Before our weekend trip to Chiang Dao, I thought I had seen some beautiful things. Maybe I had, but nothing could prepare me for the shock of finding out that the most breathtaking views I have ever witnessed were less than three hours from my (albeit temporary) home. After hearing from friends and driving halfway there multiple times, we finally managed to make the entire trip, and it was just magic how it coincided with our one-year anniversary of moving to Thailand. And it was the best weekend for that celebration, in all honesty. It was the embodiment of rest, celebration and... well, perfection.
We lucked out about a month before this trip, finding the deal-est of deals on Sibsan Resort & Spa in Maetaeng. It was almost exactly halfway between Chiang Mai and Chiang Dao. We felt a little out of place in such a nice resort, but it was fun to play the rich tourist card when we knew we got 80% off our room!
In the morning we headed into Chiang Dao, our first stop was Wat Tham near the famous Chiang Dao Cave. The wat was unlike anything I've ever seen, blue with white carvings all over the exterior. We walked around admiring the flora and the pools beside the wat and outside the entrance to the caves before heading inside.
Inside the caves there were two options: walk along a lit path for the flat entrance fee of 40 baht, or hire a tour guide to take you deep into the cave armed with only a lantern for 100 baht more. We chose the latter, our 70 (or more)-year-old guide walking us through low ceilinged tunnels and around endless abysses. We walked into the cave for about 30 minutes before turning around, our guide expertly maneuvering around in his tread-less slippers while I stumbled around in my Chacos. A wooden cross at the beginning of the tour sparked some good conversation as well as things our fearless leader pointed out like a rock formation that looked like a rhino, a chicken, and a few bouquets of orchids.
Gulping down the fresh air once we left the caves, we found ourselves at Chiang Dao Nest for a delicious lunch and some refreshing drinks. We sat in the open air, gaping at the mountains surrounding us on all sides, the mist and cool air making it actually feel like fall.
Before my camera died, we took in some of the most incredible views, thankful for reminders of God's glory and how small we are in light of his unsearchable and unfathomable greatness. There were quite a few moments were we decided to spend "60 seconds with no pictures," which proved to be some of the best moments.