Hi! Could anyone advise on the best way to get from Chiang Dao to Mae Salong, either by bus or mini van or sawng thaew? Do I have to go through Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai or is there a more direct route? Thanks!
#1ambersaffron has been a member since 14/6/2011. Posts: 24
You'll need to make your way to Tha Ton , via Fang , and then catch a songthaew up to Mae Salong. In his last update, the Northern Thailand writer said that Tha Ton-to-Mae Salong songthaews "run between 08:00 and 12:30 and depart from a small songthaew station around 500 metres east of the bridge." In Tha Ton, "the bridge" means the main one spanning the Kok River. Tha Ton is a good place to spend a night if you miss that last songthaew.
He also wrote in the Chiang Dao guide that orange local buses depart northwards to Fang every half-hour from 07:00 to 18:30 (there are also minibuses), with one in every four (or so) of these buses continuing east from Fang to Tha Ton. However, "more often than not you’ll have to change from the orange bus to a yellow songthaew for the last stretch from Mae Ai Market to Tha Ton." So you may be best off just taking an early bus to Fang out of Chiang Dao and then transferring to a Tha Ton-bound bus or songthaew in Fang -- these run frequently during daylight hours.
Mae Salong is a remote destination that, as far as I know, can only be reached directly by public transport (songthaew in both cases) from Tha Ton and Mae Chan, which itself can be reached from Chiang Rai town. Bringing motion sickness pills is a good idea, just in case.
Also worth mentioning, in case you're heading to Chiang Rai after Mae Salong, you could backtrack to Tha Ton and catch a public boat down the Kok River -- the scenery is splendid and there are very, very few public boats running river routes like this in Thailand.
#2DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,344