The Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls rest in the hills a little over an hour’s drive outside of Chiang Mai. This was our first motorbike adventure, and we were a little nervous about it. There were three of us so Carrie rode with our friend Julie (who is experienced), and I drove myself. I rented the motorbike for 180 baht from a place called Bamboo Rentals. The gas was empty when I picked it up so they directed me towards a gas station down the road. Luckily I had driven Julie’s bike around the lake the day before, so I survived my first leg on a read road without incident.
Upon leaving the gas station, I went around the a curve and ran right into a police road block. I of course didn’t have an international drivers license so they demanded 500 Baht. I said I didn’t have it but they saw it in my wallet so I just paid. After paying the fine, you get a receipt that’s good for three days of driving. If you get stopped you just show the receipt and supposedly you will be sent on your way without having to pay again. Many travelers said they had talked their way out of it, or payed less, or payed the same. I just hope that that officer got a nice meal on me.
After my run in with the cops, I met back up with the women and we made our way out of town. The countryside was green and gorgeous, as we passed hills and rice paddies. Outside of the city, the riding was easy and we made good progress, stopping periodically to check directions on the map. This was the real Thailand, winding road and wind in our hair. We turned off towards the Sticky Waterfalls and soon found ourselves in a parking area in the forest. We stashed our valuables under the bike seat and popped on our swim trunks, ready for a refreshing dip.
The Sticky Waterfalls have several levels where you can swim and climb up through the falls. The rock that the water falls over is relatively easy to walk up (sticky) but there are some sketchy places that are more slippery. The water was super cool and refreshing and we loved it. You could hug the rock and let the water flow over your head. It made you feel like a child, running around laughing. The hills around the waterfall where lush and vibrant and beautiful, clean oxygen filled our lungs.
There were not a lot of tourists, but apparently more and more people are coming each year. When we were there they were building large new bathrooms and terrible pathways everywhere, ripping up the dirt trails. With more crowds come more problems, and all good things come to an end.
Here is a video showing our visit to Wat Umong and our motorbike trip to the Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls!