The north of Thailand is touristically quieter and more relaxed than the southern part of the country. However, the area is more authentic and unspoiled. Here you will not find islands or beaches, but the north has its own wonderful charm. Culture, ethnic minorities, tropics, and mountains characterize the northern part of the country. Countless national parks with breathtaking scenery await you here. Chiang Mai is considered the center of the north and attracts millions of tourists every year. The city offers a variety of activities and attractions, but also the surrounding area promises breathtaking experiences in Thailand. For example, there is the somewhat lesser-known destination of Namtok Bua Tong in the middle of the rainforest of the north. This waterfall is called Sticky Waterfall because you can easily walk on its rocks. The reason for this is the mineral-rich limestone over which the water cascades. In fact, this recreation area near Chiang Mai promises a lot of fun and invites you to swim and relax. I also explored the Sticky Waterfall during my backpacking trip through Thailand and report on my experiences in this blog post. I hope you enjoy reading my travelogue and I’m glad you found my travel blog.
Overview of Bua Tong Waterfall
60 kilometers northeast of Chiang Mai lies the Bua Tong waterfall in the middle of the jungle. This waterfall not only plunges spectacularly over several levels into the depths, but also has a very different feature: you can walk peacefully on the waterfall. This is made possible by the mineral-rich limestones over which the water flows. These stones, which look like a hardened old sponge, are rough and allow a secure grip while walking. Therefore, Bua Tong Waterfall is also called Sticky Waterfall. The waterfall is located in a small nature park that serves as a recreation area. Here you can swim, picnic, and unwind. There is also a sacred water source here that shines in seven different shades of blue. Many locals come on weekends, but this attraction is also becoming increasingly popular with tourists. The park is especially worth seeing in October and November, just after the rainy season in Thailand passes. At this time of year, the creek carries particularly much water and guarantees ultimate swimming fun.
8 am - 5 pm
October to February
Getting to Sticky Waterfall
Trip to Sticky Waterfall
Bua Tong Waterfall is located northeast of Chiang Mai in the Mae Taeng National Forest Reserve. The easiest way to get there is with your own scooter or motorcycle. You can rent them in Chiang Mai at almost every street corner for about 200 baht per day. Instead of taking the busy main road 107, I recommend taking the much quieter and more scenic road 1001. The drive from Chiang Mai to Sticky Waterfall takes almost two hours. You can park for free directly at the entrance of the park.
It is also possible to travel by bus. To do so, go to Chang Phuak Bus Station in Chiang Mai and look for the Prempracha bus company. Their buses go in the direction of Phrao and pass Sticky Waterfall. One ride costs around 40 baht. However, the bus stop is about 3 kilometers from the waterfall, so you have to walk the last bit. Information and timetables can be found on Prempracha’s homepage.
Getting to Chiang Mai
As already mentioned, I recommend traveling via Chiang Mai. There are regular buses from Bangkok Mo Chit bus station to the city. You have to expect about 500 to 900 baht for the 9 to 11 hour trip.
There are also (night)trains from Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The trip takes over 12 hours and costs up to 1200 baht depending on the class. Tickets can be bought directly at the ticket office, but especially for trains I recommend to book tickets in advance.
Bus and train tickets in Thailand can be easily and securely booked online via 12go.asia* It saves you from long searches and inquiries at the bus stations and protects you from rip-offs. The selection is large, and you will find most destinations through the portal.
I have only good experiences with 12go.asia and have bought tickets several times.
If you prefer to travel in a group, there is a possibility to join a guided tour. You don’t have to worry about transportation, excursion planning, or food, but you can completely focus on the beauty of the Sticky Waterfall. I recommend booking a tour through Get Your Guide portal, where countless activities around the world can be booked easily and safely.
A trip to Sticky Waterfall
At the entrance of the free park, which is open from 8 am to 5 pm, there is a large parking lot. This is followed by restaurants and food stalls that cater for the physical well-being. However, an inviting picnic area also allows visitors to eat their own food on site. Behind it there are several viewpoints of the surrounding green forests of northern Thailand.
Over three levels, the Bua Tong waterfall falls into the depths. The mineral-rich limestone contrasts beautifully with the green tones of the Thai forest and conjures up a wonderful atmosphere. Wooden steps lead to the lower levels, but you can also descend over the “sticky” rocks of the waterfall. You are guaranteed an adventure at Sticky Waterfalls.
Short Facts for your Trip
Chiang Mai province has a tropical climate. In the north of Thailand, it is generally cooler than in the southern regions. The main season is characterized by cool (22°C) but dry weather (November to March). From March to May it is very hot (> 27°C). The rainy season starts in May and brings a lot of rainfall over the country. Accordingly, it is only possible to visit the Sticky Waterfall to a limited extent. Better is a visit directly after the rainy season. Then the river carries a lot of water and looks even more spectacular.
Bathing fun at Sticky Waterfall
The waterfall is perfect for swimming and climbing. There are changing rooms at the entrance and plenty of places to sit by the water. Ropes hang from the rocks and allow you to climb even steep passages of the waterfall. The surface of the rocks is rough and allows you to easily walk along the watercourse. Only in places with algae you have to be a little careful. Climbing and swimming at Sticky Waterfall you can be a child again for a short time. Enjoy it!
If you’re looking for a travel guide to Thailand, check out this book. The authors give travel tips especially for individual and low-budget travelers. In addition, not only the popular sights are described, but also less well-known places are mentioned. This has enabled me to discover great travel destinations that I would not have found without these books.
Visit at Nam Phu Chet Si Spring
Besides the main attraction, the park offers another natural spectacle. A small, signposted path leads to a water spring not far from the waterfall. Nam Phu Chet Si spring, which translates as Seven Colors Fountain, is a small mineral geyser. The sacred water supposedly shines in seven different shades of blue. Indeed, this spring has a beautiful color. Due to the calcium carbonate containing water, small bubbles rise. If you visit Sticky Waterfall, be sure to stop by this sight as well.
If you are looking for inspiration specifically for the north of Thailand, check out this book. It shows beautiful pictures from the region. In it you will surely find places worth seeing that you would not have found without the book.
Conclusion on Sticky Waterfall
The Bua Tong waterfall in Chiang Mai is definitely worth a visit. I recommend coming right after the rainy season in October or November, because then the river has a lot of water. During the dry season in April, some areas were barely filled with water. However, it was still beautiful. It’s best to arrive early in the morning so you can avoid the tourist rush around noon. Also, on weekends, many Thai families come and spend the day here.
Climbing and swimming at the waterfall is fun and refreshing. I permanently had the urge to jump into the water. Parts of the climb at the waterfall is challenging, but ropes guarantee a secure hold. So be sure to bring bathing suits. It is worth it. But not only the waterfall, but also the backdrop of the jungle makes this travel destination an unforgettable experience. And the whole thing is even free. I would definitely come back again.
Chiang Mai Accommodation and Hotels
For a visit, Chiang Mai is a good starting point. The city is a popular destination and is geared towards tourism. Accordingly, there is a variety of accommodation, so you will definitely find a suitable accommodation for your needs. Furthermore, in Chiang Mai itself are many attractions, which I explain in more detail later in the article.
Of course, there are also some accommodations near the Sticky Waterfall. You can find a selection under this link*
I hope you enjoyed my travelogue about Sticky Waterfall. Further down the article you will find even more attractions in Chiang Mai. Moreover, on my Thailand Blog I show you other beautiful travel destinations in Thailand and share valuable tips and experiences for your trip to Thailand. Did you like my blog post? Was I able to help you? Then I would be happy if you recommend my travel blog, leave a comment, or follow me on Instagram. Thanks for reading and have fun on your vacation in Thailand.
Sights and attractions in Chiang Mai
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Nowhere in Thailand are there as many temples as in Chiang Mai. The most famous is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, perched on the slopes of Doi Suthep Mountain. Especially the long staircase and the golden Chedi are impressive. But the view of the surrounding area is also breathtaking. As long as it is not just foggy.
Wat Chedi Luang
Another temple worth seeing is Wat Chedi Luang. It is located in the center of Chiang Mai and has a huge stupa. You can visit the temple between 8 am and 5 pm for 40 baht.
University of Chiang Mai and Lake Ang Kaew
A somewhat unusual attraction is the campus of Chiang Mai University. The campus served as a movie set for one of China’s most successful films entitled “Lost in Thailand”. Hundreds of Chinese tourists come to the campus every day to re-enact the movie scenes. Actually, the university already offers guided tours and is considering charging admission to the campus. The reason is tourists pitching tents on campus, littering the surroundings, wearing the university uniform without permission, and even sneaking into classrooms. If you don’t want to miss this spectacle, you should make a stop here.
Huay Kaew Waterfall
Near the campus begin the slopes of Mount Doi-Suthep. Here are several recreational areas and waterfalls. For example, you can find the Huay Kaew waterfall, which had hardly any water during my visit in April. Somewhat higher up is a beautiful viewpoint. From there you have a great view of Chiang Mai city. Hiking trails lead up the mountain, but also shared taxis go up.
Mountains of Chiang Dao
2 hours by car north of Chiang Mai is the Chiang Dao region. There you can expect green forests, high mountain landscapes, and ethnic peoples. I stayed in a small remote village in the mountains of Chiang Dao during my backpacking trip through Thailand. There I could explore the gigantic mountains and forests, really relax, and enjoy the tranquility far away from civilization. An unforgettable experience. Feel free to check out my blog post about Chiang Dao and see for yourself.
The references marked with an asterisk (*) are so-called commission links. If you click on such a referral link and buy something, I get a small commission from the provider. For you, the price does not change! I see it as a small thank you for my work and look forward to any support.