A visit to the Bua Thong Waterfalls, or Sticky Waterfalls, is a fun trip to make from Chiang Mai. These waterfalls aren’t slippery, which means they’re easy to climb – making you feel as invincible as Spiderman himself. Whether you want to climb up and down the waterfall, play around in the water or take some fun pictures, these waterfalls are great fun for both young and old!
In the middle of the jungle, amongst the large trees, fluttering butterflies and small lizards running around, are the Bua Thong Waterfalls, otherwise known as the “Sticky Waterfalls.” They consist of three tiers, which you can climb easily.
The water streaming down comes from a source that’s rich in calcium, which leaves a mineral-like substance behind on the rocks. This creamy colored layer is what makes the rocks “sticky”. It offers a tremendous amount of grip, making it super easy to climb to the top.
We couldn’t get enough of it and spent the entire afternoon there.
The Bua Thong Waterfalls
The Sticky Waterfalls consist of three tiers, each of which can be climbed, up or down. You can’t swim there, but you will get wet!
You arrive on tier one, at the top of the waterfall. The best option is to first take the steps down to tier three, where you can leave your belongings, after which you’re free to explore the waterfalls and the surroundings.
Way below the Bua Thong Waterfalls, below tier three even, is a smaller, hidden waterfall that is perfect for a refreshing shower.
Take your time
Climbing all three tiers in half an hour is possible. But it’s not a race, of course!
We enjoyed taking our time to take in the surroundings fully. And to make pictures and videos of our “heroic” climbs, just like the Thai people there! Many Thai people visit Bua Thong for family picnics and to spend some time outside Chiang Mai’s busy city.
Though swimming in trunks or bikinis is uncommon in Thailand, a lot of tourists visit this place, and the Thai are now used to it. However, we still chose to enter the water clothed because we preferred to adapt to the country’s culture.
Are the Bua Thong Waterfalls dangerous?
Although the Bua Thong Waterfalls are great for families with children, caution is still essential.
Yes, the white rocks have a lot of grip, which means you can climb them barefoot or with water shoes reasonably easy. However, the blue/green colored rocks are covered in algae, making them quite slippery.
We didn’t witness any accidents ourselves, but a fall can cause considerable harm. There are no first aid posts at the park, so be careful.
There are clean toilets at the park entrance and several shops where you can buy snacks and drinks.
Bring the following:
- A towel.
- Swimwear or clothes that you don’t mind getting wet.
- A set of dry clothing.
- Enough banknotes.
- Water shoes are practical, though not essential. We thought it was perfectly manageable with bare feet.
- Leave your wallet, passport and other valuables at your hotel.
Finally, make sure you visit the Bua Thong Waterfalls’ mysterious source, the Nam Phu Jedsee. This swirling, blue body of water is stunning and located in a gorgeous spot in the jungle. From the top of tier one, it’s only a 100-meter walk to the left.
There’s also a beautiful viewpoint, directly to the left of the top.
Getting to the Bua Thong Waterfalls
The Bua Thong Waterfalls and the Nam Phu Jedsee are situated in the Si Lanna National Park, some 34 miles outside of Chiang Mai. The park is open every from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, all year round. Entrance is free, but a donation is appreciated.
It’s about a one and a half hour’s drive from Chiang Mai. We went there by motorbike but found there was quite a lot of traffic. We would, therefore, recommend taking the red taxi (songthaew), which will cost between 800 and 1,500 baht for a return trip (depending on your negotiating skills). The driver will drop you off at the parking area and will wait for you. Pay him afterward to make sure he’s still there once you’re finished.