Today was a great day!! Laura and I went into the mountains to do some adventuring. Chiang Mai is in the middle of a valley with mountains surrounding it, so it took a few hours to get there, but the drive was so worth it. It was nice to be able to get out of the hot, crowded city for some good old-fashioned hiking. Laura and I found the “Sticky Waterfalls” on Pinterest a few months ago when we were doing research for our trip and were excited to finally see it in real life!
Because the waterfall was so far from the city, there was barely anyone there when we arrived. You didn’t have to pay to get in or anything which surprised me! I thought it was going to be something like a national park. After walking to the top of the waterfall, we had to go down a really long flight of stairs to get to the various levels of the waterfall. Our driver, Pim, was not interested in frolicking with us, so she sent us down the steps and went back to the car. The stairs were a great dramatic entrance to the waterfall.
Both Laura and I have seen many waterfalls in many different states, but this one was different. The rocks were round instead of jagged like on the North Shore, and the water just danced over the top. It almost looked like the rocks were covered with moving glass. The rocks look like they are very smooth, but they were actually very coarse, or “sticky”. According to Wikipedia, the rocks are covered with limestone deposits! These deposits also prevent algae from growing!
However, where the waterfall leveled off and the water began to pool, there was some slippery moss. Laura found that a few times- it would not be a hike with Laura if she did not trip or fall at least once! Of course, I took a picture like the great friend I am 🙂
When we got past the slippery bottom, we were able to climb right up with no problems. The water moved with a decent amount of force, so it was really cool to be able to feel like we were basically scaling this waterfall with no effort. Even though the city has been amazing, getting out into the mountains and experiencing the waterfall was exhilarating. If there was ever a choice between a beach, city, or the mountains, just take me right to the mountains. It was so fun to experience them in a tropical environment. Instead of holding onto pine trees, I was holding onto bamboo!
These kinds of moments are why I love to travel; you can hardly believe what you are seeing while having the privilege to do something active like hike or climb in order to fully experience your surroundings. It is just a bonus when you get to do it with your favorite people.
After having a delicious lunch from a roadside stand, Pim told us that she wanted to show us one of the really popular temples in the area. We didn’t have anything else planned for the day, so we were up for it. We had another long drive up the mountain, but again it was worth it. One of the first things we saw was a massive Buddha. These people do not mess around! There are statues and lots of random pieces of artwork everywhere. Pim is Buddhist, so she showed us how she would wai (bow) to Buddha and pay her respects with incense and ringing bells. There were many people actively worshiping, so sometimes it felt a little weird that we were just there watching, but nobody seemed to mind.
The temple had a very large viewing platform on the edge of the mountain that offered an awesome view of the city. Laura and I had to buy sarongs and dresses long enough to cover our knees at the market because you need to cover your knees and shoulders in temples. I was not complaining at the excuse to get new things! Pim ended our day by treating us to Thai ice cream which was very sweet (literally and figuratively).
Tomorrow is Buddha day which is kind of like Sunday for Christians, except it changes every week based on where the moon is. Pim is going to take us to a temple to watch their ceremony which should be interesting. She then has some things planned for the afternoon that your typical tourist doesn’t get to see, so we will see what end up doing!
(Having a GoPro today made it worth every penny! We had way too much fun trying to get all sorts of different pics. If you are doing any sort of water activities, I would recommend having one on your trip. I can’t wait to use it down by the ocean!)