Bua Tong, A.K. A Sticky Waterfalls is a unique hike about 50 kilometers north of Chiang Mai in the Sri Lanna National Park.

The waterfalls span several tiers up and down the valley. At the top of the  is a picturesque view of the land below. The setting feels like a scene out of Lord of the Rings.

The rocky surfaces that make up the waterfalls have a truly unique bubble-like appearance that I can only liken to some of the landscapes in the early Final Fantasy games.

IMG_1142

The texture of the rocks was like something i’ve never seen before.

The abundance of calcium and other rich minerals is what makes these waterfalls truly special though, and what gives the feature it’s  catchy name.

The rich composition of the rocks makes the surface sticky to the point of being able to climb straight up and down the wet incline. Even when the crystal clear water is gushing down the falls, you can cling safely to the rocks, just like spiderman.

The Sticky Waterfalls are easy to find,  free to get into, and one of the most unique natural spots I’ve been to in Thailand.  For these reasons, I think Bua Tong is one of the best hikes in Chiang Mai.

Splash in the running water, take in the sweeping views, and enjoy having spider-grip superpowers for a day.

 

How to Get to the Sticky Waterfalls Chiang Mai 

It’s pretty much a straight shot north up Route 1001,  and it takes about an hour.

The drive is beautiful, and there are a couple of signs along the way, as well as places to buy gas.

The drive is pretty hilly and there is a good amount of traffic, so if you don’t have a lot of experience driving a motorbike, it would probably be best to just hire a taxi or songtao.

Hired transport will cost you around 1,500 baht, so why not invite a few friends to come along!

 

We got a Flat Tire 

IMG_1118

Life ain’t always easy on the open road…

Yep, so be extra careful driving to Sticky Waterfalls. It’s probably best to go with a friend. My tire blew, and I was able to wait by my bike while my friend Paige drove to the nearest spot with motorbikes out front, and what do you know, they were able to fix my tire!

After living in Isaan for a year and a half, I was used to flat tires, and I knew it would be an easy fix. The whole experience waiting for the tire to be fixed at the mechanic’s house was actually a lot of fun.

IMG_1117

My new friend’s frog farm.

Krissy played with the young boy in the front yard,  and I played with the dog, and let the lady who lived there show me her frog farm. Sometimes moments like those can turn into some of the best cultural experiences.

Still, might not be a bad idea to check your bike before heading out, and, go with a friend in case your vehicle acts up.

Packing for Sticky Waterfalls 

daypack-1209452_1280

 

  • Camera
  • Towel
  • Clothes that you suitable for wet rock hopping
  • Dry clothes to change into for the ride back
  • Money

My biggest regret was not bringing a change of clothes. If you’re heading back later in the day, and you’re on a motorbike, chances are that you may get a little chilly if you’re in wet clothing. Clothes and a towel are crucial.

 

Eating at Sticky Waterfalls 

IMG_5513

We ate at a restaurant on site and it was absolutely delicious. The food was Isaan style— grilled chicken, papaya salad, sticky rice, and some fried vegetables. The meal was inexpensive and prices were no different than what you would find inside the city.

Otherwise I saw people having a picnic in the park at the top of the waterfalls. This seems to be fine, so you can bring your own food and have a picnic. That being said, there is a huge fine for littering, and bringing food down into the waterfalls is discouraged, and kind of a dumb idea. I saw one guy trying to get up the waterfalls with the Leo bottle in his hand, and he was really struggling.

Best to leave the food and drink at the park on top of the falls.

Are the Sticky Waterfalls Safe? 

IMG_1129

100%! There are a couple of areas on the falls that have ropes. You can use these ropes to help climb up the really difficult areas, but for the most part your hands and feet will provide total grip and control.

Tips:

  • Don’t wear shoes

The grip is much better with the skin of your foot.

  • Watch for algae

There’s a couple of green patches on the rocks. These areas can be a little bit more slippery than others. Still pretty minimal danger of falling on the whole, but just be careful.

  • Don’t drink

It’s hot, it’s far away, and you’re going to be exerting yourself climbing up and down the falls. Save it for later.

  • Be confident in your movements

Make clear movements, and stick close to the rocks, and you’ll be fine. Even if you have zero rock climbing/ bouldering experience, you can have a great day scaling these bad boys.

If you still feel like you’re nervous going up and down the rocks, there is a trail that leads to up and down through several of the levels, so you’ll still be able to experience a couple of the different stunning sites.

Is it Worth Going to the Sticky Waterfalls? 

Northern Thailand is truly a spectacle to behold

Northern Thailand is truly a spectacle to behold

Absolutely. The drive is beautiful, and the actual site is one of the most unique, fun natural features I’ve ever visited in The Land of Smiles. If you’re in the Chiang Mai area, don’t miss out on the Sticky Waterfalls.

This place is truly magical.

IMG_1130

As if this place wasn’t magical enough, you can also find butterflys fluttering freely all throughout the park.

Want to see some other waterfalls? Check out the awesome hikes on Koh Chang.

Thanks for reading, and happy travels everyone!