Azalea Village Wellness Resort & Residence has a large outdoor pool, so it’s perfect if you’re vacationing with family and friends.

Chiang Dao Reset

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Address: 569 Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in) & 11 a.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 89 191 5066


Prices: ฿฿

This hotel is a solid pick if you want a tranquil place with a spacious garden where you can stroll around during your stay. They even let you use their bicycles for free which is great if you want to explore the area in the morning.

It’s also worth noting that Chiang Dao Reset has charming wooden bungalow-style rooms which are also great if you value privacy. Aside from that, this place has a small outdoor pool with a few sun loungers where you can laze under the sun during the day. 

Just know that it’s not suitable for multiple guests, so it’s best to use it when nobody else is around.

The Campian

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Address: 502 Village 1, Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in) & 11 a.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 65 232 3639


Prices: ฿฿฿

The Campian is a lovely private resort tucked away on the outskirts of Chiang Dao, so it’s ideal for couples who want to enjoy a quiet and intimate atmosphere. Their bungalows and villas are even separated by grass fences for added privacy.

That also means you get a sizable garden with an outdoor hot tub where you can enjoy a romantic time with your boo and with Doi Chiang Dao as your stunning backdrop. Breakfast and dinner are also included in room packages, so you’re covered for food.

Where to Eat in Chiang Dao

Jerns Chiang Dao

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Address: 55, 2, Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 64 697 4566


Prices: ฿฿

Jerns Chiang Dao is well-known for its great selection of Western-style food options. This includes burgers, steaks, grilled sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and tortillas.

They even have fusion pasta dishes like tom yum spaghetti and stir-fried spaghetti basil if you’re up for some Thai and Italian flavor combinations. However, our favorite was their chunky and juicy beef burger which they serve with thick-cut fries.

Plus, you can upgrade it with numerous add-on options like grilled pineapple, avocado, pickle, onion ring, bacon, and BBQ wings.

Chai Cafe

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Address: Bhan Tham, Moo 5, Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Wednesday – Monday)

Contact Number: +66 81 027 3519


Prices: ฿

This humble cafe in Chiang Dao is excellent for tourists looking for a budget-friendly breakfast and brunch spot. Chai Cafe specializes in affordable breakfast items and good-quality coffee, so it’s the best place to start your day.

They serve Thai and Western-style breakfast options which is great if you like variety. Think eggs & sausages, french toast, sandwiches, omelets, pancakes, and fried rice or fried noodles with chicken or pork meat.

However, their standout menu item is their aromatic and rich cafe latte which they make using freshly roasted coffee beans sourced from nearby local farms. The owner even adds cutesy art which is unique per customer.


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Address: Soi 25, Moo 6, Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 89 559 0409


Prices: ฿฿

Velar is a trendy fusion restaurant that offers a scenic view of Chiang Dao Town and its surrounding lush greeneries. That makes it the ideal place to go for a relaxed dining experience with a variety of Asian-style food options to choose from.

This includes Japanese-style hotpot, matcha tea, tonkatsu, and Korean Bingsu. Our favorite was their signature shabu shabu set which includes a rich hotpot broth, tofu, sliced pork loin, sliced pork belly, sliced pork shoulder, salmon sashimi, and more.

This hotpot set can be customized for up to 6 guests, so it’s perfect even if you plan to dine alone or have friends over.

What to See and Do in Chiang Dao

Visit Wat Tham Chiang Dao’s cave temple

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Address: 273, Moo 5, Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 97 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Daily)

Admission Costs: Free

Wat Tham Chiang Dao, more famously known as Chiang Dao Cave, is one of the most popular Buddhist temples in the district. It’s a cave temple, so expect to see shrines and Buddha images inside its vast cave system.

That makes it ideal for tourists who want to see numerous stalactites, stalagmites, and other jagged rock formations. Aside from that, this place has a tranquil temple complex with a charming lake which is perfect if you like to walk around.

You’ll also find a gilded prayer hall, ordination hall, and massive gong, so there are plenty of photo opportunities during your visit.

Climb Wat Tham Pha Plong’s winding staircase

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Address: 139, Moo 5, Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 24/7

Contact Number: +66 53 456 604


Admission Costs: Free

If you’re a temple and nature enthusiast, this jungle temple is certainly a must-visit during your Chiang Dao trip. In fact, it’s also worth checking out if you enjoy hiking since the temple has a 500-step staircase surrounded by lush greeneries.

Moreover, this staircase is packed with Buddhist proverbs which makes it ideal for tourists seeking knowledge and inspiration. You’ll even see numerous wildlife, plantlife, and a stream during your ascent, so it’s also a good way to spend time with nature.

Once you reach the top, you’ll find a golden stupa with an extended spire and two ornate Naga statues. Visitors come here to pray and pay their respects, so expect to see a golden Buddha image and a statue dedicated to Luangpo Sim Phuttajaro.

Hike to Doi Chiang Dao’s summit

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Address: Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 24/7

Costs: Free

For hiking enthusiasts, a trip to Chiang Dao isn’t complete without climbing this scenic mountain peak. It’s 2,175 meters high, so expect to see a lot of wildlife and plant life as you traverse its steep nature trails.

The mountain’s trail is straightforward and there’s a campsite along the way which is great for beginners. Just be prepared to hike through a lush forest trail and encounter numerous limestone formations.

Doi Chiang Dao is one of the highest mountains in Chiang Mai, so expect a stunning panoramic view once you reach the summit.

Explore Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary

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Address: 273, Moo 5, Chiang Dao Sub-district

Operating Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 63 651 5181


Admission Costs: 200 baht

This nature reserve is the place to go if you’re planning an animal spotting trip in Chiang Dao. Here, you can explore a dense protected jungle with lush hiking trails and plenty of local plant life and wildlife.

That’s why it’s popular among hikers and birdwatchers who frequent Chiang Dao. In fact, this sanctuary is known for its over 360 recorded bird species, which makes it one of the best birdwatching spots in the entire Chiang Mai Province.

That makes it ideal for nature enthusiasts who enjoy snapping photos of rare and exotic bird species.

Check out Sri Sangwan Waterfall’s gentle cascades

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Address: Mueang Na

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: 100 baht

Pha Daeng National Park’s Sri Sangwan Waterfall is one of the more relaxing spots you can visit in Chiang Dao. It has small and gentle cascades which are soothing to watch and listen to, so it’s perfect for tourists who want to spend time away from huge crowds.

It even has a nearby cafe with a charming wooden deck where you can get your caffeine fix while enjoying the waterfall’s sight and atmosphere. That makes it the ideal place to spend your days off with family and friends.

Moreover, this waterfall creates small pools suitable for swimming, so we think it’s definitely a fun place to bring kids with you.

Look around the King Naresuan Stupa

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Address: Mueang Ngai

Operating Hours: 24/7

Contact Number: +66 80 672 8850

Admission Costs: Free

This stupa is one of the most important attractions in Chiang Dao, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in town. It’s dedicated to King Naresuan The Great of the  16th-century Ayutthaya Kingdom who is revered in Thailand to this day.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll enjoy investigating the stupa’s intricate carvings which depict the king’s war campaign against the Burmese. You’ll even see statues of King Naresuan donning his battle clothes or riding a war elephant.

This area is also a park, so expect to see plenty of locals strolling around and jogging.

Admire the scenery at the Buachompoo Organic Farm

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Address: 363 Mae Na

Operating Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 89 946 3565


Admission Costs: Free

Buachompoo Organic Farm, also known as Pink Lotus Garden, is the place to go for pleasant strolls in Chiang Dao. This scenic community garden has colorful flowerbeds and a lotus-filled lake, so it’s definitely one of the best picnic spots in the district.

Aside from the numerous photo opportunities this place offers, there are plenty of activities to enjoy as well. Think arts and crafts, tea-tasting, and shopping for local products and souvenirs.

This place also has a cafe where you can buy tea packs, cooked meals, and iced tea. We absolutely loved sipping fresh flower tea while enjoying the beautiful garden view.

FAQs about Chiang Dao

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