Bua Thong Sticky Waterfall and Karen Long Neck

visit to a Karen Long Neck Tribe village to allow you to experience firsthand and understand how the tribal people live. Then, enjoy a unique outing at “Bua Thong” or “Sticky Waterfall” at the Sri Lanna National Forest.

The day’s excursion begins with a visit to a Karen Long Neck Tribe village to allow you to experience firsthand and understand how the tribal people live. Some writers have called it a National Geographic experience. You’ll get the opportunity to chat with them as many of them speak a little bit of English taught by the missionaries and more recently, through interaction with tourists.

They are very friendly, but shy people. Your visit helps them, especially their children, to be exposed to a world outside Thailand. It is a learning experience for everyone as you exchange ideas about each other’s culture.

Then, enjoy a unique outing at “Bua Thong” or “Sticky Waterfall” at the Sri Lanna National Forest (pronounced “See Lanna”). This is a waterfall unlike any other. While most waterfalls are slippery, as the name suggests, the surface of Bua Thong offers enough friction and grip that enables you to ascend it with the use of ropes.

There are several levels where you can relax and appreciate the beauty of nature. Most people walk down the steps at the side of it to the bottom and climb up the waterfall. At the top, you will have a wonderful view of the mountain and jungle surrounding it. There are small pools where you can have a soak. It’s a great way to cool down and escape the heat in Chiang Mai.

  • Pick up from your hotel (within downtown Chiang Mai) in an air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Drive to Karen Long Neck village. Along the way, your English-speaking guide will brief you on what to expect during your excursion.
  • Visit Bua Thong Sticky Waterfall to experience nature in a unique way, and cool down from the heat.
  • Drive back to the city and drop off at your hotel.
Things to prepare for the trip:
  • Swimwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellant in certain months
  • Extra clothes
  • Sandals or comfortable footwear
  • Sunglasses if your eyes are sensitive to sunlight
  • Hat / Cap
  • Towel
  • English-speaking tour guide
  • Travel insurance
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Bottled drinking water
  • Other tours not mentioned in the above itinerary
  • Personal expenses
  • All Fees and Taxes
  • Lunch and beverages

Karen Long Neck Tribe

The Karen hill tribe in Thailand is originally from Tibet. It is the largest ethnic minority group here, with an estimated population of around 1,000,000 people. The Karen hill tribe mainly lives in areas close to the Thai-Myanmar border in places such as Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai.

There are 4 sub-groups of Karen, namely the Sgaw (White Karen), Po (Red Karen), Pa-O and the Kayah. Each sub-group has its own distinct language, which are very different and unintelligible from each other. Each has their own dialect, customs, and costumes. The Karen Long Neck tribe or Kayan, are a sub-group of the Red Karen, and their ethnological name is the ‘Kayan Lawhi’. Their women are sometimes referred to as “giraffe women” because of the brass coils they wear around their necks. The girls start wearing these brass coils from the age of five, and more are added as they get older. There are several theories about the brass rings. Some claim that the women wore the rings to make them appear unattractive to slave traders. Others say that they represented beauty and wealth.

Originally from Kayah state and Shan state in Myanmar, they fled to Thailand and sought refugee status due to the ethnic and political conflict in Burma.
Traditionally the Karen are animists. They are highly superstitious people who have a strong belief in the spirit world. Their lives are dictated by spirits. Most important to the tribe are the spirits of land and water who influence the productivity of the land and control the growth of rice.

Their village chief is highly revered. He conducts all rituals and must be consulted when dates have to be set for ceremonies and events in the village. They believe there are auspicious and inauspicious days for almost everything. Over the years, missionaries visited the villages and today, a high percentage of the Karen tribe has been converted to Christianity. However, animism still prevails and all villagers participate in spirit festivals.

Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls

Located about an hour and a half drive north of Chiang Mai’s Old City, at the Sri Lanna National Forest, are the impressive multi-tiered Bua Thong or Sticky Waterfalls. These are limestone waterfalls with mineral deposits that give the surface a grip feel. Thus the nickname, “Sticky Waterfalls”.

This feature makes the waterfalls unique. While it is almost impossible to scale a normal waterfall because of its slippery rocks, people can climb the Sticky Waterfall. The rocks here have a hardened sponge feel. The surface is callous and there is no algae or slime, making it perfect for climbing up.

The Sticky Waterfalls are impressive to view. The rocks are cream in color which contrasts beautifully with the dark green forest. The water which comes from a mineral spring is crystal clear, cool and refreshing!

What makes the experience more amazing is the lush forest that surrounds the waterfalls. Nature’s splendor in all its glory. Colorful flowers, butterflies, birds, and many other forest creatures. It’s a nature lover’s haven! Most locals flock to the waterfalls to have a picnic. Although food is not allowed at the waterfall itself, there are picnic tables under shades near the park entrance. You may purchase drinks and snacks on the premises itself or bring food with you. Yes, there are clean bathrooms!

There is also a pleasant walk from the picnic area leading to a shrine with a few pools of crystal clean water from the waterfall, butterflies and birds along the way.

Bua Thong Waterfall and Jedsee Fountain Forest Park were established by the Royal Forest Department in September 1994. The park shares its borders with other forest reserves. In the north is Mae Taeng National Forest Reserve. To its south are Khun Mae Kuang Forest and San Sai Forest, Mae Ho Phra Forest Plantation in the east, and San Sai-Mae Taeng Forest in the west.


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April 2020

Bua Thong Sticky Waterfall and Karen Long Neck