Just a short 30-minute drive north of Chiang Mai, the Mae Rim area is home to wonderful northern Thai scenery of rice terraces, tropical rainforest, and meandering rivers.
In the lush region around Chiang Mai, wherever there are rivers, there are waterfalls – and Mae Sa is one of the most popular to visit. Situated within Doi Suthep-Pui national park, the waterfall cuts through pristine, untouched forest – a peaceful, tranquil setting that seems a million miles away from the city.
The Mae Sa waterfall actually consists of 10 sperate mini-falls, each cascading into the next. A hiking trail follows the path of the falls, and it is only just over 1km in length, reflecting how close each fall is to the next. On a particularly hot day, it is a wonderful relieving experience to escape the humidity by taking a rejuvenating dip in the plunge pools between each fall. There are a couple of allocated spots for visitors to do this safely.
Adjacent to the falls, there are numerous idyllic picnic spots to enjoy lunch. A delicious picnic style menu will be professionally prepared by a local culinary master using organically grown produce from her farm. Snack on sai-oua – a local northern Thai delicacy – which is a deliciously spicy sausage that can pack a punch. Enjoy these alongside puff pastry rolls, fresh garden rolls, little banana-leaf wrapped surprises, and either seasonal fruits or traditional Thai rice desserts.
All-round, the national park area is a wonderful place to relax, listen to the birds accompanied by the pulsating rhythm of the water, and enjoy a serene setting so close to the city. The short walk is manageable for everybody, but enough to work up an appetite for that delicious Thai lunch.