Chiang Dao

After the Indiana Jones style excitement of Chiang Rai we were well ready for a break. Somewhere completely peaceful and relaxing and preferably monkey-free. Chiang Dao completely fitted the bill. A tiny town nestled amongst dramatic, jungle covered mountains, this place has the added advantage of being still relatively hidden from the giant wave of tourists that hit Thailand at high season. In fact we hadn’t even heard of it ourselves until a few days before, until our farm stay fell through and the lovely owner recommended the Chiang Dao Nest as a brilliant alternative.
The fact that the Nest has had to extend to a second location down the road is testament to it’s very well deserved success. After a cramped bus journey from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai we were picked up by the driver and taken up into the hills. We stayed in beautiful cabins with looking up and huge towering green mountains, and spent pretty much all our time between the two restaurants (Western and Thai) eating the most fabulous gourmet food I’ve ever eaten for the price of a McDonalds meal. Seriously, Rachael and Naomi Skyped home and they were such a sublime state of food coma their parents thought they were high! This place is so ridiculously relaxing – the two main activities is eating and lying on daybeds or hammocks contemplating the beauty of your surroundings and what’s for dinner. Essentially, if Hobbiton was in Thailand, it would be Chiang Dao!
For a little bit of exertion we decided to cycle to the local hot springs, where we could soak away the burning pain in our very unfit legs for the low low price of 50 baht (about AU$2!) we also climbed the 500 or so stairs up to the mountainside temple, which was punctuated with numerous signs with words of wisdom to reflect on as you died from exhaustion.
Everyone was so so lovely to us – one lady have us a goodbye hug and invited us to come back and teach some of the staff English when we finished our course! This is seriously my new favourite place: delicious food, lovely people and great atmosphere.

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