The Chiang Dao Caves are one of the town’s main tourist attractions and for good reason. Extending for up to 12 kilometres and consisting of over 100 caves under the mountains surrounding Chiang Dao, this complex system of limestone chambers is worth taking the time to see. There are currently 5 unique caves that are open to the public. These Caves are Tham Seua Dao (540m), Tham Phra Nawn (360m), Tham Maa (7365m), Tham Naam (660m), and Tham Kaew (477m).
The first two caves, Tham Seua Dao and Tham Phra Nawn, are easily accessed by the stairs from the entrance and are well lit. You do not need a guide and they are large caves in which you can see statues and images of Buddha.
For the rest of the caves you are obliged to hire one of the friendly, local guides who will take you through with a gas lamp. The tour takes roughly thirty minutes and you should take caution as the floor can be slippery and you will need to watch your head on low-hanging rocks. There are also places where you will have to get down low and crawl. It is recommended to wear shoes with a good grip.
Once inside you will experience the beauty of the limestone formations as they are lit up in the dark. Look out for the small bats that live in the cave, and which can be seen sleeping soundly or flying overhead. The caves are also steeped in history and legend, and there are effigies not only of Buddha but also of some of the hermits who are said to have lived here, one for up to one thousand years. The cave also functions as a temple and so appropriate dress is essential. Shawls can be rented on site for a small fee.