One of the things we love about Chiang Mai is that when we want to escape the city we can head out from our apartment and be in nature within an hour. Jungled mountains surround Chiang Mai and they beckon us with promises of fresh air, mountain hikes, cool streams, waterfalls, and picnics. We were invited out with friends to enjoy a morning hike to a “secret” waterfall….secret only because it is not well signed nor well known.
After driving for about a half hour outside of Chiang Mai (see directions below). We began our hike on the unmarked trail through the jungle. Our children imagined tiger attacks and star wars battles as they trekked through the jungle with their friend. Even though they had good company they still whined about the hike as it was a lot of up and down through the jungle heat. I think “How much longer?” said in a whiney voice over and over is a universal complaint amongst children that all parents must bear!
It took us a good 45 minutes to reach the waterfall and the cool, cascading water was a welcome sight for our sweat drenched bodies. The boys and I changed into our swim suits to play in the falls. Once we worked up the courage to go right under the falls we were rewarded with cold water pummelling down on us at a force that took our breath away. We could have spent hours here if we had brought more food!
Once we returned down the path and drove back down the dirt road to Huey Teung Thao Lake we stopped at one the numerous eateries for lunch. Coming out here just for this experience alone would be worth the drive. We sat on a bamboo platform at the waters edge and enjoyed a very authentic Thai lunch. Afterwards the adults lounged while the kids played in the water.
How to Get There
Without the help of our dear friends we would have never found this waterfall. Indeed I am not even sure of the name of it as the only signs were in Thai, nor am I sure that my explanations could even direct someone else to it. This waterfall is not on the tourist trail. In fact the trail that it is actually on is not well maintained, with fallen logs frequently crossing the jungle path that we had to scurry under or over. Getting here is half the adventure though so if you find yourself in Chiang Mai, anxious to escape the city, see if you can find it!
To find this waterfall, head up Canal Road past the Chiang Mai Sports Complex and turn at the signs for Huey Tueng Thao Lake. There is an entry fee of 20 baht per person (our kids were free).
You can stay to the right or the left, both roads lead around the lake. On the North East corner of the lake there is a dirt road veering off.
For the first half of the hike keep the river on your right. Eventually you will hop across the river at about the half way point and then you will keep the river on your left up to the falls. There are trails leading off of the main trail at various points in the trip but if you stay close to the river you should stay on the right path. It is a good hike and should take a fit person between 30 and 40 minutes.