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Chiang Dao Cave
ekeidar [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Chiang Dao Cave

The Chiang Dao Cave is a popular tourist attraction north of Chiang Mai; featuring over 12 kilometres of underground caverns and passages – although only a small portion is accessible to tourists.

The sheer size of the limestone cave is so massive that visitors are only allowed to visit with a guide, but that’s what makes the cave so spectacular.

Chiang Dao Cave, Temple, History, Opening Hours, Entrance Fee & Tour

Except for the main chamber which is permanently well-lit, exploring the cave on your own can be tricky because it’s easy to get lost. You’ll pass the first small cave, which features a shrine, and the path is then followed by lots of shimmering stalagmites and stalactites. At the end of the main tunnel is a second shrine. The narrow side passages are dark, but with the help of a guide and a lamp, they are worth exploring. However, keep in mind that even if you have a torch, it isn’t advisable to wander through the caves on your own without a guide.

Legend has it that a hermit, by the name of Phrom Ruesi, once lived within these caves for 1,000 years. Because of all the time he spent here, he developed good relations with ‘the-wadaa’, which is the Buddhist version of angels whom the wise sage spoke to create the mystical wonders that lie deep in the Chiang Dao cave. Following this, a stream began to slow out of a solid gold Buddha that is still found within the cave today, a city of nagas, a magical lake, storage of textiles, an immortal elephant, and a tomb for the hermit. Another legend also says that if anyone takes even the smallest stone from the caverns, he will be lost forever in the labyrinth.

With over 100 smaller caves inside, we wouldn’t want to take these chances anyway. But if you’re in Chiang Mai, this cave is highly recommended. There is a small entrance fee and another fee involved to hire a guide, but it’s worth it. When exploring the cave, bring a water bottle, and watch your head because there are low-hanging rocks. Wear rubber shoes or sneakers as some parts of the floor are slippery.

The caves are around a two-hour drive from the Chiang Mai city centre. It is accessible by bus or motorbike.

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Entry Fee: 40 baht
Tour Guide / lantern: 200 baht per group (max 5 people)

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