The Top 10 most beautiful Waterfalls in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is not a beach destination, but who needs a beach if you have gorgeous waterfalls hidden in lush green jungles? Have a refreshing dip in the cold water after a day of hiking or just take a motor bike and drive to one of the waterfalls for a picknick with your friends. There are so many options, too many to visit them all. We have tried to put our favourite waterfalls in this list. From small showers to glistening pools, slippery and sticky rock formations, multiple tier green cascades to enormous falls that are so impressive that you will keep taking pictures until your phone is out of battery. Please read on to find out everything you need to know about the best waterfalls in Chiang Mai.
When to visit the Chiang Mai waterfalls
The best time to visit the waterfalls around Chiang Mai is from June until December. In June the rainy season starts, and the rainy season will end in November leaving most waterfalls dry from the end of January until the beginning of June. In August and September, during the peak of rainy season some waterfalls will have so much water that it’s dangerous to bathe in them. Always check the signs and follow the advice from National Park rangers in case of bad weather.
Sticky Waterfalls or Bua Thong Waterfalls
Let’s start this top 10 with the most interesting waterfall in Chiang Mai province. The Sticky Waterfall also known as Bua Thong Waterfall is famous for its sticky rock formation. The stickiness comes from a kind of mineral in the spring water that leaves a grip on the surface of the rocks. Enjoy climbing up and down the falls without having to worry about slippery rocks. Great fun!
You can reach the Sticky Waterfalls by car, motorbike or by joined tour. It’s about 60 kilometer or an hour drive to the north from the old city in Chiang Mai. You can combine a visit to the Sticky Waterfalls with a visit to the Mae Ngat Dam Lake in Sirilanna National Park. Make sure that you leave early to be able to spend as much time as possible on the lake, it’s an awesome place for lunch and you can even spend the night here on one of the house boats. If you are driving from Chiang Mai to Pai then you can make a short de-tour to have lunch and bathe at the falls.
We offer a day trip to the Sticky Waterfalls from Chiang Mai, including a visit to Doi Suthep, Wat Pha Lat, The Orchid and butterfly farm and lunch. Please click on the link below for more information.
Mae Sa Waterfall
The Mae Sa Waterfall in Maerim is one of the easiest accessible waterfalls from the city of Chiang Mai. Just over a 20-kilometer drive North from the old city, this is a very popular place for both locals and tourists. It’s located in the Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park and foreigners must pay 150 Baht entrance fee. This is well worth it; the Mae Sa Waterfall boasts 10 tiers and you can easily spend 2 hours walking up to the last tier and back. There are a few refreshing pools for a rewarding dip. In the weekends you will see a lot of local Thais enjoying a picknick lunch with their families and friends right by the water. There are shops selling barbeque chicken, local Chiang Mai “Sai Oua” sausage, Papaya Salad and sticky rice. You can combine a visit to the Mae Sa Waterfalls with the Samoeng Loop. This 100-kilometer road trip around Doi Suthep is a great day trip on a motorbike or even by car to get a taste of the life in the Northern Thai mountains. Be prepared for breath taking views!
Tad Mork Waterfall
The Tad Mork Waterfall is like the Mae Sa Waterfalls younger brother. It’s located in the Doi Suthep-Doi Pui national park and if you have already visited the Mae Sa Falls you can use the same entrance ticket to visit the Tad Mork Waterfall. It’s a 20-minute drive North from the Mae Sa Waterfall on the way to Mon Jam. The 15-meter-high cascade is a very impressive sight, especially during rainy season, and there is a great plunge pool. After visiting the Tad Mork Waterfall we recommend driving further up to Mon Jam Mountain. The views over the Northern plains are fantastic here and it’s a good spot for a well-deserved lunch and a cold beer.
The Wachirathan Waterfall is one of the highlights of Doi Inthanon National Park. The mossy rocks, cloudy mist and emerald water give this place a magical atmosphere. There’s a colorful rainbow appearing in front of the waterfall every time the sun is shining through the mist. This makes it a very photogenic spot and you will have to wait for your turn to take a good shot. Bathing is not allowed at the Wachirathan Waterfall, but you can do a short hike to the top to take some more great pictures.
The Wachirathan Waterfall is 100 kilometers south of Chiang Mai and most people combine this waterfall with a visit to Doi Inthanon National Park, the highest peak of Thailand. We recommend taking a day trip from Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon National park to get the most out of your visit. Please click on the buttons below for more information.
Mae Sa Pok Waterfall
The Mae Sa Pok Waterfall is a gorgeous natural shower in Mae Wang National Park, about 60 kilometers south of Chiang Mai. It’s one of the highlights during our two-day Exclusive Trekking and Chiang Mai Elephant Legend tour programs. You can walk through a curtain of fresh water and sit behind the waterfall under the rocks. The place really feels like heaven during the hot and humid summer days of Chiang Mai.
The waterfall is easy to reach by your own private transportation and there are a few other waterfalls that you can visit nearby, like the Mae Wang Waterfall and even a secluded “Jungle Beach Waterfall” named Namtok Haad Sai. Namtok means waterfall in Thai language. You can combine this with a visit to the Pha Chor Canyon to create your own private day trip out of the city without much other tourists around. We do not recommend visiting this waterfall in dry season because it will dry up completely. The best months to visit will be July, August, September, October and November.
If you like to visit the Mae Sa Pok Waterfall with one of our tours, then please check out the following programs.
Mork Fa Waterfall
On the scenic winding road from Chiang Mai to Pai you will drive past the Mork Fa Waterfall, about 50 kilometer north of Chiang Mai city. Make sure that you have time to stop here when you are driving to Pai! From the entrance you must do a short 1-kilometer hike to get to the falls. It’s a beautiful waterfall with high cliffs and nice sandy beaches, perfect for an afternoon picknick. The pool below the cascade is easy to access and a paradise for children (and adults) to swim and play in. The water drops from the cliffs about 40 meters down into the green pool and produces a cool refreshing mist.
If you are on the way from Chiang Mai to Pai and looking for a place to spend the night to break the journey, then you can spend the night on a nearby campsite. There is also a bat cave and a few hiking trails in the area. Just ask the National Park rangers at the entrance for more information.
Another Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park waterfall that makes our list is the Monthathan Waterfall. The tiny Monthathan Waterfall proves that size doesn’t matter. There are two small drops separated by a 500-meter stair walkway. Don’t be disappointed when you arrive, we highly recommend walking to the second level, it’s a beautiful and very quiet natural spot. The green pool below the drop is very inviting to dive in so bring your bathing suit!
You can visit this waterfall by trekking, motorbike or car. It’s located halfway up to the mountain on the way to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, about 5 kilometers from the old city. The entrance fee is 100 Baht per person and 20 Baht for a motorbike. If you decide to hike to the falls, then you must follow the Pilgrims Trail and after the Wat Pha Lat temple take a right on the main road until you see the sign on your left-hand side. It is not a hike for beginners as the elevation is quite steep. After the waterfall you can continue your hike to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and from there you can take a red taxi for 50 Baht per person back to the city.
Huay Kaew Waterfall
The Huay Kaew Waterfall is located at the end (or beginning) of Huay Kaew Road. Just after the Chiang Mai Zoo and at the base of Doi Suthep Mountain. If you are staying in Nimman or the Old City area of Chiang Mai, you can easily reach this place by bicycle or red pick-up truck (30 Baht per person). This is the closest waterfall to the city and unfortunately also our least favorite one. There are pools to bathe in and you can do some climbing and hiking up to higher levels, but there’s not much water most of the time. It’s a nice place to chill and hang out with friends on a hot day and it makes for a good coffee break if you are on a motorbike trip up to Doi Suthep.
Mae Kampong Waterfall
About 50 kilometers east of Chiang Mai city you can find the picturesque village of Mae Kampong and its scenic waterfall. The waterfall consists of 3 tiers that you can hike up to following a path and steep stairways through the jungle. There are several pools to cool down in. Don’t forget to have a coffee at the famous Baan Chom Nok Chom Mai coffee shop when you make your way back to the village. Located in a wooden house built against a hillside this beautiful place serves freshly brewed coffee and tea grown locally at the nearby plantations. It also has the best views of the teak wooden houses in Mae Kampong Village below... Awesome!
Are you looking for the ultimate off the beaten path waterfall trekking tour? Then check out our Walk Only Trekking programs with the Maewin and Family. With this 1, 2- or 3-day hike in the mountains of Chiang Mai we will visit several waterfalls in the area of Doi Inthanon and Mae wang National Park. One of the highlights is the hidden “Jungle Beach” waterfall also known as Namtok Haad Sai. We will also visit the Namtok Pra Tu Mueang, Namtok Huai Hoi, Namtok Mae Puai and Namtok Pha Mon.
Please check out our Chiang Mai trekking tours by clicking on the link below.