Shoestring Chiang Mai: The Sticky Waterfall

Shoestring Chiang Mai: The Sticky Waterfall

Cost: 1100 Baht

Time: Half a day

Don’t take valuables, but DO take your GoPro or waterproof camera!

I have been living in Chiang Mai since the beginning of May, and it’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve heard excited talk of ‘The Sticky Waterfall’ (or Bua Tong to the locals), a mysterious waterfall that is climbable, no safety gear required. It wasn’t until I saw a friend’s photograph, that I realised that I had actually been before, scoping out the surrounding forest as a site for Geography and Biology study.

Little bug

Little bug

Getting to The Sticky Waterfall

The drive to the Sticky Waterfall takes about an hour. If you are a confident biker, you can drive it, but the signposting is not perfect, so I would recommend a songteaw. Try to get a group together to keep the cost down: we went as a group of eight, so it only cost us 140 baht each in a songteaw from outside Maya mall, and the driver will wait for you whilst you are there.

The drive there is beautiful, and takes you up through the orange plantations North of the city. Eventually, you will pull off the main road and take a bumpy five-minute drive into the woods. I chose not to use the word jungle here, because the setting actually reminds me very much of an English country park. Park up, and walk forwards, and you will see the falls. There are toilets, but they are certainly not for the faint-hearted, you should also take some food with you, because there are a couple of little shops selling ice cream, but not anything particularly substantial.

Bua Thong Sign

Bua Thong Sign

At the Sticky Waterfall

On the left hand side just past the shop, you will see an archway that leads onto the steps that descend to the bottom of the Sticky Waterfall. Follow them all the way down, and you will come out in an area where we left our bags – luckily one of our group had a dry bag that we used for all of our valuables, so don’t take anything that you really care about.

When it comes to climbing, I would recommend doing it barefoot. The rock is a porous type of limestone, so is incredible grippy, and being barefoot not only improves this grip, but also makes the experience ten times more fun! The climb is split into three levels, and in the steeper areas there are ropes to use as support. Be sure to keep in the areas where the rocks are submersed and the water is fast flowing, because the slower flow and exposed rocks is the perfect growing conditions for algae that makes it a bit risky. Also, make sure to use the rope on the final part of the climb, and don’t let go until you are completely up, as it is super slippery up there.

Sticky Waterfall

Sticky Waterfall

Once you’ve climbed the Sticky Waterfall and you’re feeling suitably proud of yourself and pumped, follow the river upstream, and you will see the beginning of a boardwalk that heads into the forest behind the pools that you will see local kids splashing in. If you follow the boardwalk, it will take you to the source of the water, a crystal clear spring full of fish. If you look closely you can see where the water is coming out of the ground, as it stirs up the sediment. You cannot swim in this pool, as it is considered sacred by the local Buddhists, evident by the shine and also the long sticks and buckets used for retrieving the water to be used in purification ceremonies.

Spring Source

Spring Source

All in all you’ll want a couple of hours for this trip, and sitting in the sun afterwards to dry off can add a little more time. I spent a while sitting is a perfect bum groove, forcing myself to do one of my weekly reality checks and grounding exercises (it’s easy to take life for granted), as I felt the water rush past me and stared out over the treetops of the surrounding jungle – perfect!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

2 Comments

  1. I loved this place! I heard about it 2 days before leaving Chiang Mai so right on the day we were leaving, we made our way there. I wish we got to spend more time here and also that I didn’t lose my GoPro at the Grand Canyon lol

    Great location for some adventure for sure.

    Reply
    • Hi Shayan! It’s awesome isn’t it? That’s a real shame about your GoPro, and a common problem! They say that if you get yourself some scuba gear and dive to the bottom of the canyon under the jump you’d find loads of GoPros – I thought it would be quite a good business idea! You could try and return the memory cards but sell the GoPros… 😉

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Adventures
Shoestring Chiang Mai: Buak Had Park in Chiang Mai

Buak Had Park is in the south-west of Chiang Mai city, and is a happy place full of sunshine, coconuts,...

Shoestring Chiang Mai: Driving Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep is the mountain to the West of Chiang Mai, offering incredible views of the city and a worthwhile...

Close