Is it safe to swim at Mo Paeng Waterfall in Pai?
The answer is a resounding yes, you can swim at Mo Paeng Waterfall in Pai…If your body is capable of withstanding Sub Zero temperatures like mine is…
We have been to Mo Paeng waterfall 3 times over the course of the year, but this time was the first time that we decided to actually hit the rock slides and swim in it. That’s right you read correctly, the waterfall rocks are so slippery that the locals discovered they could be used as a natural water slide.
With 6 of our friends relying on our word that the rocks were safe to slide down, I was a little nervous when we arrived at the falls to the sight of rock pools absent any swimmers. “So you’ve seen people slide down this before right?” The boys asked me. “Yes” I replied almost too confidently as I removed my shirt and plunged into the freezing ‘preparation’ pool at the start of the rock slide, trying hard to stay the chattering of my teeth.
I looked at the vacant expressions on the faces of my friends as they looked doubtful about the steep slippery drop before them. It seemed clear that if we were to have any fun at all, I would have to carve the path through the wall of doubt that had formed.
Checking out the rock ‘slide’
By the time I was sitting at the precipice of slippery doom, a small crowd of more tourists had arrived. Also quietly doubtful of the tales they’d heard about the natural water slides, patiently waiting for me to take the first plunge down the rocks into the unknown depths below.
After receiving confirmation from our friends Paul and Adam that the pool below was in fact deep enough, the moment had arrived when I had to prove that others do indeed slide from these rocks. I reached for my Go Pro waterproof camera and directed it toward my face, deciding that if I was to break my bones in this attempt it may as well be caught on film.
The resulting Video
Before I had time to take a deep breath for courage, I was sliding uncontrollably down the rock slide. My bones still intact as I slipped into the first dip in the rocks. The next thing I could see was the sky and treetops as the final bump launched my buttocks into the air. The moment was calm yet full of exhilaration before the freezing shock pool slammed into my face consuming my entire body. I had done what I came to do and as I emerged from the watery depths I could hear shouts of praise from the friends and strangers above. The others followed suit and before long there were people sliding every few minutes.
Watching people sliding into the water below
We sat up top, trying to consume the last rays of the afternoon sun. Simon drank a Chang beer while reflecting on his own personal moment to savor, while Sacha and the girls took photos of the flowing waters. As the light began to recede we decided we’d had enough and packed our belongings.
Just as we had begun to depart a small Thai child arrived at the falls removing his shirt with ‘true’ confidence. People stopped to witness what this boy intended to do and in true modern fashion there were countless iphones pointing toward the imminent action.
Gasps were inhaled as the child sprinted across the slippery surface and jumped over seriously dangerous rock formations, flying through the air as if carried by wings before plunging deep into the same pool I had merely slid into before. I hung my head in shame as we returned to our vehicles.
Sach & I at the top of the falls
Mo Paeng Waterfall is probably best to visit on a very hot, non-rainy day in the rainy season when the waterfalls flow heaviest.
If you arrive at 11am through 1pm you will probably get the most of the sun passing directly over the trees and onto the falls.
To say that sliding down the rocks is ‘entirely’ safe would be a lie. Make sure you check the depth of the plunge pool before first sliding down because I’m sure it varies with the seasons. Also, VERY important, make sure you are sliding off the correct waterfall because there are 3 tiers and 2 of them are most definitely not safe to slide off.
The 3rd tier you can’t really reach by foot and the bottom tier has a really shallow rocky death pool. The tier that is safe’ish’ to swim and slide from is the 2nd tier which is reached by walking to the left and behind the food stalls in the car park. You will follow a forest trail for about 1 minute before reaching a tiny log bridge that my father put there in November. At the end of the trail you have to climb over some blue plastic pipes before you reach the part where you want to be.
Directions to the waterfall:
To get to Mo Paeng leave ‘All About Coffee’ so that the café is on your right hand side. Head straight over the crossroads at the traffic lights and towards Pai Hospital on your left side.
Keep going straight until you have to give way at a large main road on the crest of a bump. Head straight over again so that you are passing through the fields towards Ban Dalah Resort.
Once you reach the large Chinese gate the road forks to the right a little, follow to the right until the road forks again almost immediately, then follow the left path.
Keep driving all the way up this road through the farm views until you come to a steep crest of a hill where you have to give way again. At this junction turn sharp left and follow all the way until the road ends at the car park for Mo Paeng Waterfall.
All of us at the waterfall – Thanks Kam for the pic!
Note: Don’t try and slide down this bit!
**Just remember to exercise caution and don’t go flinging yourself off rocks without checking the depth at the bottom**
Our Google Map of Mo Paeng Waterfalls
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