The waterfalls in Chiang Mai are some of my most favourite waterfalls I have been to.
Let me first explain by saying I have an obsession for waterfalls, yes literally an obsession.
Whenever planning to travel somewhere one of my first questions is: “Are there waterfalls”? 🙂
The next question would normally forming around whether it was dry or rainy to gauge how fast flowing they may be.
So you got the idea right, waterfalls are my thing.
Having lived in Thailand for a number of years it’s easy to say that some of the best waterfalls around Southeast-Asia can be found there.
Especially in one of my favourite parts of Thailand: the city of Chiang Mai in the far north.
Whenever I can I get myself there and these are my choices of the best waterfalls in Chiang Mai area you can go to.
Many of the waterfalls around Chiang Mai are found around the Doi Suthep National Park which also has Thailands highest mountain.
Mountains = waterfalls!
The Best Chiang Mai Waterfalls 🙂
Mae Ya Waterfall
Mae Ya, Mae Ya, Mae Ya!!!
Mae Ya is my absolute favourite waterfall around Chiang Mai.
It’s set in Doi Inthanon National Park which is around a one hour drive south of Chiang Mai and is easily the best Doi Inthanon waterfall.
It’s a multi tiered waterfall that cascades down many levels as you can see in the pictures.
It’s the perfect waterfall to visit.
Top tip: arrive early enough in the morning for some peace and quiet (hopefully).
I arrived 9.30 in the morning on a Sunday and had the place all alone (except my photographer) for an hour or so.
Even later on around lunch there were only 10 or so people around, making it a very chilled waterfall to visit near Chiang Mai.
It costs 300 baht to enter Doi Inthanon National Park where Mae Ya is located but that gives you access to the whole park where you can see more waterfalls and go to the top of Thailand’s highest mountain.
Video of me dancing under the waterfalls 🙂
Huay Kaew Waterfall Chiang Mai
This waterfall is a must see waterfall in Chiang Mai as it’s super easy to get to as it’s just on the edge of the city, had several levels to scramble up, and is popular with locals.
Many people love to visit waterfalls and have some peace and quiet, I am one of them, but at the same time I love to get a locals experience.
It’s at Huay Kaew Waterfall where you can find the locals coming for picnics and to escape the heat in the cool waters of the falls.
It’s so much fun hanging out with them and if you do want a bit of quiet time then just wait until later in they, or come early morning, and you will find much less people.
On the different levels of the waterfall are small pools which you can chill in (cold and relaxing) and take it easy.
Every time I go to Chiang Mai I’ll be making sure to at least go for 1-2 hours to this waterfall.
After you can go past the waterfall and around the nearby Chiang Mai Zoo and head up the Monks Trail as it’s at the base of Doi Suthep National Park and you can climb all the way to the top of the mountain.
At the top you can visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and get great views across Chiang Mai.
It’s a really good hike, and there’s a few smaller waterfalls along the way and some temples.
But it’s a hard and hot climb, or rainy and slippy depending on the day.
It’s also possible to continue up past Huay Kaew Waterfall and reach Monthathan waterfall area further up, which is basically a continuation onwards form Huay Kaew and then continue up to the mountain top from there along the pilgrims trail. I did not follow this trail all the way though. Too hot!.
Also this waterfall is completely free to visit 🙂
Video of me at the Huay Kaew Waterfall with drone footage:
Mae Sa Waterfall
Mae Sa is a ten level waterfall and one of the best waterfalls in the Chiang Mai area.
You will tend to find less people out there during the weekdays but the weekends get busy as it’s popular with Thai’s as well as tourists.
I had the place almost all to myself at some points sometimes though.
It costs 200 baht to enter this waterfall but it’s impressive enough to go to, especially if you love waterfalls like me.
A visit to Chiang Mai and seeing waterfalls would not be complete without seeing Mae Sa.
Definitely head to Mae Sa Waterfall!
Sticky Waterfall Chiang Mai (Bua Tong Waterfall)
Yeah I know it’s a pretty bad quality photo but what can you do, it’s the only one I got!
Anyway this waterfall is not the most impressive, or much to hang around at, but it is a lot of fun.
You can actually walk up and down the waterfall 🙂
It has the nickname ‘sticky waterfall’ for that reason.
Something to do with the limestone deposits there making the rock sticky and easy to grip. You can’t slip on it.
But there is a rope handy in parts to help you scramble up or down it, depending how you feel.
At the bottom is a tiny pool, so like I said it’s not much for hanging out at, just go for an hour or so and have fun scrambling around.
And it’s free to go to!
Sirithan and Wachirathan Waterfalls
These waterfalls are located near each other in Doi Inthanon National Park like Mae Ya waterfall.
They are impressive to look at but unfortunately are very strong so you are unable to get close and bathe around the waterfalls.
Looking onto Sirithan Waterfall from a viewing platform. It’s as close as you can get.
At Wachirathan Waterfall you can get closer to the waterfall but as it’s so strong you can’t really bathe in the area.
Also be aware the spray from the waterfall as your camera will get wet very quickly if up close!
Wachirathan Waterfall at Doi Inthanon National Park:
It’s definitely worth stopping to view them though when visiting Doi Inthanon National Park visiting Mae Ya waterfall, as you’ve paid the entrance fee already for the whole park.
Mok Fa Waterfall
The great thing about Mok Fa waterfall is that it’s located among lush jungle forest and is so peaceful.
It’s only one cascade, so no multiple cascade levels to climb, but it’s an impressive 60 metres high.
On top of that there’s the lovely big bathing pool at the bottom to chill out in and it was never that busy for me with others while there.
Sometimes like Huay Kaew Waterfall I enjoy to meet the locals like I said, but I also love places like Mok Fa just to chill out and get back to nature.
It’s on the way to Pai (a popular tourist town in the mountains) so you can stop on the way to visit if you have your own transport.
There is a fee of 100 baht (at time of writing) to visit and it closes (whyyyyy close a waterfall) at 4pm, so give plenty of time.
There’s so many Thailand waterfalls all over the country and loads in Chiang Mai itself that I haven’t seen them all.
This is a list of other waterfalls in Chiang Mai I plan to visit in the future (and will update this post as I do so).
Chiang Mai Waterfalls
So that shows you my love for waterfalls and my absolute favourites to visit when in Chiang Mai.
Yeah there’s a lot of different advice about which ones to visit etc, but this is just my personal opinions.
After all I found these ones from personal opinions of others, and hopefully you will trust me and see some of these waterfalls.
Thailand is a country of stunning beauty with its national parks, such as Doi Suthep National Park near Chiang Mai.
If you ever visit Thailand be sure to see some waterfalls when there, and try your best to get to Chiang Mai and the waterfalls around.
Happy chilling! 🙂
Did you like my waterfall choices? A share would be cool 🙂