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The Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall Is Right By Chiang Mai, Thailand

Posted by Jen King on 6/12/24 12:31 PM

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Easily the coolest day trip you could take. 

We love love Chiang Mai, Thailand. It's our favorite place for jungle excursions, souvenir shopping, all things elephants, and a handful of temples that are too pretty not to post on Instagram. It also has the added benefit of having other nearby adventures, like the Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall. 

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If you've ever visited a waterfall before, you know they are notorious for being slippery. There is no way you could ever climb up them, right? That's the amazing thing about this waterfall! Once you learn that you can actually walk right up the falls, you won't wonder why it's named "Sticky".

All About The Bua Tong Falls

How Does It Work?

The secret to being able to climb up the falls is the type of rock: limestone. It's made up of a mineral deposit that is grippy and never forms slime or algae. It's hard to explain, but the rocks feel like a hardened sponge. It's a little prickly and hard to the touch but does give in under pressure. 

Do I Need Any Equipment To Climb? 

This is the best part! You can climb the waterfalls without a single piece of equipment. You really don't even need shoes (although they are recommended just for the comfort of your feet). No ropes, carabiners, or anything required. The rocks are "sticky" enough to scale with just your hands and feet.

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What Should I Bring?

This will be a full-day trip, so you will need to be prepared to be outside all day. Here are some things I recommend bringing:

  • Food for the day*
  • Plenty of water
  • Waterproof camera (or a dry bag for your camera) 
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Dry clothes to change into 
  • Water shoes
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Toilet paper (there are restrooms there, but no toilet paper)

*If you want a hot lunch, there is a market about 5 minutes before you enter the park you can stop at. They make traditional Thai lunches you can grab along with some snacks and drinks if you didn't pack any beforehand. 

Getting To The Waterfall 

It's easiest if you're doing a day trip from Chiang Mai, a city in the northern part of Thailand. We recommend coming here anyway because there's so much to do in and around Chiang Mai (like zip lining, hanging out with elephants, too many temples, and more). 

From Chiang Mai 

From Chiang Mai, there are a couple of options.

Booking a tour is the easiest way to get out there, but you're also paying a bit more for the convenience. Aside from not having to worry about how to get there, tours also often include another stop or two. It all depends on the tour you book, but some will take you to the market before going into the park, let you hike to other falls, or even to a nearby cave. Chiang Mai, in general, has such a pull for tourists, so you'll find that there are tons of tour companies in the area. You'll want to look around to find the best one for you. While you're comparing prices and what's included (there's a wide range of prices depending on the tour), don't forget to look through their reviews. 

The most budget-friendly route is to haul a songthaew. If you're not familiar with songthaews yet, it's essentially a Thai taxi truck. They typically hold up to 8 people and are cheap, cheap, cheap when you're splitting it with a group of people! This is usually a great option for adventurous travelers who don't mind doing the DYI option to save a few bucks.

If you go with a songthaew, make sure to arrange a ride back into town. The Sticky Falls are surprisingly not as well known to tourists, so you'll probably be surrounded by a few locals instead of swarms of foreigners. It's a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, but that also means you may not be able to just grab a taxi on your way out. 

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Have Thailand on your mind?

I don't blame you — luckily there are some major perks depending on your situation. You can get paid to teach in Thailand if you have a Bachelor's degree. Or you can volunteer here with no experience, just click the button below: 

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Topics: Asia

Hey friends!

We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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