Photo: Spectacular.

Doi Luang and Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary

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The spectacular and rugged limestone massif of Doi Luang, often simply called Doi Chang Dao, is officially Thailand’s third highest peak at some 2,225 metres (figures do vary slightly) and the hike to the summit is one of the area’s most popular activities.

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It can be done as a one-day hike or a two-day trip including a night camping. Leaving early, one day is sufficient for most reasonably fit hikers (count eight hours), though the attraction of the two-day version—apart from camping overnight on the mountain—is being able to catch dawn from the summit.

The peak is often clouded in. Photo taken in or around Doi Luang and Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, Chiang Dao, Thailand by Mark Ord.

The peak is often clouded in. Photo: Mark Ord

Ascents are strictly controlled by the park authorities and while we have seen numerous accounts of visitors doing the trek unaccompanied, guides are officially compulsory. There are some very steep sections and though the trail may seem easy enough in fine weather conditions can change very quickly at 2,000 metres. Local guides aren’t expensive—especially when split between a few people—and they rely on this for their livelihood. Furthermore, they can point out flora, fauna and features en-route and disobeying park regulations isn’t going to look good on your insurance claim if you do have a problem. All in all then we strongly recommend sticking to park rules.

There is a 200 baht per person park entrance fee and in addition to organising a guide and potentially overnight camping gear and supplies you also require transport to the trail-head which is located around sixteen kilometres from town on the Muang Khong road. (A pick-up transfer goes for 1,000-1,200 baht and guides around 500 per day.) However the Wildlife Sanctuary office, where you register for treks and book guides and transport, is situated at the end of the lane leading past Chiang Dao Nest at the foot of the steps climbing up to Wat Tham Pla Plong. Suffice to say then that getting someone else to organise the trip for you is by far the simplest ... Travelfish members only (Around 600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Doi Luang and Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
Park office: At the end of the prolongation of Chiang Dao Cave road past The Nest and at the foot of Wat Tham Pla Plong, Ban Tham, Chiang Dao
T: (053) 456 623 

Location map for Doi Luang and Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary

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Popular attractions in Chiang Dao

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Chiang Dao.

Best places to stay in Chiang Dao

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Chiang Dao.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Dao.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Chiang Dao.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Chiang Dao.
 Read up on how to get to Chiang Dao, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Chiang Dao? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Chiang Dao? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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