After living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for for 3.5 months, I have been able to explore the popular sites in and around the city. A couple weeks ago, I joined a few friends to find another popular site, the Buatong Sticky water falls.
These water falls are about a 1 hour motorbike ride outside of Chiang Mai. I have made two trips to the waterfalls. The 1st time, a friend organized a trip and a group of us split the cost of a songtao (taxi) to the waterfalls
The total cost was 1500 BHT or 200 BHT per person. This was really nice as the stress of driving was not a concern. During the 2nd trip, I rode my motorcycle out to the waterfalls with a few other people in a group.
Although we had great weather and the route is very straight forward, driving for that length of time can be slightly stressful. Once you get further outside of town, the drive is really nice and scenic.
The general directions to get out to the waterfalls is to head north on highway 1001 and follow it for about 1 hour. The highway starts out as a four lane highway and then turns into a two lane highway.
The highway starts to climb in elevation and becomes more mountainous. You pass rice fields and big farms. There will be a turn to the left for the Mae Nagt dam. Check out THIS POST about a trip that I did staying out there on houseboats!
Roughly, 15 minutes after passing the turn-off for Mae Ngat Dam there will be a turn to the right for the “Buatong waterfalls.”
You will turn onto a narrow two-lane road that takes you along more farms. After roughly 10 minutes, there will be parking for the waterfalls on your left.
Once you have arrived to the waterfalls, there is plenty of parking for either cars or motorbikes. Fortunately, the top of the waterfalls is an easy walk from the parking area. If you choose, you can make a picnic for the day as there is a lot of grass to hang out on.
Be sure to bring a swimsuit and a change of clothes to change into. I would recommend taking the stairs to the bottom of the sticky waterfalls and then exploring them from there.
Another alternative is to descend the waterfall from the top but if you are clumsy or scared of heights I would not encourage this route.
The waterfalls were formed from limestone that has accumulated to make an impressive rock formation. The limestone is very abrasive, even with water running over it. Therefore, it is possible to walk up the waterfall as the limestone acts as sandpaper.
It is a really unique sensation to be able to walk on stone that has water running over it and not feel slippery.
Beware, as there are small patches of spots that have accumulated algae on the rock which makes it slippery. These patches are distinctly different from the beige colored limestone. So be on the look out!
The waterfalls has three tiers of falls which lead to a small, shallow river at the bottom. The first two tiers of falls can be descended via stairs on the side of the waterfalls.
Both times that I have been to the falls there are a few other people that are exploring the falls.
There are bathrooms that are available near the parking area at the top of the falls.
Additionally, there is an interpretive trail at the opposite end of the waterfalls that is relatively short and leads to a natural spring. It is an easy walk and I would recommend checking it out if you have the time.
The Buatong sticky waterfalls makes for a great day activity or half-day activity. If you drive out there be sure to give yourself plenty of time to make it back to town before dark.