Mae Sa Waterfalls is a gorgeous 10 level waterfall located within the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Its green season is remarkable with hiking trails and its coolest season feels like a proper winter camping in the mountains. It has an abundance of wildlife and fish that are highlighted at the ranger stations. Doi Suthep-Pui National Park is often a center for children's camps because of this richness in nature. Tourists who travel to Chiang Mai almost always stop by Mae Sa Waterfalls while in the Suthep Mountains. Local visitors often take their loved ones during the coolest seasons in the months of December and January making Mae Sa Waterfalls a favorite of the North.
The first 5 stages are more suitable for families with children because they are all extremely small waterfalls with playable pools. From levels 6 to 10 there's only level 8 that's dangerous to swim in because of the rock formation and power of the water's current. There are signs that forbid visitors from swimming at the 8th level but as people walk along the trail, one can feel the thunderous force of this beautiful waterfall. The 10 levels all together make this legendary waterfall a must-do on every Chiang Mai visitor's list, a great holiday for families and a romantic getaway for the locals.
Brothers at the Falls
My youngest brother has lived his whole life in the desert of Las Vegas so Mae Sa Waterfalls was his first waterfall. My brother Luke is about 25 years old and has a great sense of adventure so naturally, he wanted to start at the highest level. We had to find a great picnic area around the 6th level to group up and leave most of our belongings. After we managed to get our party in a comfortable area, we grabbed some needed equipment and headed to the 10th level of the waterfall.
It was a wonderful hiking trail in the mountain forest of Northern Thailand where I finally got to breath fresh air again. The water had a muddy color to it from the heavy rains the night before and the stream's power showcased how powerful Mother Nature really is. The total distance of the waterfall's trail is 1.5 kilometers or just a bit under a mile and the terrain changes levels on a number of occasions. At times the trail scales high mountainside but it's made good enough to give you a good sense of safety.
We fought through exhaustion from our hangovers as we saw a family of four with a 10 and 8-year-old walking back through the trail. After all, I couldn't look bad and out of shape in front of their energized children as we greeted each other in passing. When we finally reached the 10th level, my body was fully soaked in sweat from all the humidity and cardio hiking there. Luke and I greeted a young tourist couple before dipping into the cool waters of the 10th level named Lan Thay. A feeling of gratefulness came over me as I realized I was spending quality time with my youngest brother in the magical waters of Lan Thay.
We spent quality moments in the waters of Lan Thay and then started for the 9th level named Wat Hang because we wanted to take a dip in all the pools at all the available levels.
The 9th level was a very small waterfall and had 3 pools that were safe to swim in. We then went straight to the 7th level because we already knew the 8th level was dangerous.
The 7th level called Tat Phanarom was gorgeous but still a bit dangerous to swim in for children. I didn't swim in this pool because the water was a bit strong so I took more slow-motion footage of Tat Phanarom.
The rock formation at this level was breathtaking and created a pool before leveling down to the 6th level. Tat Phanarom's last pool seemed like it's safe enough to swim after the raining season but I didn't want to risk getting pushed through the 6th level waterfall because of the water pressure.
We jumped in the 6th level pool named Tat Muei and instantly felt the water's supreme force. Luke and I had to quickly position ourselves to a safe area in the pool. We enjoyed the last pool we wanted to swim in but when it was time to exit the pool, the water pressure was throwing us around like rag dolls. We were finally able to find the correct path and safely exit the pool with the powerful waterfall current still running through it. We met up with the rest of our group and sat for long moments telling them about the upper levels they didn't get to hike to.
Refueling with Nipple Noodles
Our uncle Beau went to college at Chiang Mai University so he knew all the great eateries. When he said he was taking us to eat some Nipple Noodles, I thought he was joking. When we got to the actual eatery and it was really called Nipple Noodles, I knew I had to ask them about the story behind the nipple. The noodle eatery has been around for decades and is extremely popular among the university students as a place to gather after a night out partying.
The nipple part of Nipple Noodles comes from their fish meatballs that are made extra small and resembles a nipple. The name stuck so the eatery owner decided to officially change the name to Nipple Noodles decades ago. After I heard the story, my initial thought was that they may have gotten famous because of this small gimmick but when I tasted the broth, it was deliciously eye-opening.
The broth was perfectly salty with a savory umami flavor from being boiled with the small fish meatballs. The fish meatballs themselves had a fluffiness as we bit into them. The most popular type of noodle is the small rice vermicelli-like noodles. I ended up having 3 bowls along with my uncle and brother. Our appetites from the hike were the size of Godzilla and we filled it properly with nipple noodles. We all left with warm smiles and headed back to the resort to rest up for the next day's adventures.
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