Buathong Sticky Waterfalls Chiang Mai - Location and Directions

The Sticky Waterfalls, officially known as Buatong or Bua Thong waterfalls is an amazing day trip about an hour outside of Chiang Mai.  My favorite thing about Chiang Mai is that there are so many cool things to do both inside and just outside of the city.  I've heard of the stickie waterfalls for months now but never had a chance to go until now.

It was incredibly fun, the videos and photos don't do it justice.  Below I'll give you guys directions to the location of the sticky waterfalls, some tips and tricks, and tell you what and what not to bring. Enjoy this short little video that L and I made.

Cost of Entrance:

Free!  However there is a small donation box near the entrance.  There is also a 1,500 baht ($50US) fine for bringing in food and drinks as they are trying to prevent litter.  It seems to work as I didn't see a single piece of plastic or rubbish there!  I approve. 

How to get to the Sticky Waterfalls: 

It takes about an hour drive from the city center of Chiang Mai to get to sticky waterfalls and directions are pretty straight forward.  You can ride your scooter out there pretty easily, as the road after Mae Jo university when you get out of the town is pretty much straight and flat, however you'll be driving 60km+ most of the way so make sure you're comfortable on a bike.  The other option is hiring a taxi for 1/2 or a full day.  Prices for that are usually 1,000 baht and up depending on various factors including number of people, and number of hours total.

L & I way overdressed for a waterfall.

The sticky waterfalls is around 50 km north of Chiang Mai and around 45 km before the town of Phrao.


Drive on the superhighway towards the Central Festival Mall in Chiang Mai and take the exit up the 1001 highway towards Phrao.  You'll drive past Mae Jo University and keep heading north, ignoring the random 1001 turn off that goes south east.  Just go straight past Mae Jo University and keep driving north.  Don't worry about petrol, there are several gas stations on the way.

Before the Sticky Waterfalls you'll see a big blue metal sign that says Buathong Waterfalls 18km.  Just stay on that road and you'll see another smaller blue metal sign when it's time to make a right.  It used to be a small wooden sign that was easy to miss, but now it's quite easy.  

Map of the Sticky Waterfalls:

View Buatong Waterfall in a larger map

What to bring:

 L and I were totally unprepared, but if we were to go again, we would have brought a change of clothes and either a dry bag or at least a plastic bag to keep our stuff in.  I would suggest you wear a set of clothes for the long, windy bike ride, and change once you get there.  They have public bathrooms you can change in.  It seems logical that you'll get wet at a waterfall, but for whatever reason, neither of us realized that until we were climbing down through the water in our goose down jacket, leather purse and noticed we were getting splashed.  

Learn from our mistake and bring proper swim wear and leave the street clothes at your bike or somewhere dry.  The only thing I would bring down to the actual waterfall is your camera.  Try to secure the rest of your stuff including your phone, wallet and keys somewhere else as you'll get pretty wet.  It is a waterfall afterall.

Tips and Tricks:

Start at level 3, which is the bottom most bottom.  It's the most beautiful by far and least visited as it's the hardest to reach.  Leave all of your dry stuff at your bike and lock up your valuables aside from your camera in a splash proof bag.  It doesn't need to be waterproof as you won't be swimming, but you'll definitely want something better than what we had, which was mainly hopes and prayers.  

The white rocks are super easy to walk on.  It's not really sticky waterfalls but more like, non-slip waterfalls. But be careful of the patches of green algae, those are super slippery.  Just have a bit of faith in yourself and you'll be walking up and down in no time, even though it feels completely unnatural.

Final Thoughts:

The Buathong Sticky Waterfalls is one of the coolest places I've ever been, and I've seen a lot of places in Thailand.  It's perfect for couples wanting to get off the beating track and for families.  It's not a must do for every tourist, but it's a nice to do if you have time.  The drive was just far enough out of town to ward off too many visitors, so even though it was a sunny saturday it wasn't crowded at all. 

I have no idea if there are "sticky waterfalls" anywhere else in the world, but this is the only place I've seen anything like it.  Just another reason to visit or live in Chiang Mai.

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD
Author of - Read the book, before you come.

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  1. There's only one place I've ever heard of before like this - that's Pamukkale in Turkey. Here's a photo I snapped, it's actually really huge: But I haven't really seen any other instance, so it's amazing to find it so close!

    1. Hey Layne, Pamukkale in Turkey looks incredible. I would love to spend time in those hot springs. Here's a video of it, - And yeah it's awesome that we have our version here in Chiang Mai!

  2. I live in Chiang Mai, and this place is a nice day out from the usual temples and such. A nice thing about CM is that here is a lot of natural and very scenic places within a 100km of the city, and depending on the time of year, can be spectacular... A quick word to the wise if you're planning on hiring a motorbike in Thailand, get a International Driver's Permit before you leave home, the police are getting very sticky about it, and you can get a good-sized fine for not having one at the many police checks set up around the city and in and out of town.. same with wearing a helmet, police are very strict on this!
    Also, keep to the left on the motorbike, Thai drivers can be either laid back or very aggressive, stay out of their way as much as possible... Finally, never surrender your passport to a motorbike hire company, get photocopies and sign them, I've heard of many cases where personal information gets stolen or passports go missing... Otherwise, enjoy the place!

  3. Through your pen I found the problem up interesting! I believe there are many other people who are interested in them just like me! How long does it take to complete this article? I hope you continue to have such quality articles to share with everyone! I believe a lot of people will be surprised to read this article!


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