The Chiang Dao local hot springs are just three kilometres off the main road to Fang and Chiang Rai. You turn just by the new courthouse, where the road splits in two. The left road is a scenic road to Chiang Dao wildlife reserve, where the hot springs are situated by the entrance. The other road is even more scenic and leads to the Chiang Dao caves.
The hot springs consist of cement “barrels” with blue PVC pipes feeding them with hot water from a local spring. Apparently, a Japanese person was in love, so I am not surprised at all that it takes the look of a Japanese bath. Does a Japanese person need his barrel?.. No, well, jokes set aside. It is a great way to soak in.
The setting is stunning during the green season, with all shades of green you can imagine in the surrounding raintrees and the backdrop of the Doi Luang mountain.
There is a small stream to cool off and for kids to play in. The hot springs themselves come at various temperatures. Touch first, and soak in slowly.
When we were there, a big group of people from the Lisu hill tribe were there at the same time. They advised us about temperatures. An old lady kept laughing and pointed me to the hottest one, though. She said, “farang likes hot, yes” (in Thai).
She liked the hottest one herself, but she didn’t soak in. Just sprinkled herself again and again.
I did how I would typically do in Japan. Pay respect to heat and minerals, so just 15 minutes of onsen and cool off.
The local atmosphere here was very welcoming and friendly. Many laughs and old wisdom. The locals used whatever stones they could find to massage and scrub each other. This ambience kind of reminded me of a steam sauna in Luang Prabang.
Chang Dao hot springs are free of charge
There is no charge here; it is free. No one once checked for any vaccination cards or so either. The only salespeople were an ice cream vendor and a lady selling pork balls on sticks.
Please note, there is nowhere to change clothes. But it is easily solved in nature.
An exciting and comfortable Saturday afternoon it turned out to be.