Chiang Dao Caves - Chiang Mai

Chiang Dao Entrance

Chiang Dao Entrance

Chiang Dao Doorway

Chiang Dao Doorway

Chiang Dao Guide

Chiang Dao Guide

Chiang Dao Connect

Chiang Dao Connect

Chiang Dao Tunnel

Chiang Dao Tunnel

Chiang Dao Stalactite

Chiang Dao Stalactite

Chiang Dao Buddha

Chiang Dao Buddha

Chiang Dao Hallway

Chiang Dao Hallway

Chiang Dao Caves are situated approx 70 klms north of Chiang Mai on a good highway through rolling hillsides. The Caves are one of the main attractions in the Chiang Dao National Park. From Chiang Mai the trip takes about one and a quarter hours by car and as you approach closer you will see the scenic Doi Chiang Dao mountain range.

The Chiang Dao Caves complex itself is supposed to consist of over 100 caves which extend for some 10-12 kilometres inside the mountain range but there are only five main caves which are currently open to the public.

The admittance fee is only 40 THB per person. Once paid go up the steps to the cave entrance, then descend into a large cavern where there are numerous Buddha images. A bit further on is the guide station. From here you have two choices. You can freely explore two caves by yourself as they are lit with electric lights; they are Tham Seua Dao (540 m) and Tham Phra Nawn (360 m). Both of these caves contain many shrines, statues and Buddha images.

To explore the other three, Tham Maa (7365m), Tham Naam (660m) and Tham Kaew (477m) you can either hire a gas lantern and do it yourself or hire one of the local guides with a lantern. Highly recommend the latter. Cost is 100 THB (about $3) for a gas lantern and an “up to you” cost for the guide. Easily worth at least an extra 100 THB but, “up to you”. If you go it alone be very careful as you can get easily lost and there are some very deep unmarked holes, plus you will miss most of the highlights. The guides will easily navigate you around safely at your own pace and point out all the sights and avoid the pitfalls.

It is not all walking, in places you have to duck down to crawl through small openings and then clamber into large caverns. Some areas have little walkways others just natural rock flooring, others have up and down steps cut into the rock itself.

These are numerous natural formations of limestone and crystal that you will see, along with stalactites and stalagmites. If you go during the rainy season some areas near the underground river might contain water. Other times the floor in those areas is just all sandy. Check out the water level marks on the walls to see how high up it can get.

Well worth a visit, some truly spectacular sights. See our Sightseeing Itineraries page for other things you can see and do while you are out and about.

(Tips for Chiang Dao Caves Trip
- Take a water bottle, use the guides, be prepared to bend and crawl a little bit, if the guide says "mind your head", duck low hanging rocks, and be careful in some areas as the floor can be slippery. NEVER remove anything from the Chiang Dao Caves.)
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