Chiang Dao Cave Tour
Chiang Dao has a maze of tunnels stretching more than 12km under Doi Chiang Dao mountain range. There are two easilly accessable caves the Tham Seua Dao and the Tham Phra Nawn. Both are well lit and contain many statues, Shrines, and Buddha images. The other caves Tham Maa, Tham Naam, and Tham Kaew become a bit more difficult to navigate and a Chiang Dao Cave Tour guide is required.
Getting a Chiang Dao Cave Tour Guide:
Once you are past the admissions office (40bht for admittance), you travel up the stairs to a large cavern.
Through this whole area you will see many images of Buddha, and make sure to take your time before you go underground.
Once you make it through the cavern, there will be a local Chiang Dao Cave Tour station. Here you can explore the two caves that are well lit (Tham Seua Dao and the Tham Phra Nawn).
The other three caves Tham Maa, Tham Naam, and Tham Kaew require you to rent a gas lantern and hire a guide (minimum 200bht). Hiring a guide comes with the lantern rental. You can decide what price is fair to tip after it is over. 100 thb is the suggested tip per person in your group. The tour guide will be able to explain everything you would want to know about the caves, and give you a local view on the legends and myths.
The Chiang Dao Cave Tour guide is well worth the money spent as they will be able to point out many things within the caves that you would miss going alone. They are able to give you a unique view on the cave because they are locals in Chiang Dao.
Only for the adventuresome! Go alone!
If you choose not to rent a tour guide, you can still go see the two caves to the right. These caves are the Reclining Buddha cave and the entrance cave. With a Chiang Dao Cave tour, you will get to see off of the caves. There is also the option to visit them alone first. When you go to the well lit caves, there are still hazards. The floor will be wet, and slippery so be very careful. On top of this, the caves are lit, but may be quite dark in areas. Within these well lit caves there are statues of sleeping Buddhas and of the Naga Sirens within the caves.
Taking the Chiang Dao Cave Tour:
When you choose to take the Chiang Dao Cave tour, the friendly guide will choose a very bright lantern. Next you will start to descend deep into the Chiang Dao caves. Quickly, it becomes apparent why this area requires a guide. The caves are not only large, but winding throughout the mountain.
While you are being led through the Chiang Dao Cave, there will be quite tight squeezes you need to crawl through. The entire time your guide will be pointing out statues, carving, and rock formations.
Be mindful of where you are walking as inside the cave it is not only humid, but quite slippery in many areas. There are multiple steep descents. These steep descents have stairs carved into the cave walls, and guide you with well placed hand rails.