Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand Information provided courtesy of Mon and Kurt's Restaurant, Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

Chiang Dao - Trekking Doi Chiang Dao

Chiang Dao is located in Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand.

Updated November 2016

Chiang Dao's beautiful mountain

Right from the front of our old restaurant (Mon and Kurt's Restaurant), you are looking straight at beautiful Doi Chiang Dao. 

(Pictures Courtesy of Frank from ChiangDao.info)

You can hike it in two or three days.  It sports some stunning views.  First, if you like, read about my first time trekking up Doi Chiang Dao and later go to the bottom of the page to find out more  Doi Chiang Dao Trekking and hiking information.

With so much beautiful scenery here, I found it really hard to sit in front of the computer for hours at a time...

Trekking Doi Chiang Dao:

The Decision: 

We had four foreigners stay at our guesthouse (Mon and Kurt's Restaurant and Guesthouse), in Chiang Dao.  Robyn from the US, Joane from Holland, Jim and Sam from the UK.  Nice people and interesting to talk to.  They mentioned, that they would like to go trekking, so my wife phoned around to see if she could line them up with somebody who does trekking. 

After several phone calls, she got in touch with a guide, who offered us a very good price.  When I heard the quote, I told my wife, Mon "I want to go, too".  After, I remembered my German friend, Frank, who also mentioned interest in hiking up with me one time.  I called him up and sure enough, he wanted to go, too. 

We made plans for all six of us, to be taken up by a guide and two carriers.  Next morning, we would embark on our journey....

Day one:

A truck picked us up at our restaurant in the morning.  We drove into the mountains and were let off near a Lishu village.  We then hiked into the village, which would eventually be our home for the night. 

Before lunch, we hiked to a nearby cave, guided by a local lad, who only spoke Thai.  The cave was long and very interesting. 

 On the way out, we encountered a snake.  I asked our guide "antharray may?"  (is it dangerous) he answered "may antharray" (not dangerous).  Regardless of his comment, I decided not to touch it, which turned out to be a good decision, because we found out later that it was a dangerous, green viper.  After giving the snake one last, cautious look, we hiked back to the Lishu village, where we had lunch. 

We ate a Thai meal, prepared by our skilled guide.  Tasty to me, a local expat, but it got a few funny looks from our tourist friends. 

After lunch, we took a beautiful hike up to the local waterfall.  The hike was a good test for our skill levels, as it got a little tricky in a few places.  Definitely not for city slickers who have never been hiking in the woods.

We returned after about 2 or three hours and where shown our hut for the night.  We had the choice between a big bamboo hut for all six of us, or our tents.  We choose the hut.  After packing away our things, we went to have dinner, some coffee's and some beers. 

I decided to make it an early night and went to sleep, while everyone else was still having drinks and enjoying a good time. 

Day Two: 

We woke up early, had a Thai breakfast and then were taken up to the base of the mountain by pickup truck.  We wasted no time starting our hike. 

The first part was tough.  The ground was wet from the morning moisture.  Often we slipped back in the mud.  The terrain was very steep.  I realized that this was definitely not for the Sunday hiker.  One needed some skill and lots of endurance to make it to the top.  We went on, through jungle, mud, over rocks and eventually got to nicer ground, where walking became easier.

It was a strenuous 9 1/2 hour hike to base camp, but also one of the best hikes I have ever done.  It was like being part of one of those movies, where people walk through the jungle for days.  We saw snakes, birds and lots of unique flowers and plants. 

When we finally arrived at base camp around 4pm, we were all pretty tired.  We set up our tents and got our sleeping bags ready for later.  Then we hiked up to the peak to see the sunset. 

Just below the peak, I seen another snake.  A little more than a meter long, but this time, it was a harmless one. 

Standing on the peak was fantastic.  The view was great and it was a really exhilarating feeling to stand on the top of Thailand's third biggest mountain.  We spent more than an hour up there, talking and taking pictures. 

Frank is a photographer.  He took most of our pictures.  He has them up on his site, www.chiangdao.info

After watching the sun go down, we quickly hiked back down to base camp, had dinner and after some coffee and a few drinks, we all went to sleep.

Day Three: 

Again, we woke up fairly early.  Three of us and our guide took our flashlights and climbed another peak, to see the sunrise.  It was definitely worth it.  On one side, you had the beautiful sunrise, on the other side, the clouds moving in beautiful shapes around the nearby mountain peaks and valleys.  This was probably my favorite site in the three days and well worth getting up for.  We stayed up there for over an hour and then came down to meet the rest of the gang for Breakfast. 

This time, we had a Western breakfast... Muesli with milk, coffee and an apple. 

Shortly after breakfast, we started our descend.  I decided, after checking with the guide, to go on ahead by myself, which was a wonderful experience.  We went down a different path, which took us across some really nice mountain ridges and through some trails that hadn't been walked in weeks.  I cannot describe the feelings I experienced descending the mountain by myself.  It as absolutely fantastic. 

I arrived at our meeting point, where shortly after our truck pulled up.  The rest of our crew slowly came down and we all got back into the truck and returned to our restaurant for a nice hot shower, some fresh coffee and some beers.

Everyone finally had the chance to eat the Wiener Schnitzel we all talked about on the mountain.  Of course, we all enjoyed Mon's great cooking. 

Would I recommend this trek?  Definitely!!!  It was an awesome experience. 

There are several ways of doing it:

1.  You can do what we did and book an all inclusive trek for around 2500 Baht per person (based on minimum of 6 people) or

2.  You can bring your own tent, propane stove, sleeping bags, etc. and do it on your own, with just a guide or a carrier.  That way will be cheaper.

Either way, you will have lots of flexibility with your agenda.  The guide will take you where you want to go. 

The following is information on how to do it on your own...

INFORMATION ON BIRD WATCHING AND TREKKING

You do not need to pay for a trekking company to take you up Doi Chiang Dao at a high cost.  The following information will describe to you how you can do it more or less on your own:

First, after arriving in Chiang Dao, you need to visit the CHIANG DAO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY OFFICE, which is located near the mountain, but can be a little hard to find.  Therefore, I would suggest stopping at Mon and Kurt's Restaurant first (which is right on highway 107, 2.5km after the Chiang Dao 7-11, if you are coming from Chiang Mai and heading towards Fang) in order to get directions. 

You can also phone them for directions at 084-173-9975. 

Next, you need to buy your entry permit (National Park fee) at the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary office.  After that, you can either hire a guide or a Carrier, which is a must, if you want to go up Doi Chiang Dao. 

Next you need to decide how to get to the starting point of hike...

You can either ride up with your own bike or you can hire a truck to take you. 

You will probably want to spend at least one night on the mountain, so you will have to bring your own tent, food, water, a propane stove (no open fires), matches, a sleeping bag, good hiking boots, warm clothing and whatever else you might want to bring.  You will also need to bring food and drinks for your guide or carrier.  (He will have his own tent and sleeping bag already)

You will probably want to also bring a camera. 

Doi Chiang Dao is only open from November 1 - March 31 for trekking every year.  Doi Chiang Dao is one of the most beautiful mountains in Thailand to explore, with beautiful scenery, all kinds of animals, insects, flowers, plants and trees.  The views are stunning and you will not regret hiking this mountain. 

Although  Doi Chiang Dao is only open from November until the end of March every year, you can also go bird watching at  "Denn Yaa Khad" Forest year around.  You will have to pay between 300 - 500 Baht for transportation to get there. 

The following is a list of costs:  (as of November 2006)

Hiking Doi Chiang Dao:

-National Park Fee    200 Baht/person (Foreigner) covers you for several days

                                    20 Baht/person  (Thai People Adult)

                                    10 Baht/person  (Thai People Children)

-Motorcycle fee           20 Baht (If you choose to go in by bike)

-Transport fee           500 Baht (From office to drop off point)

-Guide                        500 Baht/day (or you can just hire a Carrier for 300 Baht)

-Carrier                      300 Baht/day (can also guide you and carry  your stuff)

Camping fee                30 Baht/night ( bring your own tent)

Garbage Deposit       200 Baht (returned to you if you take out all your garbage)

Note:  Fees may change from time to time, but should be close to above.

There are two campsites on the mountain.  The second one is near the peak.  You can make it there in one day, set up camp and visit the peak the next morning, if you so choose.  Then you could come back down and the whole trip will be only two days. 

Some visitors like to spend more time up on the mountain to explore its secrets and its beauty.

Here is the address of the  Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary office and two contact numbers.  The two contacts only speak Thai and at the present time, there is no English speaking staff at the office:

Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary Office

PO Box 12

Chiang Dao District

Chiang Mai 50170

Tel:  053-455-802

Miss Wallapa Guinoi (Administration)

Miss Meenaa Buahom (Administration)

 

Mon and Kurt

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