Nam Tok Bua Tong (น้ําตกบัวตอง), or the Sticky Waterfall is a really unique falls in Chiang Mai Province. This waterfall bubbles up from a natural spring and the water has such high levels of dissolved minerals, it coats the rocks and tree roots that it flows over in high-traction limestone. Even on the parts steeper than 45 degrees, you can still walk safely. It’s a really fun place to play, and you can get great photos here as well.
The Sticky Falls are located under an hour and a half from the City making it a popular half-day trip for travelers, and it’s really worth the journey. The Chiang Mai sticky falls used to be fairly unknown but can get pretty crowded these days. Read on for our top tips for visiting and how you can have the falls completely to yourself. To see what the falls are all about, check out the two videos we’ve made from there in the past.
How to get to Sticky Falls
The Sticky Waterfall can be found at this location. It’s around an hour and twenty-minute drive from Chiang Mai. If you’re an experienced rider, it’s pretty easy to get there on a motorbike which can be rented all over Chiang Mai. The red songthaew pickup trucks in Chiang Mai can also be hired for the trip. You should negotiate before how long you’ll stay at the falls, but an hour is the norm. The price should be between 1000 and 1500 Baht (~$30-$45 USD) so it’s best to get at least a few people to share it.
Best time to visit Chiang Mai Sticky Falls
Because the water comes from a natural spring, the Sticky Falls flow at pretty much the same rate year-round. If you want to have the Sticky Falls all to yourself, you will need to get there early in the morning or in the evening. The best way to do this is to actually stay overnight in the area. This will save you having to wake up very early in the morning, or having to drive back to Chiang Mai in the dark. The area around the Sticky Falls is quite nice too, and you can do a bit of exploring around there. We stayed at a very nice resort nearby with rooms for under 1000 Baht. If you open that link and click the map view, you can also find other accommodation in the area, some for a bit less money, and some more luxurious options as well. We found that before 9 am and after 5 pm were the best times at the waterfall.
Sticky Falls entrance fee, safety tips, and what to see
The Chiang Mai Sticky Falls are absolutely free to visit. When you arrive you’ll park at a large grassy area. There are some restaurants around here, and toilets where you can change. The falls start at the level you’re at here and go down. If you have the time, it’s cool to see the source of the falls – a natural spring a few minutes walk up from the parking area. In Thai they call it the seven colors spring, although it mostly looked green and blue to me. If you go up, look at the bottom and watch how the black sand moves as the water pushes through it.
There is a path that leads you down to the right of the falls. At the bottom is one level, but keep heading down to the next level to see the most iconic bit where you can get the best photos that show off the traction of the rock. It’s also the most fun place to play around. Most people never go down further than here, but it’s worth a look. The falls in the photo below are what you’ll find. If you feel up to it, you can make your way back up to the top by climbing up the falls. There are some ropes tied to trees and they help out a lot, but I definitely wouldn’t put my life on the line using them. They’re just there to help you balance.
Note that while in most places the rock is extremely grippy, in a few areas some algae makes it very slippery. You still need to be careful when you walk. Don’t take too many risks, and you’ll have a great time here. The Sticky Falls are absolutely worth the trip, especially when you get them all to yourself.