Mae Yen Waterfall in Pai is definitely for the more adventurous waterfall seekers. Hence the reason it deserves its own section! Its located on both Google Maps and Maps.me so finding the start point is easy. Like with every adventure, it’s worth every minute and makes truly everlasting travel memories!
Now let me start by telling you we were not expecting to be trekking a total of 14km, crossing the river 72 times and hiking up some pretty big hills. Obviously, we met almost no other people on route and we were both shattered at the end because we’d already had a pretty busy morning!
We got to the start of the hike around 12:30pm and the first thing we saw was the sign saying 7km (with ‘good luck’ written next to it!). We were both shocked because we’d spoken to guy at our hostel the previous evening who said he’d got there and back within two hours! Me and Katie put a pretty solid place in but I can assure you, that unless this guy was some sort of marathon fell runner there is no way he completed it in two hours. Try 4 hours or possibly longer.
As always, we laughed, rolled our eyes and got cracking. I’ve mentioned earlier that there are 72 river crossings, we counted these on the way back because we thought it was insane! (We also had a bet how many crossing there were one way and Katie won! I massively underestimated!) This is no joke. The first one is within 5m of beginning the trek. Rest assured we tried to manoeuvre our way across over rocks by jumping, skipping, leaping and even attempting to cross with our shoes off. Inevitably, we both fell in, got soaked and decided it was impossible to try to do it without getting wet shoes! This also probably saved us a good hour of time overall! (So be prepared to get wet shoes!)
The trek itself was amazing. We saw loads of amazing plants, bugs, fish and a couple of monkeys! As always, we didn’t see a single tiger, monster, dinosaur or man eating spider that westerns seem to think jungles are full of. Its pretty well signposted, although some parts that go through the stream are easy loose the path but generally not to hard to find again. At worst technology will save you! Maps.me has the trek pretty much planned out for you. However, it is usually more fun to panic and try to find the path yourself again.
After what seemed like hours we came to the bottom of a mahooosive hill. There was another couple at the bottom who said they’d attempted to go up, but given up and come back down! All I can say is they really missed out! There is a sign here that makes out as though its going to take an hour to climb the entire hill! It does not! The hill is pretty step but actually doesn’t take too long. It took us about 20 minutes after which there are no more steep inclines!
From the top of the hill, its a further 20 minutes to the waterfall, walking through some of the most incredible and dense bamboo we’d seen so far on our travels!
When we arrived at Mae Yen Waterfall we were blown away, especially because we were the only people there. Okay, its not one of the those crystal clear blue lagoon waterfalls, but its still amazing! (Plus, those waterfalls are usually full to the brim with tourists)
We stripped off, climbed in and then of course, climbed up! Its not too hard to climb up the side of the waterfall to around 10 metres. We didn’t go any higher because the rocks got really slippery and it becomes pretty unsafe - we wouldn’t recommend this. After that we took some cool/cheesy pics and made our way back! Another amazing day in Pai and definitely one to do if you want to get “Off the Beaten Track” as the kids say.
Overall the day turned out to be an unexpected adventure and we loved every moment of it! For more things to do in Pai check out our guide to the top 10 things to do (Link Below)