Thailand– Tips for backpackers to travel around Chiang Dao

Thailand– Tips for backpackers to travel around Chiang Dao

Chiang Dao is in northern Thailand. This city is not as familiar as the old town– Chiang Mai City for tourists. However, “Chiang” means city and “Dao” means stars. In Chiang Dao, you can not only enjoy the beautiful starry night, but also here is like a transportation hub. From Chiang Dao to the north you can go to Chiang Rai and the border of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar; to the east you can go to Fang, and go further to Mae Hong Son; to the south you will arrive Chiang Mai and keep going to Lamphun and Lampang; to the north-west and south-west you will arrive Pai and Wiang Haeng District which just nearby the border of Myanmar. 

The Chiang Dao city just like the hub of the star, it’s easy to achieve and the perfect location to be as the rest station. If you want to travel around the northern Thailand, don’t miss the beautiful landscape and culture in Chiang Dao.

If you want to come to Chiang Dao from Chiang Mai, you can take an orange bus at Chang Pheuak Bus Terminal. Every 30 mins to 1 hour for one bus and the ticket is only 40 Baht per person. It will take you one and half hour from Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao.

Don’t forget to tell the driver that you want to get off the bus at “Chiang Dao Bus Station” to make sure they will stop there. Otherwise, the bus will drive along to Thaton.

After one and half hour journey and arrived at Chiang Dao. You can go to KO KO HOME and rent a scooter before start exploring the city. If you’re passionate enough, you can choose to rent a bicycle here as well. KO KO HOME is located at the small road which is beside Chiang Dao Bus Station. It will take you 10-15 mins to achieve by walking from the bus station.

For renting the scooter in Chiang Dao, the average price is 300 Baht. When you have a transportation with you, it would be the perfect time to push the accelerator, enjoy the breeze and explore this small city. There are some local shop and temple beside KO KO HOME, you can take your time and look around the peaceful lifestyle in Chiang Dao. 


Even though already rent the scooter, it’s still inconvenient to travel with a big backpack. Therefore, we recommend, you can come to the Chiang Dao Home Hostel to drop your bag first. This hostel is at the foot of Mt. Doi Luang and surrounding by many famous attractions, such as Chiang Dao Hot Spring, Chiang Dao Cave or Wat Tham Pha Plong (the 500 steps temple).

The single bed in Chiang Dao Home Hostel is 200 Baht per night, including breakfast and shared bathroom. You can book the room on HostelWorld in advance as well. Sun Tan, the owner of the hostel, is the professional local hiking guide. He is always welcoming everybody and gives us lots of information about the tips for hiking in Chiang Dao and how to travel around northern Thailand.


Wat Tham Pha Plong is only 1.4 km far from the Chiang Dao Home Hostel. Besides, it’s famous for the 500 steps before you go into the temple. This temple was built by the monk Luang Poo Sim in 1960.

Going up from the entrance of the temple, you can see lots of quotations from Buddhism. In the middle of the mountain, you can see the golden rooftop is surrounded by the forest. The temple is in the cave and on the top of the mountain. Therefore, after visiting the temple, we recommend you go outside the temple. The green mountain and bell sound can make you feel joy and deep inner peace.

In our mind, Chiang Dao Cave is the most impressive attraction in Chiang Dao. This cave consists of more than 100 caves and it’s one of the famous pagoda as well.

There’re lots of historical stories and legend about Chiang Dao Cave. Some of them are about Buddhist stories and some are about the hermits. Walking along the stairs from the entrance, your eyes would be attracted by the Buddha on the mountain wall. As the time goes by, the mountain wall becomes the perfect natural platform. When you look at the solemn Buddha and the spectacular stalactite, there are such an amazing combination of natural, humanities and cultures.

Because the weather in Chiang Dao has a big gap between morning and night. In the evening, it will be so nice to go to the free hot spring after working.
Chiang Dao Hot Spring is located nearby the forest. When you cross the small alley to the end and find the smell of sulphur, it means that you arrive at the right place. The hot spring is formed from water that has filtered through the mountain’s limestone rock, has been heated volcanically deep underground, and has returned to the surface. The local community build the tub, organized the tubes to different temperature of hot spring and attended the hot spring as an outing with their families and friends. 
Highly recommend you to come in the early morning or evening. You can see the fireflies cross through the twigs and enjoy the romantic starry night.

It’s too easy for us to miss Chiang Dao City during our trip. However, this city may be small, but complete in every detail. Je-wei and I were really enjoying our stay here. We breathed the fresh air, surrounded by the mountain and trees, waked up by Sun Tan’s energetic greeting, and amazed by the attractions all the time.If you’re planning to come to Northern Thailand as a backpacker, please come and stay in Chiang Dao for at least two days. Let the mother nature and friendly people give you more power to keep the journey.


Chang Phueak Bus Terminal:Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

KO KO HOME:เชียงดาว, Chang Wat Chiang Mai, 50170

500 Steps Temple (Wat Tham Pha Plong):251 ซอย 17 หมู่ 6 Tambon Chiang Dao, Amphoe Chiang Dao, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50170, Thailand

Chiang Dao Cave:Chiang Dao, Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai 50170, Thailand

Chiang Dao Hotspring:Always for free. Chiang Dao, Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai 50170, Thailand

Welcome to follow our Instagram @jwy_btalk to know more about our journey 🙂

If you want to visit Chinese version, please click the yellow backpack.  →

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