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Enduring natural cave temple with stalactites & a fish pond, plus Buddhas & other religious statues.
Chiang Dao Cave is one of the most visited caves in Thailand. Located about 70 km North of Chiang Mai, it's been known for over 1000 years. While less than 1 km of passage can be visited, over 2 km has been surveyed and about 11 km of additional passage is believed to exist.
Just inside the entrance you will find Buddhist statuary that is common to caves in Thailand.
This area also has a natural skylight. Just beyond this you will find guides waiting for you in a somewhat circular area. They are mostly women and work on tips. They are there to guide you if you want to explore the cave passage to the left, which is unlit. You can also go straight and see the lit portion of the cave by yourself.
I would recommend hiring the guide and seeing the whole cave this way. The cost is 100 baht for renting the lantern.
The guided portion of the cave has a couple of tight squeezes that you may need to get down on your hands and knees for. They are generally dry though, just some rocks to climb over and duck under. Watch your head!
Inside the dark portion of the cave, you will find some interesting formations. The guides will point out formations and tell you what they think it looks like.
If you take the dark passage tour, you will end up in the lit portion of the cave. If you keep going towards the back of the cave, there are a lot of impressive formations. At the end of the walkway you can see where the cave goes on enticingly for the adventurer, but alas, we're not allowed to go beyond the signs.
If you are visiting Chiang Mai, you really should take a day and go up to see Chiang Dao Cave. It's one of the most visited caves for a reason.
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