Chiang Dao is a small town near Chiang Mai, just 70 kilometers far. The region has great aptitude for eco-tourism, with many trails framed by the beautiful view of the mountains. There are easy trekking options and also longer hikings that require preparation, as the trail to the flags located on the top of the mountain.
The most popular place is the Chiang Dao cave, which was partially transformed into a Buddhist temple. Steps and handrails make it a very accessible tour. In addition, the artificial lighting allows you to observe in detail the geology of the cave. If you prefer, you can also hire a local guide to visit the other sectors of the cave, which are broadly unchanged and are home to many bats.
Once in Chiang Dao be sure to visit Wat Tham Pha Plong, the temple in the forest. Despite the 500 steps up to the mountain, it is a light walk and there are many rest stops. Along the way you will find several messages with Buddhist teachings, most translated into English. The way to the temple is colored by a large number of birds, as the beautiful Asian Paradise Flycatcher and the discrete Violet Cuckoo. Even the most distracted visitor will not fail to notice the variety of Bulbul species. Chiang Dao is a perfect place for bird watching.
You may plan to stay only a day in Chiang Dao, but friendly and comfortable bungalows invite you to spend the night. There are many options available, but be sure to book in advance during the high season (November-February).
Chiang Dao is north of Chiang Mai, following the highway Hwy 107 toward Fang and Tathon. It is also very accessible by public transport. Buses to Chang Dao and Fang leave from Chang Phuak bus station every 30 minutes. Arriving in the city, just grab a yellow Song Taew taxi to the cave, to the temple or to the chosen bungalow. Have a nice weekend!