Places to go in Chiang Mai – Mae Kuang Dam
We awoke at the crack of dawn at the weekend and headed to Mae Kuang Dam, eager to get there bright and early to avoid the heat of the mid day sun.
The dam is found around 30km North of Chiang Mai along the highway 118 opposite Doi Saket town.
There is no English sign for the Dam, you have to take the last left hand turn on the 118 at a big stone monument and dis-used security hut, before the mountain roads to Chiang Rai begin.
There is a sign for the Wang Tarn Resort near the turn off on the 118 which should help you navigate where you are.
Drive along this road with the river on your right hand side, about 3 quarters of the way down the road there is a broad left hand turn with some Thai signs, this is the way to the Dam.
Taking this turn and driving into a gated park ahead will lead you to the roads surrounding the Mae Kuang Dam.
The main gated road to the dam is only open from 8:30-16:30 and entry is free, however if you go there before or after this time, there is another way to get to the Dam…
Back on the main road with the river on your right, rather than turn left at the signs continue straight until you find yourself at a water treatment plant and are not able to go any further.
You will know you are there from the strong sulphur smell in the air!
Here there are steps that lead from the road right to the top of the dam and the road that leads alongside the mass of water.
The top of these steps offers a fantastic view point over the dam and a great spot to take in the sunrise or sunset.
Our first View of the Dam
View looking away from the water, towards Chiang Mai
When we arrived at the dam at 8:30 the place was deserted. Ours, the only car on the road.
There is not a lot of shade around the dam and it got very hot, very quickly.
By the time we headed for home at 12:30 there were a couple of ‘farangs’ riding around on their motorbikes and a handful of other cars had ventured out to take in the views but the place was still nice and quiet.
Mae Kuang Dam offers 360 degree views, with opportunities to capture both the sunrise and sunset, sunset over the water, sunrise over Chiang Mai.
Panorama of the view towards the west, perfect for Sunset
Panoramic view towards the east, great for Sunrise
It is quiet, peaceful and scenic at the dam. The green vegetation and the blue of the water coming together willingly, for diverse and dramatic views.
It’s great for photography and a nice drive or motorbike ride out from the city center of Chiang Mai.
You can stop off at the Dam on the way up to Chiang Rai or fit in a visit to the nearby Doi Saket Temple to extend the trip to Mae Kuang Dam into a full day out.
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