The great thing about living in Chiang Mai is that you are never too far from the glorious countryside Thailand has to offer. 15 minutes driving out of the centre and you are on open roads surrounded by paddy fields. You don’t even need to plan to go to a destination as the drive is idyllic in itself.
Taking a drive north east of the city, stopping off for an incredible English breakfast at ‘The Sausage King’ you head into Chiang Mai’s countryside. A lovely 20 – 30 minute scenic drive and you arrive into the small, unique village of Doi Saket. A traditional Thai village, so different from the tourism of Chiang Mai. Looking up at around 100 steps to the sight of Wat Prathat Doi Saket, the view is incredible and a great photo opportunity too!
Continuing the drive through the small back roads of Doi Saket, I spotted the most unique Pagoda I’ve ever seen in Thailand! Pure white on the outside with golden Buddha statues hidden within the rows, in a silent area with no one around. Lovely find I must admit!
Carrying on the road, you pass the Roong Aroon hot springs. Smaller than the San Kamphaeng springs but a lot less touristy and only 20bht to get in. In fact, I think there were only two other people there. You could buy a few eggs for 20bht and cook them in the springs, or have a relaxing rest in their hot foot spa, which was great for a few minutes until it got too hot!
Next on the loop was the destination we had in mind from the start, the Muang On cave. Arriving and being attacked by mosquitoes wasn’t enjoyable, but the stairs leading up to the start of the caves were very grand!
Half way up the steps there’s a Buddhist shrine and a view point looking down from the mountain top at the stunning land below. At the top you reach the entrance, at only 30bht for foreigners, don’t be fooled by the women renting flashlights, you don’t need them at all. The caves are very well lit.
The entrance is very scary for anyone slightly claustrophobic. There’s a steep staircase hidden by the darkness and you have to duck under part of the cave. The sight you enter after is incredible.
I’ve never seen a cave so big inside, even compared with the caves in Chang Dao. There’s a reclining Buddha and shrines scatted around the caves. There was even part of the cave that was shaped like a face. Too good to miss having one of those annoying novelty photos next to it though!
After leaving the cave, you continue on the same road, which brings you out near the San Kamphaeng springs, if you fancy seeing two in one day. Head back into Chiang Mai to finish the loop with the most idyllic scenery on either side. A great day to see the sights surrounding Chiang Mai!
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