Bua Tong – Sticky Waterfall Chiang Mai
The Bua Tong Waterfall is a must see for anyone visiting Chiang Mai. Sometimes referred to as Sticky Waterfall for the unique rocks that have formed in such a way that they allow you to be able to walk or climb up, this is a spectacular place to relax and enjoy the day. We just happened to stop by for about an hour as we headed to a different destination and wish we had had more time. While, we didn’t spend that much time there, we loved it so much that we plan to go back and wanted to share with you all of the details so you can plan to visit as well. In this post, we share with you what makes Bua Tong Waterfall such a special place to visit as well as how to get there and what to take with you for a fun-filled time that is sure to cool you down on any hot day in Chiang Mai .
Why You Should Visit Bua Tong Waterfall
The unusual surface of the rocks, shaped by the calcium carbonate rich stream that flows over them, has made this waterfall famous. While instinct may tell you that you will slip if you try to step on these rocks, you’ll be surprised to find that your feet “stick,” thanks to the griping characteristic of the limestone. In some of the areas, the stones create a convenient “staircase,” allowing for folks to simply walk up as the water flows down.
So, it’s really fun to be able to just walk up a waterfall!
Now, you do have to pay attention as some areas are actually slippery. In some of the spots where water doesn’t flow down that quickly, algae has been able to form, causing it to be slippery. So there are factors that still make it just like any other waterfall.
Being able to walk up where the water flows down is a very refreshing feeling on a hot day, such as the one we went on (100+ degree day!). Another refreshing aspect of going here is the lack of very many tourists. You may not even see other tourists at the time you visit, but only a few locals. Having said that, you can guess, it’s a pretty relaxing place. Take a book along and find a nice shaded spot alongside the flowing water and you may never want to leave!
How To Get There
It is truly unlike any other waterfall that we have been to in Chiang Mai (or California, at that!). We had the opportunity to visit this awesome spot as we were heading to Rabaen Pasak Treehouse Resort. They had arranged for a taxi to take us to the resort from our place in the city and they offered a stop at the waterfall for an additional fee. However, grabbing a Red Trucks (Songthaew) from Chiang Mai City would also be a good way to get to the falls if you are going as a group or don’t feel like driving. If you are just traveling alone or as a couple, a motorbike would probably be even better, if you don’t mind the hour and half of driving. The waterfall is fairly easy to get to.
Located north of Chiang Mai Old City , the drive up the 1001 is semi-scenic and can be fun on a motorbike. You will pretty much stay on the 1001 for most of the trip. Keep an eye out for signs telling you where to make that quick right to get to Bua Tong Waterfall.
What To Take With You
FOOD. While food is prohibited in the waterfall area, you can take a little picnic for yourself to enjoy in the area just before you approach the falls. Either pack some snacks to bring with you in a backpack or make a quick stop along the way for some freshly prepared Thai food as take-away. However you choose to deal with your food situation, just make sure that you respect the areas where food is not allowed (you will be a good person and you will avoid the fine by doing this!) Also, if you happen to have a mat, bring that along to have a comfy place to sit, if you have to sit on the ground.
CLOTHING. Aside from food, I would recommend some additional items to have with you. Unless you are planning to just stand at the bottom and take a few photos for your Instagram, you will get wet actually climbing the waterfall. I know it’s common sense, but people may not think about bringing a set of clothing to change to because the waterfall isn’t the type that is gushing with water and doesn’t have a pond below to swim in. Unlike Mae Sa Waterfall, there is no real swimming area. Having said that, you will still have a lot of fun climbing, walking, and stepping up this interesting looking waterfall and you will get wet.
SWIM SUIT. I would suggest wearing your swim suit under your regular clothes and then changing to a full set of dry clothes afterwards. You wont see a lot of people just wearing their swim suits. The Thai people are a lot more modest in their clothing, even when going for a swim. You will see Thai women wearing regular clothes while swimming at any lake or waterfall. So, just to not stand out too much and respect the culture here, it’s better to do as they do.
SHOES. I had a pair of water shoes from my jet skiing days in San Diego that I had brought with me. They turned out to work great in this situation. I would recommend bringing this with you to Thailand if you are traveling anywhere here because they are just perfect. Whether you are visiting waterfalls, lakes, beaches, or spending the day with elephants these types of shoes will protect your feet and you don’t have to worry about them falling off like flip flops. If you have sandals that have a back and can be secured to your feet, that will be great, too. The uniqueness of this waterfall allows your bare feet to grip on as you walk and climb up, but having some protection to your feet is always a plus.
TOWEL. Having a towel handy will help you when you are done playing around at the falls. While the temperature here allows you to air dry fairly quickly, you may just want to have a small towel to help the process and be able to wear your dry clothes quickly.
Well, guys, hope you get a chance to get out of the city and have a relaxing getaway here at some point while in Chiang Mai. If you’ve been there and have other tips, please let us know if the comments section.
Here’s a video of our quick visit in May.
About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!