With only 2 weeks before we leave CM we thought we should visit a couple of places we haven’t been to before in the north. We packed a small rucksack and set off to Chiang Dao which is 90km away. We have wanted to go since last year.
We set off early and had a lovely trip stopping at a couple of places along the way. The scenery as you get further north gets very mountainous, different to the mountains around Chiang Mai. There are larger verdant valleys, full of crops and small villages bubbling with rural life. There were many enormous Buddhas and stupors glinting gold in the sun sat atop many hills, we stopped and looked at a few. Lots of wows spoken.
We arrived in Chiang Dao and headed for the cave. You have to have a guide (200 baht) who takes you in with a large kerosene lamp which gave an eerie light to the journey inside. Some of the caverns were enormous and some very tight places where you squeezed through really small gaps. We have been in many caves on our travels and without fail the guide always says; this is a horse, or elephant, or snake and they never really look like anything. This one had an elephants lung!!! It was fun and bigger than we thought it would be.
Doi Chiang Dao is one of the biggest mountains in Thailand and the cave is part of the mountain. A friend said to go through the wildlife sanctuary in the National Park which surrounds the mountain and ride all the way to the other side, around the base. It took 2 hours to get to the other side, the scenery was amazing. We stopped for lunch in a tribal village and word must have got out because lots of small children turned up to look at the ‘strange folk’. It was a good lunch and very entertaining surrounded by dogs, cats, chickens and children!!
I don’t think I have the words to describe it but the pictures do. The best scenic 4 hour bike ride ever.
We stayed just below the mountain in a small bungalow on a farm stay by a small river. There were only 3 bungalows, the other 2 had friendly Korean couples in. The bungalow was very simple but perfect and only £10 for the night. Breakfast was an omelette with tomatoes and onions, a large salad which was gorgeous and lots of toast and marmalade. All the produce was from the farm. The picture below is of the owners.
We were heading from Chiang Dao to the Burmese border. We stopped a few miles from the border at a little coffee shop. As we pulled up we could see the girl panic; oh no farang…… this happens a lot. She called her friend who spoke a little English and then relaxed. They are so kind they brought us bananas with our coffee and couldn’t do enough for us. We set off for the border.
There is a road that runs parallel to the border with Myanmar. It twists and turns and some really steep bits where I had to get off and walk to the top of the hill many times. We need a bigger bike!!! There are many hairpin bends and potholes. It made for an interesting ride especially when Chris informed me that the front brake wasn’t too clever. We went slowly which was good to take in the absolutely awesome scenery.
We came across the highest campsite in Thailand with the most breathtaking views across the mountain ranges. We have said we would like to stay there next year. The only problem is that it gets very cold at night and in the morning, you would have to take lots of warm clothes. After a full day on the bike we needed to get back to a town and get new brake pads. With help from a very friendly girl in a Honda garage we found a Yamaha agent who changed the brake pads £7, sorted. Only then did Chris tell me how worried he was about the brakes.
We had planned to go further which wasn’t possible because of the brakes so ended up back in Chiang Dao, just before dark looking for somewhere to stay. We didn’t want to be out on the mountain roads in the dark, it’s scary enough in the light. We looked on Expedia and got a very posh bungalow on a resort all mod cons for £20. It was a bargain last minute deal, should have been £60, it was lovely.
Before we left to come home we wanted to climb to the top of the mountain to see a temple called Wat Tham Pha Plong. It is 510 steps to the top and was well worth it. The Wat at the top is in a cave. All the way up the stairs are sayings pinned to trees:
I would put Chiang Dao second on my favourite places in Thailand, we will be back.
‘To me a mountain is a buddha. think of the patience, hundreds of thousands of years just sittin there bein perfectly perfectly silent and like praying for all living creatures in that silence and just waitin for us to stop all our frettin and foolin.”
― Jack Kerouac
5 thoughts on “Escape to Chiang Dao”
Looks super cool Sigrid- the scenery…wow indeed. Mum is doing a sterling job forwarding these updates on- i must confess i am having to read back on ones i have missed! Lyndsey and I realised this time last year we were in Thailand….miss it big time. Keep enjoying the trip. Chris ( Tiff ) x
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Thanks Chris, we love Thailand more each time we come. Love to you both xx
Fabulous, really enjoying reading all your fascinating post which are so informative & interesting to read.
The photo’s are also amazing.. So happy for you both, you’re smiles say it all. Can’t wait to see your’e next post.. Take care my dear friend Sigrid & Chris xxx
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Thanks Sam xx
It’s just breathtaking, with extra wows thrown in. Everyone at yoga has been either following your link or reading the blogs I print and take to our Friday coffee mornings. Enjoy every moment! x