Located on the east side of Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi, the Erawan Waterfall is the most famous multi-level waterfall in Thailand and a place my wife and I have long wanted to visit. With this in mind, my expectations were high as we hit the falls last month. But although it was not bad, my expectations were not quite fulfilled.
We went here on a weekend which turned out to be a mistake as it was overcrowded with locals picnicking and swimming. And sometimes places simply look better in pictures than in real life; Erawan Waterfall is a place that has been beautifully captured by skillful photographers from all over the world. But it sure is a natural wonder, and if this were just a random place somewhere without the crowd, I would be more inclined to rejoice.
Also, I do believe that coming here early on a weekday after the rainy season around November and December would make a huge difference. Below is our visit in pictures.
It’s quite a bit of walk from the car park to the first level which is why you should grab a golf cart for 20 baht per person. Once there, the real hike begins.
The Erawan Waterfall is a 7-level waterfall with emerald green plunge pools below each fall. While the first waterfall at level 1 is nothing special, there are lots of fish swimming which is pretty cool. And if you dip your feet, the fish will nibble at the dead skin cells on your feet like nature’s own spa treatment.
The waterfall at level 2 called “Wang Mat Cha” is no doubt the most beautiful. I forgot to bring my tripod, so I took the picture handheld with the shutter open for half a second. With the water falling elegantly over the hollow rock into the emerald green pool, it’s a pretty stunning looking waterfall!
The 3rd level called “Pha Nam Tok” boasts another waterfall which, despite being the dry season, also fell nicely. I wanted to take more pictures from an angle in front of the waterfall, but with people walking around in the water we decided to continue with the hike.
A part of the trail with a small bridge over a stream of emerald green water.
Along the hike, I spotted a white-rumped shama which is a popular cage bird because of its beautiful song.
View over the dry mountains from the trail up to level 4. The first three levels are easy but then it starts to get steep making you burn those calories.
The 4th level called “Oke Nang Phee Sau” with multiple rocks acting as natural water slides.
On the way up to level 5, we encountered quite a few macaques hanging around in the trees unconcerned about the humans walking past.
Names of visitors carved on bamboo trees.
Locals cooling off in the plunge pool of level 5 called “Buea Mai Long,” which is a terraced waterfall typical of Southeast Asia. The more people splashing around with their sweaty clothes, the less clear the water becomes. Come here early.
I’m not sure if this is part of level 6 or just a random waterfall in between — a nice little spot it is.
The plunge pool at level 7 known as “Phu Pha Erawan” (the end of the 2 km trail) looked most inviting for a dip. Depending on how long you stay at each level, the hike up to level 7 takes between one and two hours: the higher up, the fewer people.
How to get there
If you don’t have a car, there are buses from Kanchanaburi Bus Station (2 hours from Bangkok) to Erawan National Park every hour with the last bus going back to Kanchanaburi at 17:00.
The entrance fee for foreigners is 300 baht while Thai people pay 100 baht.
08:00 – 16:30 every day, all year around.