Thailand is known for its natural beauty. There are so many places that are the epitome of natural beauty. Trees swaying to the music of the pristine blue ocean, birds chirping in harmony, serene green splendor all around with gushing waterfalls amidst them are what one expects to see in a place described to be the epitome of nature’s beauty.
And this is exactly what you see when you visit the sister cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The Yin and Yang of Thailand, these cities are two wonders of natural beauty. This is a nature lover’s paradise and a photographer’s heaven. Though they are lesser-known among the tourist fraternity, they have now started gaining a lot of popularity.
Here is the 25 best things to do in Chiang Mai for first-time visitors.
May it is a family vacation or honeymoon, or just a fun vacation with your buddies, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai fits the bill of everyone. Their waterfalls are as spectacular as can be. The trails that lead up to them, the colorful rainbows, the naturally formed gorgeous swimming pools are such a good combination for a planned family picnic or an adventurous hike!
Here are some of the waterfalls we have hand picked for you.
Have a cool holiday!
Waterfalls in Chiang Mai:
1. Mae Sa Waterfall:
The most famous waterfalls in Chiang Mai. Also known as the Namtok Waterfall, this magnificent strip of beauty is located in the Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park area.
If you take a toll on the best waterfalls in the whole of Thailand, this Chiang Mai Waterfall will be among the Top 10.
Spanning over 1.5kms, this Mae Sa Waterfall is a feast to the eyes with about a chain of 10 separate waterfalls. Between each of the 10 waterfalls, it will take you about 5 minutes to walk from one to another and it usually takes almost 2 hrs to walk around the entire waterfalls.
You can also swim at the foot of those refreshing waterfalls. Or you can even avail of some camping facilities. Just pack another pair of extra clothes along with a sumptuous basket of a picnic. There are also loads of restaurants lined at the entrance of the waterfalls where you can pick up some snacks for yourselves and enjoy your day chilling.
Location: Highway 1096, Tambon Mae Raem, Amphoe Mae Rim
Entry Fee: Free for locals, foreigners must pay approximately 300 rupees
2. Pam Bok Waterfall:
A perfect place for a family vacation where you can relax and catch up on some old memories. Though the route to this magical place is bumpy, it is worth the rough journey because the surroundings will make you forget your bumpy ride as its beauty is more than enough to mesmerize you.
The best time to visit this Chiang Mai waterfall is between July-November as this is when Chiang Mai gets its rains and hence you will be able to witness some of the most spectacular landscapes in this place. This beauty of 10 meters tall, is shaded by two gigantic cliffs and hence the water can get really cold here making it a perfect place for a refreshing dip.
Location: Tambon Thung Yao, Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son
Entry Fee: No entrance fee
3. Huai Rap Sadet Waterfall:
The most scenic and magnanimous waterfalls of Chiang Mai amidst the lush green heavens. Its sheer size and cascading water are enough to hypnotize anyone. The pure bliss of about 75meters, this waterfall is one of the best romantic rendezvous of Chiang Mai as it is in a secluded area and is comparatively less crowded.
Huai Rap Sadet waterfall is made up of multiple mini tributaries which seem to be joining from various hidden places and makes this waterfall even more mysteriously gorgeous. Each of the landing sections of this waterfall form into emerald-colored pools which are extremely attractive and hard to resist from diving in.
Location: Sriwichai Alley, Tambon SuThep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai
Entry Fee: approx 200 to 250 rupees
4. Mae Ya Waterfall:
One of the best waterfalls destinations for adventure seekers. Present in the Doi Inthanon National Park limits, this Chiang Mai Waterfall is one of the most incredibly beautiful waterfalls which also allows camping in its premises.
If you are one of the camping person, then Thailand has a lot of camping activities to offer for you.
Once you get permission from the National Park authority you are in for an experience of a lifetime. Camping among the fresh greenery, beneath the night sky filled with twinkling stars with the sound of the gushing waterfalls at the background is not an experience one gets that frequently. The 30-storied, 60 meters tall cliff waterfall is a great place for taking a refreshing bath and refreshing your mind and body.
Location: Tambon Ban Luang, Amphoe Chom Thong, Chang Wat
Entry Fee: approx 400-500 rupees
5. Mok Fa Waterfall:
One of the rare waterfalls which are equally beloved to both adventure and nature lovers is this Chiang Mai Waterfall which has water all through the year. However, if you want to visit this beauty in all its glory you will have to plan it during the winters.
The chill water is like a natural spa in itself. One dip and you will be rejuvenated and all your batteries will be charged. Take a break from your hectic schedule and spend some quality time with your family and loved ones at this waterfall and you will not be disappointed.
There is also a separate area called Tham Mok Fa right next to the waterfalls where you can camp, enjoy some bird watching, and leisurely observe nature cuddled next to your favorite people. You might not want to miss this spot, especially if you are a nature lover!
Location: Sop Poeng, Mae Taeng District
Entry Fee: approx 400-500 rupees
Waterfalls of Chiang Rai:
6. Maetow Waterfall:
A waterfall that can be visited whenever you want and not miss its beauty, is a rare find. Maetow Waterfalls is one such Waterfall in Chiang Rai that can be visited on any day. Among the best-known waterfalls for its scenic beauty, Maetow waterfall tops the list.
Though the trek to the top of the waterfall is tricky and a bit tiring, trust us – it is one of the experiences you should not miss given a choice. It is a challenging 30 minutes hike to the summit and the view of the Khun Chae National Park from atop the falls of 40 meters is unbelievable. Go there and see for yourself!
Location: Khun Chae National Park, Wiang Pa Pao District
Entry Fee: No entry fee but you can avail Jeep safari that costs about 670 INR
7. Phu Sang Waterfall:
A waterfall straight out of dreamland is none other than – Phu Sang Waterfalls. A deep emerald green warm pool below a 25 meters crystal clear gushing waterfall is definitely worth your visit. The water cascading down the mountainous slopes and the green landscape surrounding it is simply gorgeous and a treat to the eyes.
This waterfall keeps flowing in the dry season and freezes during winters looking like a clip from a Disney movie. A must-have on the Chiang Rai Waterfalls list without which your trip is as good as incomplete.
Location: Phu Sang, Phu Sang District, Phayao
Entry Fee: None
8. Pong PhraBat Waterfall:
40 meters of flowing waters surrounded by the Lam Nam Kok National Park is considered a great choice among the honeymooners. This Chiang Rai Waterfall is a hidden gem and not many people know about this beautiful waterfall and hence it receives very few visitors. Therefore this makes it a favorite among the lovebirds as they get to spend some quality time with each other in peace and solitude. You could just relax in those blissful pools listening to birds chirping which is definitely a break from all the hustle and bustle we are used to being in the cities.
Location: Lam Nam Kok National Park, Amphoe Mueang
Entry Fee: None
9. Huay Kaew Waterfall:
Located in a village called Pha Soet, this gigantic cascade of flowing water is hard to miss during your trip to Chiang Rai. The emerald green deep pool and the trails of lush greenery in the middle of thick foliage is a great tourist attraction for the nature lovers.
The water cascades down the rugged cliff all through the year making it accessible to you whenever you want to go.
Huay Kaew waterfall is divided into two primary levels and has a shallow pool waiting at the base of both falls. There are also a few geothermal hot springs in the area surrounding the Huay Kaew waterfalls, which is a worthwhile addition to your waterfall day trip.
This waterfall has only been opened for tourism recently and hence it gathers less crowd which is ideal for a lovely rendezvous.
Location: Huaykaew Rd, Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Mueang, Mueang District
Entry Fee: None
10. Khun Korn Waterfall :
Last but not the least, the tallest and the most famous waterfall in Chiang Rai is Khun Kron Waterfalls. This beauty of 70meters of stunning waterfalls present in the Kok River National Park is also known by the name – Tak Mok Waterfalls.
The way to this waterfall itself is extremely beautiful as you will have to trek for about a 1 and a half kilometer through the thick jungles. You will also be able to witness some unique flora and fauna of this region. The path it takes also is no less mesmerizing. This waterfall flows through banana fields and hops through the bamboo forests making it an extremely pretty and magical view for everyone.
Location: Pong Phrae, Mae Lao District
Entry Fee: None
The above 10 are just samples of what Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have in store for you. Given the cities are blessed with some extraordinary places there are innumerable waterfalls along the slopes and the national parks.
You might miss going to any other sightseeing places but Waterfalls in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are such destinations that it will never leave your vacation bucket-list!