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Nature's Playground: Chiang Mai’s Bua Tong Waterfall

Experience the Thrill of Climbing a Sticky Waterfall

· 4 min read

If you're looking for a unique and exciting nature adventure, Chiang Mai's Bua Tong Waterfall (also known as the Sticky Waterfall) is a must-visit destination. Located just 60 kilometers outside of the city, this stunning waterfall is known for its distinctive feature of being, well, sticky. Imagine climbing up a waterfall as if it were a staircase, with each step taken on the grippy, mineral-laden limestone rocks that make up the waterfall's cascading tiers. You'll feel like a true adventurer as you make your way to the top, taking in stunning views of the surrounding forest along the way.

Sticky Waterfall

Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall, also known as "The Sticky Waterfall," is a natural wonder that stands out from other waterfalls in the region due to its unique "sticky" feature. The waterfall is formed by a series of limestone rocks that are covered in mineral deposits, giving them a grippy texture that allows visitors to climb up the waterfall with ease. You don’t have to be a pro-climber to be able to climb this waterfall, and even children can climb up the waterfall!

Source: Get Your Guide
Source: Get Your Guide

The waterfall is not very high, and by itself isn’t very impressive — if you are expecting to see lots of water gushing down, you might be disappointed. But what makes it beautiful is its multiple tiers and cascades, and how its white stones contrast against the surrounding forest. The surrounding forest is also home to a variety of wildlife and plant species, making it a haven for nature lovers. As the waterfall is just 60km away from the city, it is a very popular destination for a half-day trip out from Chiang Mai.

Getting There

The Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall is located in the Sri Lanna National Park. The easiest way to reach the park is by driving - you can rent a car or motorbike at Chiang Mai. It is about a 1.5 hour drive from the city center.

Source: Patiparn.Nice2002bkk
Source: Patiparn.Nice2002bkk

If you can’t drive, you can also charter a songthaew (a converted pick-up truck) from Chiang Mai. If you are hiring a songthaew, and are planning to visit other sites in the area, let the driver know in advance so you can agree on the rates before your trip.

Alternatively, you can join a guided tour that includes transportation and a guide who can provide information about the area and help you navigate the waterfall safely.

Tips for Climbing

Source: The Blond Travels
Source: The Blond Travels

While the "sticky" surface of the waterfall makes it easier to climb, and there are ropes to help you with your climb, there are parts of the waterfall that could still be slippery due to the growth of algae. The middle and upper parts of the waterfall are slightly more difficult, and it is still important to be careful and take precautions to avoid slipping or falling.

If you're not comfortable climbing, don’t force yourself. You can just have a dip in the shallow pool at the base of the waterfall. There are also picnic areas at the top of the waterfall where you can chill and admire the scenery.

What to Bring

Make sure to wear sturdy shoes that can get wet, though you could always climb barefoot. You should also wear comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting wet, and to bring a change of clothes and a towel for after your climb.

Pack light, and bring a waterproof bag if you will be climbing with your bags. Sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended as well. You may also want to bring a water-resistant camera to capture the stunning views from the top of the waterfall.

There are stalls selling food around the area, so you don’t have to pack your own food. But if you wanted to have a picnic in the park, you could always bring some snacks with you.

When to Go

Although the waterfall has been gaining popularity, the crowds are still fairly manageable. As with most places, you will see the most people on weekends as locals will also visit the park; and the best time to avoid the crowds will be to visit in the early mornings.

Source: Places of Juma
Source: Places of Juma

Most people spend about 2 hours at the National Park. If you are going in the afternoon, take note of the closing hours of the park and make sure to give yourself enough time to enjoy the area.

Also in the Area…

Aside from the waterfall, you can also visit the Nam Phu Chet Si Springs in the National Park, just a hike away from the waterfall. There are a few hiking trails in the park that you could also explore. You can also visit the **Mae Ngat Dam **at the other side of the National Park.

Some people also combine their visit to the Bua Tong Waterfalls with a visit to the Wat Ban Den, a large buddhist complex, about a 30 minute drive away from the National Park.

Tham Chiang Dao |  Source: Tourism Thailand
Tham Chiang Dao | Source: Tourism Thailand

If you are looking to explore further and have some time, you could also visit the Chiang Dao district which has attractions like the Wat Tham Chiang Dao, an attractive cave temple, or the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, which has a number of hiking trails that you can choose from.

Practical Information

🕤 Opening Hours: 8am - 5pm daily

💲 Cost: It is free to enter the waterfall