Mae Sa Waterfall (Nam tok Mae Sa)

Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

About Mae Sa Waterfall (Nam tok Mae Sa)


Hiking Distance: 3.3km round trip (all waterfalls)
Suggested Time: 90 minutes

Date first visited: 2008-12-29
Date last visited: 2008-12-29

Waterfall Latitude: 18.90622
Waterfall Longitude: 98.89642

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The Mae Sa Waterfall (Nam tok Mae Sa) was actually a series of 9 or 10 small waterfalls and cascades spaced anywhere between 100m to 500m apart from each other.

Depending on your criteria of what constitutes a waterfall, one might think there would be more than ten waterfalls while others might think there would be less.

Mae_Sa_011_12292008 - One of the Mae Sa Waterfalls
One of the Mae Sa Waterfalls

But in any case, we thought that the most interesting of the ones that we counted were the waterfalls identified as 4-8 as these seemed to be more photographable as well as possessing some interesting shapes.

Most of the falls were signposted so we could identify them.

But I tended to think of this attraction as more of a Thai picnic and swimming spot as opposed to gawking at waterfalls.

That was because none of the falls individually were more than 10m tall (at least by my estimation), and we saw many Thai holiday-makers picnicking with friends and family.

In fact, it was quite a popular place despite us showing up in the late afternoon, which didn’t leave us a whole lot of time to experience all the waterfalls before it started to get dark.

Mae_Sa_016_12292008 - A group of Thai people sitting together and having a picnic near one of the Mae Sa Waterfalls
A group of Thai people sitting together and having a picnic near one of the Mae Sa Waterfalls

As a result, our visit here felt kind of rushed, but we did get to experience all ten signposted waterfalls in our limited time.

Experiencing the Mae Sa Waterfalls

The way we did this excursion was by walking up to waterfalls 4-10 from the third and uppermost car park (out of three car parks; see directions below).

From there, we took the well-developed walks uphill all alongside the stream seeing one waterfall after the next.

Even though we thought waterfalls 4-8 were the most interesting, it wasn’t easy getting satisfying photos of most of them.

Even some of these could be construed as more like rapids or mini-cascades than waterfalls.

But once we got beyond the eighth waterfall, we continued on to see what waterfalls 9 and 10 looked like, but there was no signage and I could’ve made the case that these last two were nothing more than rapids given how the terrain was flattening out.

Mae_Sa_003_12292008 - Looking up at a series of Mae Sa Waterfalls somewhere near the lookout for the 8th waterfall, I believe
Looking up at a series of Mae Sa Waterfalls somewhere near the lookout for the 8th waterfall, I believe

After returning to the third car park, we shuttled down to the first car park (the lowermost one) where our driver waited for us as we went about our hike.

I think when we hastily made this descent to see the remaining waterfalls, it seemed like we only managed to notice waterfall #1.

Apparently, waterfalls 2 and 3 either weren’t a big deal or the path we took was too far removed from the stream (assuming there was another trail we should’ve taken on the other side of the stream).

In case you’re curious, the ten labeled waterfalls of Mae Sa had the following names from the first (lowestmost) to the tenth (uppermost) waterfalls, respectively.

Mae_Sa_049_12292008 - Looking down at the sloping yet wide and segmented first Mae Sa Waterfall, which was actually one of the last ones that we saw during our visit
Looking down at the sloping yet wide and segmented first Mae Sa Waterfall, which was actually one of the last ones that we saw during our visit

The first waterfall, which was near the first two car parks was named Pha Lard.

The second waterfall, which was between the second and third car parks was named Wang Yao.

Waterfall #3 was named Pha Tak.

Waterfall #4 was named Wang Sam Muen.

Waterfall #5 was named Wang Thao Promma.

Waterfall #6 was named Tard Muei.

Waterfall #7 was named Tard Phanarom while Waterfall #8 was named Pha Ngoeb.

Finally, even though we didn’t identify and see the 9th and 10th waterfalls, I believe their names were Wat Hang and Lan Thay, respectively.

Authorities

The Mae Sa Waterfall resides in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park near Chiang Mai in the Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. It is administered by the National Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Mae_Sa_005_12292008 - A trail sign letting us know what the names of each of the ten Mae Sa Waterfalls are as well as their whereabouts
Mae_Sa_051_12292008 - Sign in Thai saying something about the ten waterfalls of Mae Sa and their distances from the visitor center
Mae_Sa_006_12292008 - This waterfall could very well be #5, but we can't say for sure.  It was probably our favorite one of the ten Mae Sa Waterfalls
Mae_Sa_009_12292008 - Portrait view of perhaps the most impressive of the ten Mae Sa Waterfalls
Mae_Sa_004_jx_12292008 - Signs trying to help us identify the Mae Sa Waterfalls
Mae_Sa_019_12292008 - Closer look at the series of waterfalls somewhere around the sixth of the Mae Sa Waterfalls
Mae_Sa_024_12292008 - The sixth or seventh Mae Sa Waterfall I think
Mae_Sa_026_12292008 - Picnic table overlooking what I think would be the seventh or eighth Mae Sa Waterfall
Mae_Sa_007_jx_12292008 - Sign confirming that this was the eighth Mae Sa Waterfall
Mae_Sa_029_12292008 - The eighth or ninth Mae Sa Waterfall I think with Julie looking on
Mae_Sa_008_jx_12292008 - Fast exposure shot of the eighth or ninth Mae Sa Waterfall
Mae_Sa_037_12292008 - Rapids comprising the Mae Sa waterfalls 9 or 10 I think
Mae_Sa_041_12292008 - After visiting waterfalls 4-10, we backtracked to the first car park where we checked out the first Mae Sa Waterfall
Mae_Sa_043_12292008 - Signage near the first of the Mae Sa Waterfalls pointing the way to the rest of the waterfalls
Mae_Sa_048_12292008 - This wide cascade was one of the last of the Mae Sa Waterfalls that we encountered

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We visited the Mae Sa Waterfall complex about 90 minutes after visiting Pong Dueat, which itself was an hour drive west of Mork Fa Waterfall.

So I guess by simple arithmetic, it was merely 30 minutes from there to the Mae Sa Waterfall.

I think it was roughly about 30 minutes driving between this waterfall and Chiang Mai.

For geographical context, Chiang Mai was in Northern Thailand roughly 700km north of Bangkok. It would take around 9 hours to drive or a little over an hour to fly between the cities.

Sweep from left to right of one of Mae Sa's more attractive waterfalls


Sweep from left to right of Waterfall #6

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Tagged with: doi suthep, pui, national park, mae sa, chiang mai, thailand, waterfall



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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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