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The Best Waterfalls in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s nature is best known for forested mountains, several lakes and a good variety of scenic hiking trails. Lesser known but equally beautiful are Chiang Mai’s wonderful waterfalls that come in different shapes and sizes. For a perfect day at a waterfall, make sure to take some snacks and drinks along, a blanket, some swim shorts and a towel – you don’t want to miss a cool dip, or?


Best Waterfalls in Chiang Mai

We’ve selected to best waterfalls in Chiang Mai:

  1. Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls

A rather rare phenomenon can be witnessed at Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall – the surface provides enough grip to climb smoothly up and down, hence the name. The ‘stickiness’ is caused through a high level of calcium in the water. You can further explore the park by hiking along numerous leisure trails. In case you get hungry, there is a small market with local food stalls around.

How to get there:

Take highway 1001 up north, past Mae Jo for about 1.5 hours. The best way to get there is by hiring a Songthaew (1200-1500 THB).

  1. Mae Sa Waterfall

Arguably one of the most photogenic waterfalls around Chiang Mai. This multi-tier waterfall consists of 10 levels that you can even climb up carefully. Alternatively, you can take a narrow and slightly demanding trail next to the waterfall that leads up to the top. Each level is different in size but just shallow enough to stay inside. It’s a popular weekend spots for locals and expats, therefore come in the morning and during the week to avoid the hordes of visitors.

How to get there:

The Mae Sa Waterfall lies in Mae Rim, close to the popular Tiger Kingdom. It’s a 40 minutes-ride from downtown Chiang Mai, but well worth the visit.

  1. Huay Kaew Waterfall

Easy and quick accessible, the Huay Kaew Waterfall is just a short distance from Chiang Mai Zoo. Although not the biggest waterfall it’s set in a nice green surrounding that makes up some great photos. The waterfall is also the starting point for an epic hike to the top of Doi Suthep with various attractions and viewpoints along the way. There are plenty of parking options around, as well several local eateries.

How to get there:

You can easily walk from Chiang Mai Zoo to the waterfall which takes about 5-7 minutes. Ideally, you can combine a visit with a trip to Wat Doi Suthep.

  1. Mae Ya Waterfall

Located within Doi Inthanon National Park, Mae Ya is by far one of the most picturesque waterfalls. The main fall has a height of 40m in addition to a series of cascades down a slope that make up over 200m in total. The whole scenery here is absolutely gorgeous and, although it takes a bit of time to get here, you’ll be rewarded with one of Chiang Mai’s most beautiful natural spots. By the way, the water is extremely clear and yes, you can jump inside (due to the altitude the water might be a bit chilly).

How to get there:

First, head towards Doi Inthanon and then follow the signs towards the town of Mae Ya. You have to go further towards the village of Chom Thong.

  1. Mae Takhrai Waterfall

This stunning waterfall is part of the same named national park that lies between 400 to 2000m above the sea level. Located to the southeast of Chiang Mai city, towards Lamphun, the park is home to an outstanding mix of tropical rains forest and deciduous forest. The waterfall itself is a single-tiered waterfall, located about 6km from the park’s headquarter. Its surrounding is beautifully covered by a variety of plants and flowers that seasonally blossom is various colours.

How to get there:

Take road no. 118 towards Doi Saket, ca. 30 km from downtown Chiang Mai.

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