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Hang Dong

Travel Guide

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If you're leaving Chiang Mai in a southwest direction, under your own steam, there are two possible options: the main route 108 to Hang Dong or the canal road running closer to the foot of Doi Suthep, heading off from Ton Payon Market, just before the University area.

The former is faster and is the one public transport will use but it's a busy six lane highway so not so pleasant if you're tootling along on your bicycle or Honda Dream. It leads past the airport and the huge Tesco Lotus store and heads west lined by furniture and home decor outlets. If you do have the choice it's better to grab a bite to eat or a local coffee at the fascinating Ton Payon Market then head along the quieter and more scenic canal road towards Hang Dong. (Both routes meet up some 10 kms out of town just short of Hang Dong itself anyway.)

The canal road has some pleasing views of the Doi Suthep range in-between all the road side luxury housing developments and you'll pass by the Chiang Mai Speedway if carting is your thing? Past the Speedway is a crossroads with the left turn leading down to join 108 and the right turn heading into the hills towards Samoeng. Level with Hang Dong Town on this parallel route is the turn off for Ob Khan National Park.

Hang Dong town, (or suburb to be strictly accurate), is a popular trip out from Chiang Mai City with the vast handicraft market of Ban Tawai and plentiful coffee shops. Hang Dong and surrounding hamlets began life as wood carving villages and after years of supplying Chiang Mai stores and night bazaar outlets have now become shopping destinations in their own right for both locals and tourists, supplying everything from hill-tribe kitsch dolls to sophisticated modern or traditional style designer furniture and object's d'art. Buy a small souvenir and stick it in your backpack or purchase a new dining room table and chairs and head for one of the numerous shipping agents abounding in and around the market. It's an interesting place for a wander and there are plenty of cafes and coffee shops if you're shopped out.

To reach Ban Tawai market head into the centre of Hang Dong where the food market and banks are and turn left at the traffic lights. Furniture and wood carving shops start straight away and continue almost non-stop for a couple of kilometres where you'll reach the main Ban Tawai section.

Hang Dong is still firmly expat territory so you'll also see hamburger and pizza joints out here dotted around, plus an outlet of Chiang Mai's expat supermarket chain Rimping if you want to stock up on Western snacks for your journey.

If you're continuing south on route 108, next stop is Sanpatong.

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Text and/or map last updated on 4th November, 2009.

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