Weekend Trip to "The Nest" at Chiang Dao.

Just north of Chiang Mai is the little mountain town of Chiang Dao.  It has all of the benefits of Pai but is half the distance and the perfect weekend get away from Chiang Mai.  I know I just got back from vacation in Europe, but this wasn't vacation, this was a weekend break to clear my mind and relax and I've decided that it needs to become a monthly routine.

I put my earbuds in, hopped on my 125CC scooter, put a small daypack between my legs, downloaded the new U2 album and a beautiful two hour drive through the mountains later, we were in a mountain paradise.

Chiang Dao:

It was my first time here and you've probably never heard of it but it's perfect.  As much as I like Pai, the other little mountain town near Chiang Mai, I hate the 4 hour nauseating bus ride there and it's a bit too far to ride your motorbike there comfortably, although I have done it once.  

Chiang Dao on the other hand is less than 2 hours away. (it took us 2 hours to get there and less than 1.5 hours to get back) 

What's to do in Chiang Dao?

It's the perfect place to relax for a weekend, go for a hike, or just relax and read a book.  We spent the first day laying around with our kindles, and getting 2-hour Thai massages (710 baht ($22US) at our resort) 
Then the next day we went to the hot springs and laid in a hammock again with our books.  But if you're up for more than just relaxing there is the Chiang Dao Cave, Elephants, bird watching, organic farms and hiking.  

Where to Stay in Chiang Dao:

Even though it wasn't listed on Agoda, we had heard from a few people that The Nest was the place to go so we booked it directly on their site.  At first it was confusing because there is the Nest 1 and the Nest 2, both 700m away from each other.

We ended up booking The Nest 1 because we wanted a swimming pool and wanted to eat European food for dinner.

If you are in Thailand for less than a month and want to eat some really authentic Thai food then stay at the Nest 2.  

Prices/Cost:  If you read my blog post on Reverie Siam in Pai you would have thought that was a fantastic deal on a nice resort, and incredible food at only $100 a night for the room including breakfast, and a reasonable price for gourmet dinners.

Turns out that The Nest is even cheaper.  A couples room (Queen bed with a private bathroom) is less than 1,000 baht a night depending on the month you go.  For us during September it was only 645 baht which is only $21US a night!

Nest 1 or 2:

Weekend Trips Every Month:

The only thing I could think about while driving back from Chiang Dao is why I never took weekend trips away when I lived in California.  Within a 2 hour drive we had beaches, snowboarding, wineries, everything.  The only thing I could think of is because it was too expensive.  Even making $48,000 a year back in the US, I was barely getting by every month after expenses, car payments and rent.

The thought of spending $100 in gas, and another $100 a night for a hotel room, plus the cost of food was too expensive to do more than once a year back home.  But here in Thailand, there's no reason not to do this every month.
At the Chiang Dao Hot Springs

Total Cost of this Trip:

2 Nights Accommodation at the Nest:  1290 baht ($40US)
Gas to get to Chiang Dao: 160 baht ($5US)
2x Two hour massages 1420 baht ($44US)
4x Lunches including incredible Thai food and Salads
4x Dinners including Seared Duck Breast, Roast Pork Loin, and Bacon Wrapped Roast Chicken
2x Desserts including Passion Fruit Cheese cake and Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
4x Breakfasts with great coffee, bacon, sausage and eggs.
Total Cost:  $100 per person, total.  

Divide that up and we basically spend $50 each per night.  That is an incredible deal.  

Hope you guys enjoy your trip out to Chiang Dao,

Keep in touch and follow the journey,

Warm Regards,


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  1. glad you enjoyed it! I took the bike to pai when I visited and it was a long drive by myself, sounds like a nice alternative :)

  2. Hey Dvir, glad you enjoyed the long drive up to Pai. I rented a 250CC Bike when I made the trip and it was an adventure but was an hour or so too long. I kept wishing Pai was a tiny bit closer, and now we have the alternative =)

  3. Johnny, I like your idea of planning a get-away once a month. It's easy to get too stressed and over-worked. It ultimately makes us ineffective. I'm looking forward to the retreat in October. Flying in on the 2nd. #stoked

  4. Hey Robb, have a safe flight out to Chiang Mai and glad you are making it out to the retreat! As for the one a month getaways, even going for 1 night is absolutely feasible so it's in the books as a must do from now on.

  5. Wow Johnny, very inspiring! That is such a beautiful place.

  6. unfortunately the Riverie salad days are over. they have tripled their prices. i blame you and your blog. :)

  7. Oops. =) Glad you enjoyed Reverie Siam anyways. I just took a look at their rates and it looks like it highly depends on the night and season, they still have some rooms for 3,000 baht a night ($100US) which is what we paid.

  8. It's an awesome place. Thanks for your tip on Chiang Dao. We'll head up there soon..

  9. Hi Johnny

    I really enjoy these kind of articles, very useful like your original book.
    my partner and I are starting our big move next June, we'll pass through Chaingmai for a bit, we're getting married in Southern Thailand, I've been to Changmai before and plan to spend some more time around there, if we do a zero hour work week we'll have around $2000USD passive income coming in a month.
    This will comfortably support us, on top of that we'll work on some on-line projects, do some remote work for clients etc, but hopefully spend most time doing non work related activities.
    the future is bright, I look forward to eventually catching up for a beer or coconut

  10. Hey Matt, glad you enjoy the weekend getaway articles and cost breakdowns. That's awesome that you and your wife are you going to have $2k in passive income which is more than enough to get by. Congrats on the marriage as well!

  11. Anyone headed to the Nest should check to see if they still do their Thursday night BBQ. It's all you can eat and absolutely fantastic!

  12. Hey Monica, thanks for the reminder! We saw it on their board and missed it just by a day. Glad to hear it's good eats.


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