Mae Ya Waterfall: Exploring Chiang Mai’s Natural Wonder

Mae Ya Waterfall, located in Mae Chaem, is considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand. Its stunning features span 30-stories, with water cascading down from a height of over 200 meters, creating a captivating sight for visitors.

The waterfall boasts a 280-meter tall drop, providing a backdrop that resembles a painting more than a natural formation. With the water flowing all year round, Mae Ya Waterfall has become a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike who are seeking a picturesque and tranquil location to unwind.

Apart from its striking beauty, the area surrounding Mae Ya Waterfall offers opportunities to connect with nature and explore the local flora and fauna. The soothing sounds of the falling water combined with the natural landscape make it an ideal spot for a memorable day trip.

Location and Accessibility

Mae Ya Waterfall is located in Doi Inthanon National Park, near Chom Thong in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. It is known for its impressive height of 250 meters (820 feet) and width of 100 meters (330 feet), making it one of the largest waterfalls in the country.

To reach Mae Ya Waterfall, visitors need to head south from Chiang Mai town on road number 108 (Chiang Mai – Hod) for about 60 km (37 miles) and then turn right at the T-junction onto highway number 1009, which leads to Doi Inthanon. After driving for about 1 km (0.6 miles), turn left and continue for approximately 14 km (8.7 miles) to reach the parking area near the waterfall (TripAdvisor).

From the parking area, there is a 10-minute walk along a concrete walkway that leads visitors to Mae Ya Waterfall. The path is well-maintained, and the walk is relatively easy for most people. However, please note that the signs leading to the waterfall can be small and may require careful attention to navigate successfully.

Mae Ya Waterfall is under the jurisdiction of the National Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department. There may be an entrance fee required to access the waterfall, so it is advisable to check the official website for current information on fees and conditions before planning your visit.

Geographical Features

Mae Ya Waterfall, located in Doi Inthanon National Park, is considered one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Chiang Mai. This stunning natural formation consists of multiple cascades, combining an impressive vertical drop with a series of smaller steps flowing down the valley.

The waterfall stretches over a width of approximately 100 meters, providing an expansive display of falling water visible from several vantage points. The surrounding area is covered in lush greenery, with various species of flora and fauna enhancing the beauty of the scene.

One of the unique features of Mae Ya Waterfall is its 30-storied appearance, with water cascading over rocky terraces and weaving through the dense vegetation. Many visitors are drawn to the site due to its status as a notable tourist attraction within the national park.

Access to the waterfall typically involves a short but steep hike from the parking area. The trail showcases the rich biodiversity of the region, with numerous plants and animals inhabiting the area around the waterfall.

Visitors to Mae Ya Waterfall can take advantage of the nearby facilities, which include restrooms, picnic areas, and food stalls. This allows for a comfortable visit, whether for a quick stop or a leisurely day spent exploring and enjoying the natural beauty of this enchanting destination.

Best Time to Visit

Mae Ya Waterfall is a popular destination in the Doi Inthanon National Park. To make the most out of your visit, it’s essential to plan your trip during the optimal months for viewing the waterfall’s beauty.

The best time to visit Mae Ya Waterfall is between the end of October and March, as the waterfall is at its peak during these months, offering fantastic photo opportunities (Guide to Thailand). Visiting during this time ensures the waterfall is fully flowing, allowing you to capture its stunning view and witness the power of nature firsthand.

It’s also worth noting that the operating hours for Mae Ya Waterfall are daily from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. This gives you ample time to visit and explore the area, walk around the waterfall, and take memorable photographs.

Keep in mind that the weather in Thailand may vary, making it essential to check local weather forecasts and adjust your plans accordingly. While the end of October to March is generally considered the best time to visit, ensuring ideal weather conditions will result in a more enjoyable experience.

Activities and Nearby Attractions

Visitors to Mae Ya Waterfall have a range of activities to choose from, including swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the scenic views. The waterfall is located within the Doi Inthanon National Park, providing easy access to various other attractions in the area.

For nature lovers, the Doi Inthanon National Park offers several hiking trails through lush forests and wildlife spotting opportunities, ranging from beginner to advanced difficulty levels. Bird watching is a popular activity in the park, as it is home to various indigenous bird species.

Besides the Mae Ya Waterfall, the park also hosts other stunning waterfalls, such as the Wachirathan and Siriphum Waterfalls, which are worth a visit. Additionally, the park is home to the highest peak in Thailand, Doi Inthanon, where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Another attraction not far from Mae Ya Waterfall is the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon, which features beautiful flower gardens, a café, and a visitor center showcasing local agricultural practices and research.

Local Culture and History

Mae Ya Waterfall, located in Doi Inthanon National Park, is not only a natural attraction but also holds cultural and historical significance for the people living in its vicinity. The park itself is home to various ethnic groups, including the Karen, Hmong, and Lisu, who have preserved their unique cultural practices and traditions for generations.

Doi Inthanon National Park, and specifically areas surrounding the Mae Ya Waterfall, offers an opportunity for visitors to witness and engage with these tribes through community-based tourism. A local Green Trails trekking tour, for example, allows tourists to experience the traditional way of life while contributing to the livelihoods of these communities.

As for the history of the area, Doi Inthanon National Park was established in 1972 and is named after King Inthawichayanon, the last ruler of the Chiang Mai Kingdom. He was a patron of nature and agriculture, and his conservation efforts left a lasting impact on the region. The park’s dedication to improving local communities’ quality of life and protecting the environment reflects the values he held.

The Mae Ya Waterfall itself has been an essential resource for local communities by providing water for daily use and agriculture. Moreover, it has been a popular site for cultural and religious ceremonies, as the waterfall’s serenity and natural beauty are said to hold spiritual significance for the locals.

Travel Tips and Safety

When visiting Mae Ya Waterfall in Doi Inthanon National Park, it’s essential to keep a few travel tips and safety considerations in mind. The waterfall is 40 meters tall and 100 meters wide, making it a popular tourist attraction in Chiang Mai.

Before setting off on the journey, make sure to pack appropriate footwear as the walking paths can be slippery and uneven due to the waterfall’s mist. Wearing sturdy shoes with good grip will help ensure safe and comfortable exploration of the area.

It’s also important to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen during your visit. The climate in Chiang Mai can be hot and humid, and the sun can be quite strong. Make sure to drink plenty of water and reapply sunscreen as needed to stay protected against the sun’s rays.

Keep your belongings secure and within reach, as pickpockets can target tourist areas. Using a secure bag, like a crossbody or backpack with zipper closures, can help keep your personal items safe while exploring the waterfall area.

Finally, be aware of the natural surroundings and respect the environment. Do not litter, and avoid disturbing any plants or wildlife you may encounter. Following these travel tips and safety precautions will ensure a memorable and enjoyable visit to Mae Ya Waterfall.


In conclusion, Mae Ya Waterfall is a stunning and must-visit destination in Thailand’s Doi Inthanon National Park. It is considered by many to be equally beautiful, if not better, than the well-known Thi Lo Su Waterfall (source). With a height of over 200 meters, it offers a breathtaking view as the water cascades down its 30-story cliff (source).

Visiting Mae Ya Waterfall is suitable during its operating hours, between 8:00 am to 4:30 pm from late October to March (source). The waterfall is surrounded by a lush green forest, where visitors can enjoy the fresh air while they explore the area (source).

Although reaching Mae Ya Waterfall requires a drive, it is worth the effort as it presents an impressive sight worth capturing (source). In conclusion, Mae Ya Waterfall is not only a beautiful natural attraction but also offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking a refreshing and picturesque retreat.