Mae Ya Waterfall
The only negative thing with the Mae Ya waterfall is the drive to it from Chiang Mai. Well at least it is if you are on a scooter with a seat made by stone under the scorching sun. Getting there is easy you just drive towards Doi Inthanon and then follow signs/use GPS.
It is located in Doi Inthanon national park at Chom Thong 45 kilometers south of Chiang Mai.
Me and my Couchsurfing host set out on our waterfall hunt after reading about it online. The drive took somewhat 2-3 hours to complete with breaks and all and once we arrived it felt as if we had been horrible beaten for many hours. That old scooter was shaking so bad during the ride that I’m surprised it didn’t fall apart. But then again it got us up to Doi Suthep so this was nothing it could not handle.
Quickly enough the angst over the ride changed into excitement over what we were going to see. Unsurprisingly there were not many visitors there as it was an extra bad dry season and the waterfall would be far from its full capacity.
We would not let that stop us from seeing one of the waterfalls most frequently voted the most beautiful waterfall in all of Thailand. After a few steps on the gravel path leading towards the waterfall we decided to walk where the water usually flows instead. Because of there being no water it was just like walking on cliffs by the ocean and it felt nice to take the highway created by consistent work of nature.
Because of there being so little water where we were walking I almost started to wonder if there would be any water fall at all. What if we would have driven all that way for nothing? Oh well, only one way to find out right? Plus whatever good has ever come from worrying anyway? Not a whole lot, not a whole lot at all.
I have to say that I feel that my photos do not really give enough credit to this place. It was really magnificent to walk in awe under the Thai sun on full power in this beautiful scenery. We walked a lot, apparently this way was a lot longer than the 600 m promised by the sign which was just perfect because it gave us more time to take in the surroundings. Also, knowing that the Mae Ya waterfall soon would show up just ensured that things was getting better and better.
Soon something else caught our attention and we decided to check it out. To me it seemed to be some kind of symbolic Thai shrine. But there was no one there to ask about it so we just admired it for a while before we kept walking towards the waterfall. I had not seen this kind of shrine before even though I had seen many similar ones all around the region.
Who knows what story was behind just this creation? Fascinating.
Back on track we could observe how the inconsistent water flow had treated the stone over the course of time. Also it seemed that someone either built a bridge for ants or that someone put that branch there and the ants took it over because they were all over that. Like some kind of ant highway bridge.
What a perfect excuse to share some wisdom in form of a quote of Bruce Lee:
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
Okay hold out soon we will get to the real water fall. This is just a starter. I took this photo because it was at this point we could hear the waterfall, and it was getting closer and closer. This is that magic moment when the hair on your arm stands up because you know that soon you will see something epic.
And all of a sudden there it was, just partly covered by that tree. I instantly understood why it is so well spoken of. Even in dry season this little preview of what was yet to come was a spectacular sight to see. I mean come on, what more can you ask for?
If I remember correctly it is about 250 meters tall and up to 100 meters wide. However, knowing the Thai and their will to sometimes.. encourage numbers and from simply looking at it I would say that it is probably closer to 50-100 meters tall. But that does not matter very much at all for me when it is such an amazing sight to see.
Boom. It almost looks as if someone made steps for fishes. I bet salmon would jump straight up that like nobody’s business when the water flow is better. I doubt that will ever happen though.
My advice for anyone thinking of visiting the Mae Ya waterfall is this: go in rainy season. It will most likely blow your mind to see it. Honestly, I cant wait until I get to see it for myself, and if you are passing by Chiang Mai then do not miss this little trip! It is well worth it even in dry season.
Standing there and just looking at this massive art of nature I knew that one day I will have to come back to see it when it is flowing strong. Which is no problem at all for me because I would love to visit the beautiful and magical land Thailand again.
Not only was it very beautiful but it also served perfectly as a shower and it was the by far best way to cool down. Even so many months into my trip I kept finding myself thinking “God damn this place is really hot.”(This was six months into my trip to SE Asia) Not in a bad way or anything but just awesomely hot with no snow in sight.
As I wrote before I know for sure that one day I will go back there to see it and I will make sure to let you know once I have been! To anyone thinking of going to Mae Ya Waterfall I highly recommend that you do so. But do so on in a car or at least on a scooter with a comfy seat. Make sure to make it a full day because once you have reached Doi Inthanon you probably do not want to leave it without visiting more amazing places in the area.
So to sum up this place. Was it honestly really worth going there in dry season? F¤ck yes it was. No doubt. Will it be even more awesome during rainy season? For sure. So if you can choose either one then choose rainy season but do not miss it even if you only can go in dry season. At least that is my opinion.
One last shot of the magnificent Mae Ya waterfall from my visit.
In Doi Inthanon national park at Chom Thong 45 kilometers south of Chiang Mai. Takes about two-three hours to complete.
Here it is on Google Maps:
Album of photos:
Mae Ya Waterfall
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