Trekking to Mae Yen Waterfall, Pai

A tip from a friend of ours led us north of Chiang Mai to the little town of Pai. It’s tucked away in the mountains along a very winding road, one with about 762 switchbacks! Pai is a peaceful haven of cute cafes, stunning scenery and boutique shops. It’s a place full of expats and hippies, but with enough soul that makes you want to stay and never leave. There is so much to do around Pai, from visiting huge statues in the mountains, to soaking in hot springs and hiking to waterfalls. We stayed just outside the town centre, relaxing after the hectic city life of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I have some vlogs from our stay in Chiang Mai, which you can see here and here.

The jungle trek to Mae Yen waterfall is one of the most popular around here.  We set off in the early morning mist with the sun shining over the mountains. There wasn’t another soul in sight, just the sound of the rushing river and the dawn chorus of birdsong. We waded through a stream to reach the trail head, giving us a taste of what was to come. This trek is a wet one! Through 80 water crossings we walked, beneath banana groves and giant ferns. The footpath is well marked, but disappears into countless streams and reappears on the opposite bank. Some parts are like woodland back home, with tall straight trees and a canopy of golden leaves. Other parts are dark and green and dripping, with vines hanging like snakes.


Two and a half hours later, we reached the waterfall. Tumbling down three layers of rock, it’s beautiful and well worth the hike. The scenery on the trek is breathtaking, and you really are in the depths of the Thai jungle. If you love exploring, feeling like you’re on an adventure and channeling your inner Indiana Jones, this trek is the one for you.

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  • yasmin ebrahimi

    Omg!!! this place looks like heaven

    • Yep, it’s very beautiful indeed.

  • Lydia Smith

    Wow. This is such a wonderful sight and you captured the pictures amazingly well. I think I’m in support that you take a break, how can you have such a place to yourself alone? This is unfair. But you weren’t scared? I’d have been. Maybe I should try this once. But Mae Yen Waterfall is just amazing

    • Thank you, nope, not scared at all! It was a beautiful place with a well marked trail 🙂

  • This reminds me of the monsoon treks in India where you have the wet ground to counter as you meander through the greens. Sighting birds and rare forest creatures is pretty common here and that is what makes it a great trail. I can see the same in this post and no wonder you loved it.

    • Oo that sounds amazing. I’d love to give that a try when I make it to India.

  • Two Worlds Treasures Umiko Buh

    What an adventure, hiking in a tropical jungle. You guys are brave. I will do it if there are more people around. Thinking of there’s a possibility of snakes makes me uncomfortable.

  • Anthony

    What a trek! thanks for sharing so many photos. I am a very visual person so the images really help to immerse me in your experience.

    I have seen a lot of waterfalls in our adventures and that one is surely one of the most beautiful I have seen.

    Thanks for sharing. Keep travel blogging. Adventure is better shared with friends!

    • You’re welcome Anthony, glad you enjoyed the photos! Adventure is definitely better shared with friends, great words 🙂

  • These photos are simply gorgeous. I’m normally not a nature person, but getting photos like these are a motivator.

    • Thank you very much, it’s a beautiful place 🙂

  • Miranda Knudtson

    I was TOTALLY thinking this was “Indiana Jones-esque” and then chuckled when I read that you mentioned him! This looks like it was a gorgeous trek, and I think wading through rivers makes it interesting! All of my hikes have been dry, so something like this would be a really cool experience for me!

    • Hahah great minds eh 🙂 Yeah the river crossings were great, they really made it feel like an adventure. I hadn’t done that before either but would 100% recommend it.

  • Your photos are simply stunning! You lived an amazing experience, I’d love to do it as well! 🙂

    • Thanks Clara, it was a stunning place!

  • alexisnichole

    Wow, this is breathtakingly beautiful ❤️ I love everything about nature and the beauty it holds.

  • Looks like quite the adventure. We recently hiked in the Amazon and your post just reminded me of how exciting that was!

    • Oh wow, I’d absolutely love to go hiking in the Amazon. That must have been an amazing experience.

  • Kanecia Dawson

    What a beautiful place! I’d feel like I was on an episode of “Naked and Afraid” or something like that! Lol! I’m sure the photos don’t do this place much justice! Thanks for sharing your adventure! XoXo

    • Thank you for commenting! Haha thankfully we didn’t come across a naked person roaming the forest 😉

  • Ivana

    this is so beautiful! such a nice place!

  • Neha T

    Pai – what an amazing gem hidden in Thailand. I have noted for my future travels. The pictures gives idea that there is a lot of greenery , perfect for nature lover like me.

    • Thanks for the comment Neha, if you love nature you’ll absolutely love Pai 🙂

  • Rachelle Gordon

    I love your “channeling your inner Indiana Jones” comment, because that’s totally where my mind went as I devoured each of your pictures. I can hear the birdsong from my desk. Pai looks so lush and green and I want to go so bad!!

    • Haha glad to hear it, it definitely felt like an adventure.

  • What a fun hike! Getting muddy and wet is all part of the outdoor fun. Glad you guys enjoyed it.

    • Haha it certainly is!

  • Adrianna Vogel

    Wow I can’t belive I haven’t heard about this trek before! I would definetly choose that over a week in Bangkok while I was in Thailand! It looks so beautiful , green and relaxing there! It must have been a fantastic trip! Your photos are so stunning, I just wanna book my flight to that wonderful county again!

    • It’s one of those hidden gems! You should book that flight 🙂 It was so relaxing, and such a beautiful part of Thailand.

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↠ a travelogue of adventures ↠ travelling the world with my love and working as we go. these are our stories.

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