Chasing Waterfalls in Thailand – Huay Keaw Waterfall

Huay Keaw Waterfall

A great refreshing way to cool down in the hot, humid weather of Chiang Mai is to take a dip in a waterfall. Wild gushing cold water flowing over smooth, slippery rocks the Huay Keaw Waterfall is beautiful, and it is one of the most accessible waterfalls in Chiang Mai, Thailand.Huay Keaw Waterfall Sign

Huay Keaw Waterfall

If you are staying in the Nimman area, it is a small hike to the end of Huay Kaew road where the entrance to the waterfall and Doi Suthep – Pui National Park is. Walk past the Chiang Mai zoo and follow the curve of the road up and to the right until you see the Kruba Srivichai Monument. Turn left and go past the little Thai shops until you see the Huay Kaew Waterfall sign.Lower portion of Huay Keaw Waterfall

Walking past the sign, you step into an area void of songthaew traffic and you are left with the sounds of birds chirping and even hear cicadas playing their tune. The first part of the waterfall you come across is flatter with smaller pools that you can wade in and acclimate to the colder water flowing down from the Doi Suthep mountain. But, the more adventurous types will venture forward up the path to climb up next to the 10-meter high waterfall and sit in the shallow pools that are in the middle of the waterfall. Not for the faint of heart!Selfie at Huay Keaw Waterfall

I climbed over some rocks toward the bottom to try and get a beautiful flowing waterfall photo without people in it, but it was challenging. The day was warm and sticky so, a lot of people had the same idea as me to come here to cool off. I did climb up halfway to sit in a shallow pool and take some selfies, but even with my water shoes, it was slippery. I was nervous walking down the rocks and spent most of the time scooting down on my butt.

There is a path to hike up if you want to get a higher view of Chiang Mai and even to reach another set of waterfalls. Toward the bottom, there is a sign for the trail leading to the left. I followed it up, and it seemed to go for quite a ways. The view at the top is fantastic. I still wasn’t sure how far this nature trail went, but I eventually heard people and went down to investigate. I had found the waterfalls at the top.View of Chiang Mai from Huay Keaw Waterfall hike

Top view from the trail of Huay Keaw WaterfallHere is where my story gets interesting. I decided that I would cross over to the side with the people. Taking off my shoes since I remembered that they were slippery at the bottom waterfall I gingerly stepped into the water on a rock to cross. Then that is when it happened…I slipped. Boom! I went down hard on my butt and started sliding down the waterfall into the next small pool.

Slightly panicking. But trying to stay calm I asked a bunch of young Thai kids that were hanging out by the falls to help me get out. First thing I did was to hand them my backpack so, my camera wouldn’t get wet.  Then they tried to help me out of the water. I slipped twice more banging my knee hard but, eventually making it out safely.

upper Huay Keaw WaterfallI sat down next to the falls to let my racing heart calm down. Sitting there for probably 20-30 minutes imagining different outcomes before I finally started to realize what a beautiful place this truly is. Yes, I had a scary adventure, banged up a little, but overall I was okay. Plus, it helped to see everyone else enjoying jumping in the falls, swimming in the pools, and having a great time. Once I recovered, I got up and braved another crossing of the falls, this time uneventful.

Will this experience stop me from chasing waterfalls? Definitely not, although I will probably be a bit more cautious going forward and make sure someone else is with me. Traveling has its ups and downs, but it IS worth doing. Life is too short not to explore all Mother Nature has to offer. Including beautiful waterfalls like the Huay Keaw Waterfall in Chiang Mai.

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Further Reading

If you would like to see more of my nomad travels, check out my post on my first month of traveling full-time: One Month of Nomad Travel. If you are coming to Thailand for a visit, check out these posts:

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