The Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls are a unique and fun place to visit when you’re in Northern Thailand. Be sure to plan a day in your itinerary here – and don’t forget your swimsuit!
Climb The Sticky Waterfall!
If you’re looking for an easy and hassle-free way of visiting the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls, then book yourself onto a fun day tour like this one. You’ll spend around 2 hours enjoying the strange sensation of climbing up the gushing water and lunch and hotel pickup are included in the price. Also, check out our top recommendations for accommodation in Chiang Mai for budget or boutique travellers!
- Chiang Mai Sticky Waterfall
- What Are The Chiang Mai Sticky Waterfalls?
- Where Are The Chiang Mai Sticky Waterfalls?
- How To Get To The Sticky Waterfalls In Chiang Mai
- What To Expect At The Sticky Waterfalls in Chiang Mai
- The Best Time To Visit The Sticky Waterfalls
- Other Things To Do In Chiang Mai
- Where To Stay In Chiang Mai
- Frequently Asked Questions About The Chiang Mai Sticky Waterfalls
- Packing List Essentials
Chiang Mai Sticky Waterfall
Chiang Mai really does have it all – temples, great food, buzzing nightlife, elephants and yes, incredible nature. It’s such a great city to visit because you can experience all of this and more without travelling too far in between attractions.
The Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls are just one of the cool things to do that are only a short while away from the city – perfect for those mornings where you want a little peace and quiet, but a fun adventure too!
If you’re unsure about climbing the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls – and I don’t blame you because they sound crazy – then watch the video below before you read the post to get an idea of how fun and easy it is.
What Are The Chiang Mai Sticky Waterfalls?
The famous sticky waterfalls in Chiang Mai are just that – waterfalls that you literally stick to as you climb up! It’s a strange sensation, climbing up gushing water but not slipping backwards.
Locally known as Bua Tong, the waterfalls are nestled inside the gorgeous Sri Lanna National Park. It’s only around 60km away from the city centre, so it should take a maximum of an hour and a half to get there. Take a look at the map below to see how easy the journey is!
The actual waterfalls consist of 3 levels, and there is a mixture of wooden stairways and ramps to make your way down to the bottom. There are ropes tied to strong trees that will help you pull yourself up the rocks – this was helpful to me because I had a bag on my back so I was a little unbalanced at times!
The water comes from a spectacular nearby spring called Nam Phu Chet Si. You can’t swim in the bright aquamarine water here, but it’s a peaceful area.
As you walk towards the main area of the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls, you should turn left and you’ll see a sign for Nam Phu Chet Si. Follow the boardwalk for around 5 minutes and you’ll reach a large open space – this is where the waterfall begins!
Mineral deposits in the water stop the rocks from being so slippery – this is why they’re called the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls! You can literally walk up the rocks and you’ll have so much grip on your feet.
There are a few areas where you could slip – these are the dark green or brown spots that have algae growing on them. Stick (ha!) to the lighter parts and you’ll cling on!
Read More: How To Backpack Thailand On A Budget!
Where Are The Chiang Mai Sticky Waterfalls?
The waterfalls are actually a little further north than Chiang Mai city. It’s just over an hour’s scenic drive and the roads and safe and well-kept. If you’re making your own way there without a driver or a tour, feel free to stop along the way to take in the gorgeous views!
How To Get To The Sticky Waterfalls In Chiang Mai
There are 3 main ways to get to the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls. Everyone has their ideal option, whether that’s being the most budget-friendly, the simplest or the most adventurous. I’ve listed the ways to reach the Bua Tong waterfalls in order of ease, but feel free to skip ahead to the way that interests you the most!
The journey to the sticky waterfalls is beautiful. You’ll drive along winding roads, passing small villages, rolling hills and lush rice fields for around an hour. Make sure you keep watching the landscape because it really is stunning the whole way there!
Book your favourite hotel hereWhere will you go?
By far the simplest way to visit the sticky waterfalls in Chiang Mai is to take a tour. You’ll get all of the fun of the trip without having to think about transport or food, plus there’s the added bonus of being shown around by a knowledgeable local.
You’ll be picked up by your guide at 10 am so you can have a nice little lie-in too!
You can spend the next few hours exploring the area – don’t forget to visit the springs too! Your guide will be able to tell you all about the local area whilst you’re climbing Bua Tong. Ask if they can take some photos of you too – another benefit of having a guide is that they are usually more than happy to get some cool snaps that would be difficult to get on your own!
Once you’ve completed your climb, wandered around the park and relaxed in one of the pools, you’ll be starving so your guide will take you to a small local restaurant for lunch. It will be Thai food – think fried rice, pad Thai and noodles.
After you’ve eaten, you’ll be driven back to your hotel in the city, arriving at around 3 pm.
- Tour Duration: 4 – 5 hours
- Pickup Included: Yes
- Age Suitable For: All
- Need To Take: Swimwear
- Lunch Included: Yes
If you don’t have your own transport but you don’t want to take a tour, another great way of getting to the sticky waterfalls in Chiang Mai is just to take a taxi! The red songthaews that you’ll see driving around the city are a great experience in themselves!
The price ranges from 1000 – 1200 baht. I wouldn’t haggle this price too much as that needs to cover the fuel and also the driver’s time for around 5 hours. We paid 1100 baht.
If you’re in a group then it will be the same cost for the vehicle so you can split it between you. These trucks could probably fit 6 adults comfortably – maybe you could ask people at your accommodation if they want to share the costs.
When you arrive, the driver might want to take a photo or video of you at the entrance. This is to prove that he is your driver and that you need to return to the city with him. I think this is fair enough as there will definitely have been tourists who somehow got a free ride home and pretended that they didn’t know who their driver was!
Pay at the end of your whole trip because otherwise there is no incentive for the driver to wait for you and you don’t want to be stuck 60km out of town with no way back.
The cheapest way to visit the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls is to hire a motorbike and take a road trip. I would only recommend doing this if you’re experienced in driving a bike in Thailand AND you’re fully insured (always double-check your insurance because the chances are that you will only be covered if you have a full motorbike licence in your home country).
Don’t rent a scooter on your first day in the country – the roads to the falls are quite remote so if you have an accident you could be waiting a while for help.
You can hire bikes for around 250 – 300 baht per day, but you can shop around for the best deals because there are scooter rental companies everywhere in the city.
Also, make sure that you have a proper licence to drive in Thailand – you could be fined if you don’t.
If you would rather have a car then that is just as easy! Check out all your options here or use the handy search box below to see availability and prices.
What To Expect At The Sticky Waterfalls in Chiang Mai
The Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls have been carefully looked after, and the surrounding area is well preserved. It’s a great place to spend half a day climbing, relaxing and picnicking.
There are clean western toilets and two shower blocks with plenty of cubicles, which means you can easily get changed before or after your swim.
There are lots of bins and benches around, and everywhere is signposted, clean and tidy. It’s such a nice feeling when you visit somewhere that manages tourism well!
You don’t need to pay to enter the waterfall area, so don’t give any extra money to your driver or guide. It’s unlikely they’ll ask for it, but it’s good to be aware!
Don’t forget to bring some small change just in case you fancy an ice cream or a coffee too – there are vendors at the waterfalls! There is a restaurant too, selling Thai food but you could also bring your own lunch/snacks and just enjoy using the space to eat.
One thing that is great about the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls is that you can pretty much choose how wet you want to get! We had a backpack to carry up the whole way so couldn’t completely dunk ourselves in, but we did only wear our swimming costumes so we didn’t have to worry about being splashed!
Some people were walking up in swimwear like us and had plastic waterproof lanyards for their phones, and others were fully clothed, but just were barefoot. It’s completely up to you.
The picnic area and the small pools were all at the top on flat ground. There are some wheelchair paths so I would say that if you use one then you’ll be able to access these parts. You can swim in the top pool and relax enjoying the gorgeous views. Getting to the bottom of the actual waterfalls without walking down the stairs is impossible.
Packing List Essentials
The Best Time To Visit The Sticky Waterfalls
In terms of seasons, you can visit the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls at any time of year because they’re not dependent on rainfall to flow. It rained a little when we were there and for some reason, a lot of people waited for it to stop until they started climbing the waterfall. I have no idea why people wanted it to stop raining before they got into WATER but there you go!
Tour groups usually arrive between 11 and 12, so this is when the place will be at its busiest. To avoid crowds, it’s always best to visit in the early morning, but you knew that anyway!
The entrance opens at around 8 am so you could try to get there for then if you really don’t want to be around people. It closes at 5 pm so I wouldn’t recommend arriving any later than 3 if you don’t want to be rushed.
Other Things To Do In Chiang Mai
Where To Stay In Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is literally full of amazing places to stay – you’d find it difficult to have a bad experience! We’ve found some great options for you to look at, so click on the links to check out their room availability and latest prices!
- For a cheap and cheerful dorm, try The Cabin Backpackers Hostel & Bar
- If you’re looking for a private room, you can’t go wrong at U Chiang Mai
- One of the best places to stay for a bit of luxury is Akyra Manor Chiang Mai
- Don’t forget to check out our article packed full of the best boutique hotels in Chiang Mai if that’s more your thing!
Frequently Asked Questions About The Chiang Mai Sticky Waterfalls
Can children visit the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls?
Yes! It’s not difficult to climb the waterfalls, but they might need a bit of a leg up for some parts!
Can I bring my own picnic to the sticky waterfalls in Chiang Mai?
Yes definitely. There are lots of benches but you could buy food from the restaurant if you wanted.
Are there changing rooms at the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls?
Yes, there are two changing room blocks with showers.
Are there restaurants at the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls?
Yes, there is a restaurant and a coffee shop.
How far are the sticky waterfalls from Chiang Mai Old City?
It’s around 60km from the centre of the city.
Can you visit the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls in the dry season?
Yes, you can visit all year round because the water is coming from a spring underground.
Have we convinced you to visit the Chiang Mai sticky waterfalls? Let us know if you are planning on going and we’ll answer any questions in the comments below!