Among many other Chiang Mai attractions, cliff jumping at the old quarry near Hang Dong is one of the top things to do in Chiang Mai if you’re up for an adventure or are just dying to go swimming. This cool spot is about half an hour outside of town and not totally over run by tourists yet so it’s a great place to escape the chaos of Chiang Mai.
The only way to really get there is to rent a motorbike, but that’s okay because they’re pretty easy to use and there are places to rent them all over the city. Don’t pay more than 250THB to rent for the day and make sure you practice driving before heading up to the quarry. Also make sure you have a helmet that fits well and doesn’t come off your head while driving. Trust me, it happens and it’s scary.
The drive to the quarry is about 30 minutes on a highway. For the drive, make sure you have plenty of water and sunscreen for body and face, as it’s easy to get sunburnt under the sun and dehydrated in the heat on a motorbike. I would suggest heading there in the late afternoon (don’t forget mosquito repellent!) and staying to catch the sunset. There isn’t much shade at the quarry so I would avoid going there around high noon unless it’s very overcast as the sun will be absolutely unbearable.
There’s a restaurant at the quarry that charges 50THB to get in and will give you a free herbal drink in exchange. They have food and refreshments, and it’s a great place to eat dinner and watch the sunset over the quarry. If you’re going for a few hours, feel free to bring a picnic and hang out for the day. Bring a swimsuit, a towel and some clothes to change into after swimming so you’re not cold on the ride back into town. The restaurant has places you can change.
If you like to listen to music, the quarry is a great place to bring a portable speaker and jam out to your favorite tunes. Also a great place to just chill and read your favorite book. The quarry itself is a network of high cliffs and ledges with deep pools of turquoise water in between. The ledges are high and great for jumping into the water, just make sure you inspect your jump spot before you dive in. If jumping isn’t your thing, there’s places to wade into the water as well.
As the weather in Thailand is always warm, so is the water. So don’t expect to be too refreshed when you swim. It will cool you off but the water is not cold by any means. When my friends and I went there initially, we brought a bottle of whiskey thinking that we would swim, drink and be merry but our better judgement got the best of us.
First of all, drinking and cliff jumping is not a good idea to begin with. Also, the drive to and from the quarry is very involved and requires your utmost attention. Drinking is a big no no there unless you have a designated driver.
Also, to keep the places clean, please take everything out with you that you brought in and don’t bring any glass bottles. The quarry rocks are very hard and glass will break easily. People walk around barefoot there and could easily cut their feet. Love nature and it will love you back.
Photos by Alexa Albanese.