Chiang Dao

Chiang Dao

Caves and mountains

Lying less than 75 kilometres north of Chiang Mai City and set amid bucolic mountain scenery, the town of Chiang Dao has long been considered a contender to rival Mae Hong Son’s tourist Mecca of Pai.

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Scenery-wise and in terms of sites it is right up there and remarkably Chiang Dao is said to be the only Thai district where all of the six main hill-tribe groups. (Akha, Hmong, Karen, Lahu, Lisu and Yao), are represented, yet, perhaps luckily, the hordes have just failed to materialise.

The impressive Chiang Dao peak. : Mark Ord.
The impressive Chiang Dao peak. Photo: Mark Ord

Some locals point to the town’s layout which in contrast to cosy, compact Pai sees existing tourist facilities split between the town itself—laid out along the side of a long straight main street—and Ban Tham a few kilometres distant by the famous caves. The two are separated by a new 4-lane bypass while the scenic and virtually undeveloped Ping riverside lies beyond town to the east. If these disparate elements could be grouped into a compact and convenient little package then you would have more chance of a budding Pai 2 but geography obliges and for now, tourism in Chiang Dao advances at a slow pace.

Despite the dashed dreams of some local entrepreneurs, so much the better for those who do make it up here and it is precisely the un-commercialism of the town that provides ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,600 words.)

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