A trip to Mae Ngad was my first outside of Chiang Mai since returning from the U.K. in early 2021. Mae Ngad Dam is located in the depths of the Srilanna National Park, approximately 50km north of Chiang Mai. My girlfriend and I invited friends to accompany us to one of the floating houses on the Dam. We met up at a petrol station close to Highway 107, setting off at 7.30am to avoid the hottest sun. The route is straightforward; take Highway 107 out of the city and then join the 3008 for the final few kilometres. Our total journey time was around an hour as the Highway is a direct route to Chiang Dao.
Breakfast and Hiking at Srilanna National Park
Arriving at Srilanna National Park, we purchased boat tickets, 100 baht per person, to one of the floating houses on the Dam. The company was called Eakachai Houseboat which offer various packages. Several of us then consumed a delicious pork noodle soup at a restaurant close to the National Park entrance. The noodles were served with bean sprouts, dumplings, green vegetables and spices. Our morning activity involved a short hike into the National Park where the Dam first came into view. The hike comprised several tracks into the mountains which provided spectacular views of dense forest. We followed a trail for about 2km before heading back to the entrance ready for our boat trip.
Boat trip to the Floating Houses
We took a Songthaew, included in the ticket, from the National Park entrance to the waterfront. From here we boarded the boat which can carry up to 8 passengers. The views from the open water were engrossing, another reminder to myself of just how mountainous northern Thailand is. Touching down at the floating house we headed to the restaurant area to take a table to sit. We ordered light refreshments like papaya salad, crisps and nuts before readying ourselves to swim. The floating house had well maintained changing and shower facilities that we could use.
Water Activities at the Floating Houses
There were slides, diving boards, floats and general equipment to keep us amused in the water around the floating house. In addition, the backdrop offered superb views of the encircling mountains. On the day the weather was especially hot so most of us participated in swimming. Myself and others tested out two of the slides, balanced on floats and entertained ourselves with the equipment. We were provided life jackets, a relief as I rarely venture into water deeper than where I can stand. After about an hour of enjoying the water, we returned to the restaurant for an exquisite lunch.
Lunch and return to the National Park
The menu at the floating houses was extensive with many of my favourite Thai meals. As there were 8 of us we ordered a selection of dishes to share. These included grilled chicken, fried rice with pork, shrimp tom yum, papaya salad, grilled pork and whole fish. After lunch we witnessed final views on the Dam as we completed the return boat trip. The scenery we observed throughout the trip was both fascinating and sublime. Consequently, Mae Ngad is a pleasurable option for a short day trip out of Chiang Mai. Yet, if you prefer to spend time exploring further, you can book a floating house for an overnight stay.