The north of Thailand is characterized by green jungle, vast mountains, and diverse culture. In particular, the city of Chiang Mai and the sleepy town of Pai attract tourists who are looking for relaxation, authenticity, and nature. You will find what you are looking for in the mountains and forests of the north. Because here you can experience the beauty and tranquility of unspoilt nature, but also culture. In fact, countless ethnic groups have settled in the mountains of Thailand, who mainly do agriculture there. Many of the peoples are now part of tourism in Thailand and offer tourists insights into the life of the groups. In the region around Chiang Dao, a city in the Chiang Mai province, you can visit hill tribes. I visited a small remote village in the mountains of Chiang Dao on my backpacking trip through Thailand. In this mountain village, whose accommodations are run by the Lisu, I stayed in a simple wooden hut. The huts are very simple and there is no hot water or cell phone reception. Back then I even missed a World Cup game for the German national team. But I had a view of the gigantic mountains and forests and was able to really relax and enjoy the peace and quiet far away from civilization. On my travel blog I will show you my unforgettable impressions from this natural village in the Chiang Dao National Park. I hope you enjoy reading. I look forward to your feedback or questions.
How to get to the small mountain village in Chiang Dao
From Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao by car or scooter
Getting here by car or scooter is quite straightforward. From Chiang Mai you follow road 107 north for about 70 kilometers. Be careful, because the road is two-lane and not completely safe in Thai traffic if you are on the road with a scooter. In Chiang Dao, turn left onto road 3024, which will lead you to your destination after 16 kilometers and 600 meters in altitude. At the entrance of the national park, you have to pay 200 baht entry to be allowed to pass the road. When I visited the village in June, however, the house was empty, and I didn’t have to pay. Parking spaces, albeit very tight, are available at the accommodations.
From Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao by public bus or van
Getting here by public transport is a bit more difficult. Buses leave Chiang Mai every 30 minutes from the Chang Phuak Bus Terminal for around 40 Baht to Chiang Dao (see map). The journey takes about 2 hours. From Chiang Dao you then have to take a taxi, or you can clarify with the booked accommodation whether a pick-up is possible. If the public bus offers too little comfort, you can choose private transport companies. Behind the bus station there is a provider who offers transport with “VIP Vans” for 150 baht. Above all, you can buy bus tickets in Thailand conveniently and cheaply via 12go.asia. So far, I have only had good experiences with it and have bought tickets more often.
Accommodation and overnight in a simple hut in the mountains of Chiang Dao
In the small mountain village, there are several accommodations that are run by members of the Lisu tribe. Some still live there themselves, but this place is mainly used for tourism. So it seemed to me. Admittedly, booking the accommodation was not easy. The accommodations cannot be found on the well-known online portals. A look at Maps helps because the phone numbers of the hotels are stored there. I was lucky enough to have a Thai accompaniment who took over the booking and payment by phone. The following is a list of some of the accommodations in the village that can be found using Maps.
- Baan View Doi Luang Chiang Dao
- Rabieng Dao Home Stay
- Grand Mountain Chiangdao
- Baan Lee Shu Home Stay
- Baan Mok Tawan
- He Chomdao
- Talay Dao Home Stay
To be honest, I don’t remember exactly which accommodation we booked back then. If you believe the reviews, they don’t differ much anyway. We visited the village at the beginning of the rainy season in June, so some of the accommodations were already closed. During the rainy season, an overnight stay is not possible here due to the weather conditions.
The accommodation we stayed in is admittedly not the right one for everyone. It’s a simple hut made of wood and bamboo that isn’t completely closed in some places. Insects, spiders, and small lizards also feel at home indoors. Only a mosquito net offers protection against the annoying animals. The floor is equipped with mattresses and is the only comfort in the accommodation. In addition, the hut is designed for a total of 6 people, but we had it to ourselves. The bathroom is right next door and includes a toilet and shower with cold water. However, the non-existent comfort is more than compensated for by the breathtaking nature, the fresh air, and the tranquility. Here, far from civilization, you can unwind and forget all your worries. Certainly, some accommodations also offer huts with a little more comfort. The best thing to do is to look at pictures and reviews from previous guests. We paid around 300 baht per person. Here you pay for the view of the area.
Short Facts for your Trip
Chiang Dao has a tropical climate. In the north of Thailand, it is generally cooler than in the southern regions. The main season is characterized by cool (22 °C) but dry weather (November to March). From March to May it is hot (> 27 °C). The rainy season starts in May and brings a lot of rainfall and storms over the country. Accordingly, it is only possible to stay overnight in the mountains of Chiang Dao to a limited extent. A visit during the main season is better. I visited the mountain village in June and there were always showers. Many accommodations were also already closed. You will find a climate table on the following page.
Exploration and hike through the mountain village
To be honest, there isn’t much to discover in the village itself, as there are no tourist attractions here. But nature, nature, and nature. From every corner of the place there is a new perspective of the surrounding mountains. In addition, the deep clouds that flow through the mountainsides constantly create a new spectacular scene. In fact, the lush green of the forests, the calls of the animals and the fresh air of the mountains are balm for the soul.
We don’t meet many people, but a few tourists and a few local women in brightly colored robes. Even my Thai companion finds it difficult to understand their language. There are signs to other hotels along the way and on every corner, there are simple wooden huts that offer overnight accommodation for travelers. A little further below the huts there are fields that are cultivated by the residents. Fruit and vegetables are grown here. When you go downhill you can really see how the huts stand on wooden stilts on the mountain slope. It’s hard to imagine that the huts can withstand storms.
Dinner above the clouds in Chiang Dao
When we come back, the wife of the family who runs our hotel has already set the table on the terrace. We sit down and are served a traditional dinner. I have no idea what exactly we got back then, but I still remember it was very delicious. In addition to the delicious Thai food, there was also a unique view of the green mountains in the background. I can definitely get used to this wonderful view. Dinner was included in the price.
Evening walk and sunset in a restaurant
We explore the upper part of the village, which is located significantly higher than our accommodation. There are some terraces here that guarantee breathtaking views. However, on the north side of the village, we can also look at the houses of the villagers.
We stop at a small restaurant (see map) where a family sits together, eats and drinks. The family runs this restaurant and offers us a seat with a view of the mountains. We order some snacks and Thai beer. It is now late, and we can watch a wonderful sunset in a unique setting.
Conclusion on the overnight stay in Chiang Dao
The small village near the city of Chiang Dao is definitely worth a visit. Even without an overnight stay, it is worth traveling for the incredible views that are offered here. Overnight stays are usually not possible during the rainy season anyway. It is advisable to have your own motor scooter for the journey, as this community is difficult to get to by public transport. From Chiang Mai you need about 3 hours to get to the remote village. It was an unforgettable experience for me to spend the night in a small wooden hut in the middle of the mountains. Certainly, you don’t get a lot of comfort here, but for this adventure it is worth breaking out of the comfort zone. Believe me, you won’t regret it. Not only the breathtaking landscape, the soothing silence and the refreshing mountain air will give you an unforgettable experience. Also, the originality and the renouncement of things that are self-evident to us make this trip a valuable experience. If you liked my post, please write me a comment here. If you have any questions, just contact me and I’ll be happy to help. Thank you for stopping by my travel blog.
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