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Doi Chiang Dao Biosphere Reserve

Doi Chiang Dao Biosphere Reserve is located in Chiang Dao District of Chiang Mai Province in Thailand. It is the only region in the country to be covered with sub-alpine vegetation, found also in the Himalayas and in the southern part of China. The landscape abounds with caves formed by the infiltration of rain water through limestone formations. The largest and most important of these is Chiang Dao Cave, from which the biosphere reserve takes its name. The cave is associated with the legend of Chao Luang Chiang Dao, the king of all spirits, who is believed to reside in the towering Doi Chiang Dao mountain; both are revered as sacred places. A Buddhist temple in the Lanna style marks the entrance of the cave. The cave and mountain attract many visitors each year, and a model for visitor impact management was implemented. Ecotourism, birdwatching and stargazing are further local tourist attractions. 

Designation date: 2021


Regional network:  

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 85,909.04 ha

    • Core area(s): 36,009.61 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 44.242.61 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 5,656.82 ha

    Location: 19° 24' 21.650" N  98° 47' 31.661" E 

    Administrative Authorities



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    Ecological Characteristics

    Many rare, endangered or vulnerable species live in the biosphere reserve, such as the Lar Gibbon, the leaf monkey, the Chinese Goral, the Tiger, and Clouded leopard.

    The general make-up of the land is limestone mountains. Water runoff from the mountain top and floor grounds drip slowly through the limestone which erode dirt and its carbonisation to the below floorings. In the northern and most southern parts of the area are foothills covered with forest ecosystems. Hillsides in the east and west parts contain agricultural areas mixed with rice fields and wetlands that are man-made. There are also fruit orchards, cash crops and a few areas of forest plantations.



    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The area already invites tourism through their many activities such as nature study at the summit of Doi Luang Chiang Dao, cave tours and worship, bird watching, hot springs, stargazing and photography, homestays and hiking. The majority of agricultural areas compromise of cash crops, rice fields, trees, orchards, vegetables, herbs, flowers and ornamental plants however here there are noticeably few aquatic and livestock farmers.






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    Last updated: June 2022