So much of our five months abroad was a spontaneous “yes” to a question we did not even know existed minutes before. Would like to celebrate your honeymoon with a private squid boat tour? Yup. How about doubling the time spent in Italy to meet family in Venice and travel the northern part of the country? Sure. In this case, it was asked by an old friend from home, want to meet me in Chiang Mai? Sure do. After moving some things around, we maneuvered Chiang Mai into our plans.
The yes’s are what made our travels become our life, our current location, our home. As we’ve mentioned before, traveling long-term is not always easy. Finding the yes’s in the midst of all the movement was how our trip evolved into what it was and carried us into the moments we will likely find hard to forget.
It wasn’t long into planning this Chiang Mai stop-off that we saw “sticky waterfalls Chiang Mai” pop into our search box, and not long after that, a half-assed plan was formed to visit them in Jedsee Fountain Forest Park.
All this to say that yes, we did throw our plans out the window (again) and reformed them into something that fit Chiang Mai, friends, and stunning national parks with climbable waterfalls (!!!). A spot that has long been popular with locals, the Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls are gaining increasingly in popularity with tourists.
How to Get To the Bua Thong Sticky Waterfall in Jedsee Fountain Forest Park (also called the Bua Tong sticky waterfalls or simply, sticky waterfalls)
The falls are located in Jedsee Fountain Forest Park about an hour and a half outside of Chiang Mai.
From Chiang Mai:
While there a few different ways to get to the Bua Thong sticky waterfalls from Chiang Mai, all of them involve a car of some type.
The first and easiest is to take a tour. For us, tours are never the preferred option. However, we recognize that can be useful for people who do not like planning as much.
The second–also easy–option is to hire a taxi or driver. We went through our friends’ hostel. They coordinated the whole thing: called the driver, set up the time, and discussed the price. It cost 6 of us 2000 Baht to rent the car for the day. We also stopped at a waterfall in Doi Suthep–Pui National Park which was included in this cost. We thought this was a very good price.
The third option is to rent a car or scooter to make the drive yourself. We only recommend this if you have experience driving in Asia.
Getting to Chiang Mai:
Take the Bangkok to Chiang Mai train for an awesome experience. The statistics for driving accidents in Thailand scared us a lot, and we found the non-sleeper train to be a fun, local experience – there were no other tourists in our train car when we went up.
What exactly are these sticky waterfalls outside of Chiang Mai?
The Bua Tong or Bua Thong waterfalls, also known as simple, the sticky falls, are named so for a reason. Fed by calcium-rich springs, the mineral deposits have layered over many years to form what is now a cascading formation that is not slippery to walk on. Bare feet easily grip the material, or “stick” to it, making it easy to scramble up.
Funnily enough, these deposits are the same ones that made it easy to climb up the hot springs we found in Tuscany. Always love making connections to very different places in the world and seeing how it’s all connected.
Why Should You Visit the Sticky Waterfalls?
While it is not the only one, there are not that many other places in the world with a sticky waterfall. The contrast of the white mineral deposits that give the falls its “sticky” name with the lush green forest it pours through is worth going just to stare at.
Aside from that, this natural phenomenon is just downright fun. They have put up ropes to assist with the climb up, but the novelty of walking up a waterfall on the relatively steady ground does not fade quickly.
There are three tiers, each of which are a bit different to get to. Not everyone in our group made the sticky climb, but speaking for myself, it’s pretty easy to do. There was no point where I felt like I had to maneuver or scramble as you would with rock climbing, it’s overall pretty simple and well laid out.
We did also stop off at Doi Suthep–Pui National Park, which is on the way back from the sticky waterfalls to Chiang Mai. The stop here was brief and we only went to the main waterfall near the parking lot. There was what looked like an hour-ish walking trail near there as well that we started on but turned back. A sighting of a spider the size of my palm and the incoming darkness made us rethink the walk. However, this park seemed really cool. Afterwards, we wish we had planned more time here.
Logistics for planning a visit to the Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls
|Free! Just the cost of transportation which will vary depending on which you choose.
|Car rental, car hire, or tour.
We hired a car as a group for the full day for 2000 Baht. Negotiating is appropriate and expected.
|Distance from Chiang Mai
|One hour and a half. Google Map location is accurate.
|Monday-Sunday 08:00 A.M. – 05:00 P.M.
|There is no proper website. The closest I found was the Thai tourism board:
Location of the sticky waterfalls, Chiang Mai
The falls are located in the Jedsee Fountain Forest Park, which is itself inside the Mae Taeng National Forest Reserve. We had a hard time explaining the location of the falls to our driver initially because all over the internet people claim that the sticky waterfalls are in Si Lanna National Park. This is still confusing to me, its unclear if the forest park is in Si Lanna or next to it. Either way, we showed our driver the map on our phone and he knew where it was.
Amenities at Jedsee Fountain Forest Park
There is a small shop on site that sells snacks and a few other items. Most locals bring food in so they can picnic, all of which looked delicious. We brought snacks purchased from the local market in Chiang Mai the day before, mostly fruits and veggies, and chomped on them throughout the day.
Best Time of Year to Visit
Year Round. Seasons in Chiang Mai province vary with temperature and rainfall. Generally, the Cool season in November – February, probably the most pleasant time to be there but most crowded. The hot season is March-June and the rainy season runs from June – October.
There are campsites available on site. We stayed in a guesthouse in Chiang Mai, so we can’t speak to what the experience of camping out here is like. However, the bathrooms and campgrounds looked clean when we visited. I have no idea how to reserve one of these or use them, probably best to ask around once in Chiang Mai if you are interested in them.
More Helpful Tips
- Don’t want to climb? You don’t have to. Stairs are on the left leading down to the falls.
- There is a viewpoint off of the parking lot that is gorgeous and worth hanging at for a bit.
- Hiking trails are available in the area that we did not investigate, but I’m sure would be lovely. Most people hang in the main area. I’d imagine it would be easy to find quiet space if you are walking on the trails off of it.
- This is one of the many amazing waterfalls in Asia, check out more on this list if you have the time!