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The Coolest Kind of Sticky

Climbing Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls

Chiang Mai, Thailand

What’s the first thing that comes to mind about Bangkok weather? We’re betting it’s heat and humidity, a match not made in heaven that leaves you … sticky. That’s why Bangkokians like me love Chiang Mai, a charming northern city with less heat and humidity, more trees, and waterfalls. Among them, Bua Tong – nicknamed ‘the Sticky Waterfall’ – offers perhaps the most unique and wonderful adventure.

A Bangkokian obsessed with Japanese anime and manga, Korean pop music, and world travel, I’m usually in power-saving mode, but perk up at any opportunity to travel in Thailand and abroad. When I’m not lazing around my room enjoying my favourite fictional worlds, I’m out there somewhere exploring the real world, usually solo.

Now I can say, “sure, I climb waterfalls”. 
It’s easier than it sounds, and even if you aren’t in the greatest shape, you can do it too.

The multi-level 100-meter-high falls are special because of their non-slippery surface, the result of the limestone and mineral deposits that created them, hence their nickname. Climbing them doesn’t require exceptional strength or special equipment, just the desire for an adventure and a bit of energy.<o:p></o:p>

Despite its unique characteristics, Bua Tong Waterfall remains a well-kept secret, perhaps because it is about an hour and a half from downtown Chiang Mai. If you’re visiting with family or friends, hire a rot daeng (red truck) for about THB 1,000. For solo explorers, renting a car or taking a tour of the falls would be the best option.

You will fall for these falls

The sun beat down on me as I arrived at the entrance to Bua Tong Waterfall. I do prefer the cooler weather in Chiang Mai to Bangkok’s, but it was still a Thai summer day.  
Fortunately, I only had to walk about a minute from the parking lot to be surrounded by greenery, wildflowers and assorted little creatures. The chirps of the birds and the sounds of the rushing water were therapeutic, and I felt glad that the Sticky Waterfall hadn’t yet become too overrun with visitors.

Another thing I love about this spot is that it’s a great place to visit all year long. Though I was there in the dry season, there was still plenty of water in the Seven-Coloured Fountain, a mineral geyser gushing from the ground into flowing streams and small waterfalls. Instagram moments await!

Much as I love an adventure, when it was time to climb, I was a tad nervous, but taking the first step onto those white rocks, the crystal-clear water was cool on my hands and feet. The rocks felt … interesting, slightly prickly, but not painful. When I realised that they really are sticky, any fear turned into fun as I channelled my inner Spider-Man. At the more challenging spots, there are ropes that help to make it a pretty easy climb.
Bua Tong ‘Sticky’ Waterfall is one of a kind, and shows that, in Thailand, sticky doesn’t have to mean hot and humid. There’s a special place where sticky is very cool.

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