Climb Up Thailand's 'Sticky' Waterfall

The unique properties of this natural wonder in Thailand mean you can climb up against the flow water
The unique properties of this natural wonder in Thailand mean you can climb up against the flow water | © Culture Trip

Editorial Manager

The Bua Tong Waterfall in Thailand’s Si Lanna National Park is proving popular with tourists thanks to its unique properties. The calcium-rich water keeps algae off the rocks that form the natural feature, meaning that adventurers can climb up as the water cascades down.

The mountainous Chiang Mai region in the north of Thailand was officially founded in the early 13th century and is one of the largest districts in the country. Visitors to the area have been drawn to the wide variety of religious sites and the incredible natural beauty of Chiang Mai, which also includes this spectacular waterfall.

Nam Phu Chet Si (the Thai name for the waterfall) is located a short drive from the centre of the city of Chiang Mai, which in turn is about 700km (435mi) north of Bangkok. The natural limestone deposits give the rocks their ‘sticky’ quality, which allows climbers to directly traverse the waterfall. For those who aren’t entirely convinced, there are also ropes that can be used to haul yourself up if necessary.

Tourists can scale the Bua Tong Waterfall thanks to its unique ‘sticky’ properties

Even though a number of tourists visit the waterfall every year, it’s not well signposted, so be sure to do plenty of research before heading out to the location. One tip is to hire a local driver for the return trip from the old city of Chiang Mai, as the 60km (37mi) journey can be confusing for first-time visitors.

People have described the rocks of the waterfall as feeling like ‘hardened sponges’, and the limestone also gives the site rare visual qualities, with the sun reflecting off the surface in stark contrast to the surrounding forests.

Bua Tong Waterfall isn’t particularly high, but it’s still worth taking a cautious approach to climbing as there are occasional patches that don’t offer the grip underfoot that the majority of rocks do. Even so, there can’t be many other places that will make you feel like a real-life spider-man (or woman).

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article