The Sticky Waterfall of Chiang Mai, Bua Tong, is among my favorite waterfalls in Southeast Asia because its interactive, and as the name indicates you are able to scale it!
Getting There: it’s about an hour north of the city, up route 1001. Hiring a motorbike for the day is the cheapest option for ฿150. Alternatively if you have a decent sized group hire a Songthaew (Red taxi truck) for the afternoon.
Costs: entrance is completely free, so the only costs is the bike hire.
Additional Information: assume correctly that you will get wet, so a change of clothes is a decent idea and also a dry bag to keep your stuff in.
Bua Tong is my favorite waterfall in Thailand and I’m going to recommend that you go here if you are in Chiang Mai. One of the best things about Chiang Mai is the variety of activities on offer and this is up there with the best of them.
Sitting about an hour North of Chiang Mai is this natural phenomenon known as Bua Tong or the Sticky Waterfall. So what’s the deal with the name? The waterfall is a multi tiered limestone waterfall that you can climb through, not just around the waterfall but actually in the waterfall… but wait aren’t waterfalls slippery? Usually yes, they are slippery as hell, but the limestone along with a mineral deposit in the water mean that you have an incredible amount of grip on the rock, it’s almost like a pumice type stone; a little callous to the touch but insanely grippy when climbing the falls.
You’ll arrive at the waterfalls through the main entrance of the National Park where you’ll head straight down the stairs, past various different tiers of waterfall until you come to a shallow pool at the base of the falls. This is the best place to start from and work your way back up clambering along the rocks as the water gushes around you.
Once at the base you’ll start climbing until you either reach the top or you get bored. The climbs are fairly easy, the water rushes around your feet but the rocks are so sticky that you won’t need to worry about falling. There are a few places where you might need the help of some strategically placed ropes, mainly because the falls get so steep, these just add to the fun of climbing the waterfall. Keep an eye out for signs as there are a few small spots where the rock isn’t limestone so it resumes to its natural state of being slippery and unsafe.
The waterfalls are stunning to look at, the bulbous type rock pokes out creating otherworldly shapes. The water is crystal clear emanating from a natural spring and the forest around the National Park is a magnificent dense green color. On a sunny day there really is nothing quite like this place its mesmerizing!