A quick Google search of waterfalls in Chiang Mai brings up a lot of options. But Mae Sa Waterfalls caught our eye, as it had 10 levels to explore. And seeing as neither myself or Dan had ever really seen or explored a waterfall, this sounded like the best option. So on our one year anniversary we decided to head to the Mae Sa Waterfalls for a relaxing day in the sun. I did actually mention the waterfalls in my Chiang Mai: Top Things To Do blog and because I loved them so much I wanted to share a little more information about it for you all.
About the Mae Sa Waterfalls
As I mentioned earlier Namtok Mae Sa Waterfall, located in the area of Mae Rim, is made up of 10 levels. The whole trail is only around 1500 metres long, with the waterfalls separated by only 150 metres or so. The trail that links each waterfall is fairly easy to walk as it’s made up of proper steps and wooden handrails. It’s a great place for locals and tourists a like so on your visit you may spot many local families swimming in the falls and picnicking.
How to get there
Image credit: Dan Moore
The Mae Sa Waterfalls is in the area of Mae Rim, and from downtown Chiang Mai it takes 40 minutes by car. Our hotel were super helpful in organising our transportation for us and we ended up hiring a driving for the whole day. The driver drove us to and from the falls and waited the three or so hours it took us to explore the falls. He actually took his daughter along for the ride and we spotted them having a picnic so we didn’t feel too bad about making him wait around for so long.
Things to know before you go
Get there early! We were up and out by 7:30am to get to the waterfalls for when they opened. We knew it was going to be a hot day and wanted to explore whilst it was relativity cool and empty. The Mae Sa Waterfalls are actually a great place to enjoy a picnic. There are a few basic food stalls to grab a bite to eat, but you can always do what we did and pack some snacks and plenty of water, and enjoy it whilst walking around.
Image credit: Dan Moore
From the 6th to the 10th level you are not allowed to take food into these areas, so do make sure you eat before you get there. In terms of footwear we wore our Vans as we knew there would be a lot of walking and some steps to climb. Just don’t wear your best shoes as they will get a little wet and dirty whilst you’re there. Bring a swimming costume and towel as you’ll want to go swimming or at least take a dip in these waterfalls.
What we got up to
As I mentioned earlier the Mae Sa Waterfalls consist of ten levels. Where the car park is located it was easiest to start at level four and make our way up to the top, then explore the lower three levels before we left.
As we made our way up to each level we stopped so many times to take photos and videos. There are just so many good photo opportunities there! As we walked we spotted large lizards slithering around in the undergrowth, luminous yellow and blue butterflies flying around our heads and so many dragonflies in all shapes and sizes.
We also spent a lot of time slipping and falling over. I am super clumsy, so when we paired that with the fact we kept going off the path and climbing the rocks to the next level, it was inevitable I was going to fall down. And fall down I did. I still have the scars on my leg to show for it.
A number of the waterfalls are good for swimming, although there are some which are not, so do pay attention to the signs that are located around each waterfall. I opted for a swim in the Wang Thao Promma waterfall (level five). The water was cool but on such a hot day like we got it was super refreshing. There were more falls that I could have swam in, but me being a little bit of a wimp, I decided not to in some of the falls. Honestly I can’t even remember why but it was probably because they looked a little too deep, or the water wasn’t super clear.
Image credit: Dan Moore
We made our way quickly to level ten and spent some time taking photos, sunbathing and just relaxing by the water. We had this level to ourselves for almost an hour and it really made the experience for us. We were able to just sit and watch the stream of water and listen to the nature without worrying if we were in the way of someone’s photo. It was also a great spot to climb a little up the waterfalls as the rocks here weren’t super slippery.
It was the best way to celebrate our one year anniversary and we would totally recommend to someone visiting Chiang Mai to head to the Mae Sa Waterfalls. So if you’ve been and want to share your experience, or if you need any more information please leave a comment below.
Until next time.