The Best of Chiang Dao – three days

This is a private trip. We love Chiang Dao and are happy to show you some of the most beautiful sights of this fantastic district. Meet the elephants of a transformed elephant camp, visit the famous sticky waterfalls and another, lesser known. sticky waterfalls, meet the lovely Palong people and explore the mystical Chiang Dao Cave Temple. You will also visit the “Golden Rock” of Chiang Dao.


Price per person in THB
2 persons3 persons4 persons5 persons6 persons7 persons8 persons


From: 10,900.00 ฿

Corn field with mountain in the background Chiang Dao
Doi Luang Chiang Dao with corn fields

The Best of Chiang Dao

Caves, Sticky Waterfalls, and Village Life

Day 1, Chiang Mai- Chiang Dao

The Mae Sa Elephant Camp

This trip is a private tour. Your guide and driver will meet you at 0800 at your hotel for your tour, during which we will show you the best of Chiang Dao. We recommend you turn off your phone and enjoy your digital detox for a few days. Our first destination is the Mae Sa Elephant Camp, one of the oldest camps of Chiang Mai in the Mae Sa Valley. Until 2019 this camp offered elephant riding and elephant shows. Now all the 68 elephants of the camp are retired and taken care of. We will meet them and feed them a couple of treats. Your guide will tell you about the plight of the Asian elephant, the national animal of Thailand.

The Sri Sangwan Waterfall

After this, we will continue to the local market of Mae Malai, where we will spend half an hour tasting some local delicacies and chatting with the sellers. It is time for a local Thai lunch! Please remind your guide if you have specific food requirements. After lunch, we will continue to Chiang Dao. We drive past the town and head for the Sri Sangwan waterfalls in the Pha Daeng National Park. These waterfalls are “sticky” because the limestone surface is not slippery. At this lovely spot, we will spend some time swimming and relaxing. Please note that these falls are not the famous “Sticky Waterfalls,” which you will visit on the third day of this tour.

Nearby are the Hot Springs, which we also will visit. Not far from the waterfalls is a remarkable, seldom visited temple. Perched on a small hill is the Wat Phra That Doi Mon Ching, a Shan (Tai Yai) temple. We have a great view of Doi Luang Chiang Dao, the third-highest mountain in Thailand (2175m), from this temple. The famous Golden Rock in Mon State, Myanmar, inspired the design of this temple. Few monks are living at this small temple. It is time to drive to Marisa Resort, where we will spend the night.

Day 2, Chiang Dao – Palong village Mae Chon

The Chiang Dao Cave Temple

After breakfast, we will drive to the Chiang Dao Cave Temple, a sacred place for the Thai people for hundreds of years and certainly one of the best sights of Chiang Dao. This limestone cave in Doi Luang Chiang Dao is associated with legends, stories, and holy men. We explore the main cavern as well as one of the connected caves. A local guide from the community will accompany us with a gas lamp. Around the cave, there are many other things to see, such as pavilions with statues of monks, the assembly hall of the monk Kruba Srivichai and the Buddhist shrines of the Burmese hermit U Kanta. In 2021 we funded the maintenance of these shrines.

Next, we will visit Wat Tham Pla Pong, a cave temple carved into the mountain. We walk up many steps to this highly revered sanctuary from where we have a nice view of the surrounding countryside. The monk Luang Poo Sim Phuthajaro established this cave temple in 1967 and was a follower of the forest monk Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera. A small temple at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai is also dedicated to this famous forest monk.

Meet the Palong people

After this, we will drive to the start of our afternoon hike: the Palong village Pang Daeng Nai. We will have lunch at a local house before we start trekking. The trail takes us through the protected community forest, during which our guide will explain specific trees and plants in the woods. We will walk for about three hours, but there is plenty of time for taking pictures. Our final destination today is another village of the Palong people: Mae Chon. After arrival in the village, you can relax or explore the village. You can also try to learn valuable words in the Palong (Dara-ang) language.

If you want, you can join your guide in preparing dinner. After dinner, your guide will tell you about the Palong people, who call themselves “Dara-ang.” In the 1980s, they migrated from Myanmar to Thailand. Overnight will be in one of the village homestays. You will sleep on a mattress with a mosquito net, and we provide a sleeping bag or sheet.

Day 3, Palong Village – Chiang Mai

Hike to the Lahu village

It is the third day of the Best of Chiang Dao trip. This village comes to life early, and your guide will prepare breakfast. Villagers will set up a small local market where you can buy some souvenirs if you want. After breakfast, your guide will take you around the village and explain about the village shrine and the ‘huja rawl,’ the village heart. The Palong women are talented weavers, and we will visit a small weaving project. After this, we will say goodbye to the villagers and start our short hike to a Red Lahu village.

There are many fruit trees around the village. It will depend on the season, but you might see pineapple, bananas, jackfruit, guava, papaya, longan, and other fruit. We end the hike at the Lahu/Palong village Huay Pong, where we will visit a unique spirit temple. This village is only a short drive from a community of the Karen people. The Karen is another ethnic minority group that migrated centuries ago from China. We sit down and drink a cup of tea before we drive to the town of Phrao to enjoy a local Thai lunch.

The Buatong Waterfall, aka the “Sticky Waterfalls.”

Our last stop today are the famous “Sticky Waterfalls” in the verdant forests of the Sri Lanna National Park. Local people know these falls as Buatong Waterfalls. They are sparkling blue, and clear water cascades over the limestone rocks. You can easily walk up and down the falls because the limestone is not slippery. It has given the Buatong Falls its nickname. A dip in these falls is the perfect ending to this trip. We will spend a couple of hours at this beautiful place before we return to Chiang Mai. Relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. We will drop you at your hotel at around 1700. We hope you enjoyed the Best of Chiang Dao.


The Mae Sa Elephant Camp

The Mae Malai local market

Sri Sangwan waterfall

Pha Daeng hot springs

Wat Phra That Mon Ching

The Chiang Dao Cave Temple

Wat Tham Pla Pong

Palong villages

Lahu and Karen villages

The Buatong Waterfall aka the “Sticky Waterfalls”


What is included:

Accommodation in the Marisa Resort – room type Kasalong twin/double or triple

One night homestay in the village

English speaking guide

Transportation by minivan

Three lunches
Two breakfasts
One dinner

Elephant treats ad 200THB per person

Entrance fees

Drinking water during meals

Limited Medical Insurance


Not included:

Other drinks except for water during meals

Personal expenses



What to bring

What to bring

Short sleeve shirts for the daytime (bring a spare one, just in case)
Long sleeves for the evening (especially in the winter Nov – Feb, it can be a bit cold)
Shoes with good grip (especially in the rainy season from May-Sep)
A hat or cap
Flip flops
Your toiletries
Personal medication
Fully charged batteries or even an extra battery for your camera.
1000-1500 Thai Baht per person in small notes (not bigger than 500 Thai Baht and plenty of 100 Thai Baht notes). This is for souvenirs, drinks, and tips.



08.00 – Departure from the hotel
09.00 – Arrival at the Mae Sa Elephant Camp
10.00 – Departure from the camp
11.00 – Mae Malai Market
11.30 – Departure from the market
12.15 – Lunch at a local restaurant
13.00 – Drive to the waterfall
13.30 – Sri Sangwan Waterfall
14.45 – to the hot springs
16.00 – To Marisa Resort
16.30 – Check-in at Marisa Resort

Day 2

08.30 – Departure from Marisa
08.45 – Arrival at Chiang Dao Cave Temple
09.45 – To Wat Tham Pla Pong
10.45 – to Chiang Dao market
11.15 –  to Pang Daeng Nai
11.45 – Arrival at Pang Daeng Nai and prepare lunch
12.15 – Lunch
13.30 – Departure from the village
16.00/16.30 – Arrival in Mae Chon
18.00 – Dinner at the village before free at leisure

Day 3

08.00 – Breakfast
09.30 – Departure from the village
10.00 – Arrival in the Lahu village Pang Hoo
10.30 – Drive to the Karen village
11.00 – Drive to Phrao
12.00 – Lunch at a local restaurant
13.00 – Drive to the Buatong Waterfall
13.30 – Arrival
16.00 – Drive back to Chiang Mai
16.00 – Arrival at the hotel