This post features 3 waterfalls close by to Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.
Bua Tong – The Sticky Waterfall
Bua Tong is a round 1 hour drive north of Chiang Mai. You will need to hire a Songthaew (red pick up truck) or taxi to get you there. You can negotiate with any Songtaew for groups of 3 or more (we paid 1,000 Baht for the day), or Red Ride have a nice taxi service for up to 3 people (probably a similar price).
Bua Tong is a very attractive series of waterfalls with a unique limestone surface. The bubbly stone is very grippy and if you are wearing rubber soled shoes it feels almost sticky. You can run up and down it, but take care at first, especially on any green areas as the algae can be slippery.
The falls are great for a day out as you can sit at the top on a grassy area eating and drinking. Beer, coffee and BBQ chicken is available at the stalls. They also rent out picnic mats to sit on. There are changing rooms.
Huay Kaew Waterfall
This one is the easiest to get to, being located close to Chiang Mai University and the Zoo. To get there from the old city leave the north west corner of the moat heading west on Huay Kaew Road for a few miles. When you reach the zoo just continue for another few hundred meters and you will see the turn off on the left. It is possible to cycle to Huay Kaew Waterfall but the last 200 meters or so is quite steep so you may want to walk that part.
This waterfall is attractive in just one section but it is still a very beautiful sight. There was no need for swimming trunks at the main part, although there is apparently a pool suitable for swimming at the top. It is quite steep on the rocks so many people don’t get too close to the main falls. This waterfall is good for a quick stop on the way up the mountain to see the Doi Suthep Temple. There are one or two other waterfalls further up too.
Mae Sa Waterfalls
Mae Sa is a collection of many small waterfalls spread over a trail. It is located in Mae Rim which is where many other tourist attractions are based, approximately 30 minutes north of Chiang Mai. You can get there by Songthaew, tuk tuk, taxi or by hiring a motorbike (pretty easy to find after looking at a map).
You should allow a good half day for Mae Sa falls as you will want to continue along the trail for hours. There are around 10 levels and it can be quite tiring once you reach the end. There are small pools to cool off in. Individually none of the falls are breathtaking but together they make for a great day out.
I’ll update the post with a video or photo of Mae Sa soon, instead for now is a photo from the waterfall at Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens which can be done at the sae time as Mae Sae falls.
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