The Monastery of Tenasserim Hills in the province of Kanchanaburi has one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the region. Based on a land area of approximately 550 km2, Thailand’s 12th National Park was established in 1975, called Erawan National Park.
Among the central magnets of the park is Erawan Falls, with its seven tiers and green-hued ponds. In addition to this, the park contains a couple of impressive giant caves, some of which are deeper in the park, whereas others are closer to the park’s road. A Hindu mythological three-headed white elephant is the inspiration for the park’s name and falls. There are reports that the waterfall’s top tier is shaped like an elephant’s head.
Best Time to Go to Erawan National Park
The surrounding mountains protect the eastern monsoon, which leads to less rainfall than other forested areas to the west. Rainfall occurs between May and October, and the heaviest time is November. It is very dry the rest of the year, with slightly cooler weather from November to January.
The best time to visit waterfalls such as Erawan Falls is from September to December, Right after the rainy season and before the dry season.
The national park has very limited wildlife watching opportunities, as there are very few paths. Besides that, there is not an inordinate number of rare habitats in the park since it is mostly a place for familiar species.
A crab-eating macaque and a wild boar are two mammals that are present mostly in forests. The closer you get to the forest, the more exciting the animal life gets, like barking deer, Asian elephant, gibbon, Indochinese serow, and sambar deer.
It is estimated that a total of 120 bird species dwell in the park. Therefore, it is an excellent place to observe birds such as crested serpent eagle and kale pheasant, grey peacock pheasant, lesser shortwing, and hornbills.
Some of the most common reptile species include the rare Kanburi pit viper, the Burma smooth skin (Scincella Punctatolineata), and other less commonly seen species. Occasionally, gigantic water monitor lizards, sometimes exceeding 1.5 meters in length, can be established near the rivers on the layers. These lizards are harmless, never attacks, but you are not recommended to get more than a couple of meters near.
What to Do in Erawan National Park
Buses running between Kanchanaburi and the park make it easy to reach. At the visitor center, the first level of the falls is located just a few hundred meters from the park entrance, with signage to help you find the waterfall.
There are bicycle rentals available for 20 THB/day at the visitor center, but the bicycles cannot be used to access higher levels except for the upper two tiers.
An Erawan Falls visit is also an excellent choice for a trip to nearby Bridge Over the River Kwai, Phra That Cave, Death Railway, Hellfire Pass.
Wang Bah Dan Cave
This cave has a length of 740 meters and is located 54 km from the National Park headquarters on the eastern side. The trail can be accessed from Chaiyapruek Village, approximately 2 kilometers from Highway 323 near Wang Bah Dan Ranger Station. Unfortunately, visitors are no longer licensed to explore this cave since a few years ago.
There are several underground chambers in a limestone cave equipped with a slim opening and various chambers. These chambers were formed out of stalactite and stalagmite constructions. The last chamber has a continual water stream that runs right through it.
Wang Mat Cha
In comparison to other waterfalls, Wang Mat Cha is enormous and probably the most impressive one. A gigantic rock collects the water and empties it into a large blue pool at the bottom with tons of room for swimming.
Pha Nam Tok
Erawan Falls has seven waterfalls, and Pha Nam Tok is the third one. As the walk continues from the previous stage, only around 100 meters are separating Wang Mat Cha Waterfall from this point. Therefore, you can expect an increased number of tourists to swim there.
Several people can swim in the pool at one time. It is an increasing waterfall compared to Wang Mat Cha waterfall, thus giving the Pha Nam Tok Waterfall a sense of grandeur, and the location makes a nice studio for taking photos.
Phra That Cave
Phra That Cave is located 12 kilometers north of the visitor center at Erawan Falls. Sprawled over 544 meters, the entrance is 15 meters wide and 10 meters high. It is an astonishingly huge chamber, 40 meters high and 90 x 50 meters wide.
A ranger station helps visitors reach the cave by taking an 800-meter concrete path uphill. Bamboo woodlands surround the trail, with a bit of limestone karst scattered about. Unfortunately, a heavy downpour can lead to the cave being closed, mostly because the concrete path and the cave’s interior can become very slippery.
Oke Nang Phee Suae
It is the Fourth Waterfall, and Oke Nang Phee Suae means the Breast of Nang Phee Suae. In Phra Aphai Mani, the best-known epic Thai literature, there is a reference to a female sea giant. Being familiar with it, it’s easy to understand why the breast looked like that of a sea giant. However, you need to think hard to achieve this. This goes to show that Thais have an uncommonly vivid imagination.
Continuing on the path, the next waterfall is around 500 meters away and changes a little steeper. Waterfall number 4 will close at 4 PM, 30 minutes before the park closes, so be sure to visit the waterfall before then.
Buar Mai Long
With Waterfall number 4, the trail takes on more difficulty and gets steeper. Getting to this point will be the toughest part of your journey; anything beyond that should be an easy hike.
There might be some unusual mannequins beneath big trees wrapped in colorful apparel along this walking route. These are called traditional Thai costumes, and the locals in the forest believe in forest ghosts and spirits; these clothes often serve as a way of paying respect to the spirits. Foreigners might find it strange, but Thais who have grown up watching horror series on Thai television since adolescence are extremely frightening.
This waterfall is aptly named Buar Mai Long Waterfall, which approximately clarifies to a waterfall that you’ll never tire of watching. There are limited tiny waterfalls here, but don’t let the small size fool you: there is a bunch of room to swim in.
Dong Pruk Sa
Dong Pruk Sa waterfall is located only 300 meters from Buar Mai Long Waterfall. A new walk path is currently being constructed at this location.
Occasionally monkeys can be seen dangling around trees in this area. So make sure to protect your belongings safely and securely at all moments. There is a ban on feeding monkeys here, so that is why they are as contentious as possible. Bright colors tend to tempt them, so they might try to snatch your stuff if it’s hanging loose in your bag. Therefore, before hiking, place them inside your backpack.
Phu Pha Erawan
At a distance of 250 meters from Dong Pruk Sa Waterfall, you will arrive at the peak of Erawan Falls. The Phu Pha Erawan Waterfall is where you can see the source of the water.
It appears that the water would be coming from the top of the mountain above, but it is too low to be seen that way in August. It is noteworthy that the pool at Phu Pha Erawan Waterfall may be among the most transparent and vibrant. The water of the falls is crystal clear as day since the water is devoid of any current.
On top of that, you’ll have the opportunity to take a photo with a “You are the conqueror” sign. It’s finally over! You have finished the Erawan Falls route!
How to Get to Erawan Falls National park
Within the Kanchanaburi Province in Thailand is the site of Erawan Falls. You have to fly into Bangkok first in order to reach Erawan Falls from outside of Thailand. As long as you are traveling from your country to Bangkok, a flight to Suvarnabhumi International Airport or Don Muang International Airport( Only low-cost airlines) will be easy to find.
From the US
Neither Chiang Mai nor Bangkok has direct flights. However, ANA Airlines and Korean Air require transit flights from the West Coast as well as Emirates, Qatar, or Turkish Airlines from the East Coast.
Thai Airways, Air France, Germanwings, British Airways, or Lufthansa all offer flights to Bangkok from all major European hubs, including London, Paris, or Frankfurt. You are also able to book flights with Etihad, Qatar, or Emirates if you are not bothered by transiting.
From within Asia
Bangkok is served by several budget airlines from several hub cities, including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Jakarta. Taking AirAsia and Thai Lion Air is an incredible way to save money.
The Best Way to Get from Bangkok To Kanchanaburi
If you aren’t supposed to drive, a minivan from the Mini-Bus (accessible across the road from the Morchit Bus Terminal) is ready to take you to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok.
Travelers can also reach Kanchanaburi from Bangkok by train. From Bangkok’s Thonburi train station, two trains depart for Kanchanaburi train station at 7:50 AM and 1:55 PM. From Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, the train ride takes about 5-6 hours.
Getting from Kanchanaburi to Erawan Falls
The bus can take you to Erawan Falls if you’re not an excellent scooter driver. The Erawan National Park is connected by buses hourly to Kanchanaburi Bus Terminal every day for eight hours, launching at 8 AM until 5 PM.
In the event you would prefer flexibility in your travels over convenient timings, you might consider renting a scooter at Kanchanaburi City and pedal the road by yourself.
Necessary to Have
- Walking/Hiking Shoes:
Because this is a hiking trip, take comfortable shoes.
- Breathable Shirts
You’ll face scorching and humid weather, especially since you’ll be hiking.
- Swimming Suits
Swimming Suits are also recommended for Erawan Falls.