Kanchanaburi Waterfalls: Which Thai Falls Not to Miss
Planning to visit Kanchanaburi, Thailand? The western province abounds with stunning waterfalls. Here’s our selection of the five best falls.
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Rumored to be the most spectacular ones in the kingdom, they enchant with an explosion of colors ranging from clear aqua and gray to emerald and northern lights green. While Erawan falls are Kanchanaburi’s paragon of beauty, others in the region will also thrill you.
Here’s our selection of five must-see falls for your Thailand itinerary.
Take a dip underneath the running water of Jogkradin’s fall
Close to the Burmese border, in Thong Pha Phum National Park, roars the single-tier waterfall of Jogkradin. Packed at times, particularly on a public holiday, the rock and evergreen tree-framed fall is quite a sight from the nearby bridge viewpoint.
Water rushes from a crevice down ten meters (32 feet), feeding a turquoise pool deep in the center but shallow around it, so fine for a swim. And, if you stand still, fish will nibble the skin on your feet.
Driving here is an adventure in itself.
Parts of the mountain road from the park checkpoint are unpaved, with narrow winding streets, potholes, and sheer drops over the side. You can expect to swallow powdery, stirred-up dust and dirt if you ride a scooter or songthaew, a pick-up truck with two benches in the back.
From the village of Thong Pha Phum, it’s a 1.5-hour-drive to the waterfall inside the Thong Pha Phum National Park. Foreigners pay a national park fee of 300 baht ($8); Thais pay 30 baht ($0.80).
Wind down at Pha Tad Waterfall
The three-level Pha Tad waterfall is considered one of Thailand’s most scenic waterfalls—even if it’s not as wild as others in the Land of Smiles.
Hidden deep in Kuean Srinagarindra National Park’s jungle, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Kanchanaburi, it has a plunge basin suitable for swimming, camping, and chilling out.
Rather than a cascade gushing out between rocks, this pretty little fall delights with its low-key atmosphere. So take a dip in the milky green pool while soaking up the bubbling water sounds.
Pha Tad is best to visit in the rainy season. Be sure to avoid the months of March and April when the fall almost dries up.
From Kanchanaburi, take Highway 323 and turn between kilometers 105-106 onto the road towards Hin Dat Hot Spring. Then, continue for about 10 kilometers (6 miles).
Visit the little-known Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall
Located off the main drag of Erawan Falls, with its bustling ambiance, the little-known Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall looks like something out of a storybook.
This surreal bit of heaven, nestled in Srinakarin National Park’s oxygen-rich foliage, smashes towards the Khwae Yai River.
You can take a refreshing dip in a beautiful plunge basin, but check the latest rules before going. After heavy rain, water flows violently into the seven-tiered Huai Mae Khamin, changing the green-tinted pool into a muddy pond. Swimming may be prohibited.
In that case, feed your daring side by visiting the park’s caves. But watch out for bats, leopards, and other felines.
The Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall is near the Sri Nakharin Dam, about 110 kilometers (65 miles) north of Kanchanaburi. It takes 2.5 hours to travel from Kanchanaburi by bus or cab.
Be one with nature at Pha Sawan waterfall
Lacking the crowds of Erawan, though just as beautiful and rugged, Pha Sawan is a charmer. It hides away deep in Khuean Srinagarindra National Park’s rainforest, halfway between Huai Mae Khamin and Pha Tad Waterfall.
Pha Sawan is one of Thailand’s most impressive falls. Endowed by nature with seven gorgeous tiers, the highest of which sits at a staggering 80 meters (262 feet). Whether you trek to the top level, which takes about 40 minutes, or swim in the emerald pool’s cool water at the bottom, you’re guaranteed to find a quiet spot.
Drive to the forest village of Hin Dat, about 140 kilometers (86 miles) north of Kanchanaburi’s city center. You can hike the last 13 kilometers (8 miles) to the fall or use a 4WD that saves you a 3.5-hour stroll through the jungle.
Splash about in Erawan’s heavenly pools
A list of Thailand’s best waterfalls wouldn’t be complete without Erawan Falls, Kanchanaburi. This seven-tiered waterfall runs through the east side of Erawan National Park and is the most visited on this list.
It cascades through a lush green jungle, where a freshwater stream turns a hazy emerald when calcium carbonate in the limestone dissolves.
Erawan, one of Thailand’s most accessible waterfalls, is so popular that authorities have limited the number of visitors per day to 500. No wonder! Picture green waters amid deciduous trees, safe swimming spots surrounded by plants, and falls soaked in sunlight.
Buses regularly depart from Kanchanaburi Bus Station, with single-trip tickets available for 50 baht ($1.34). You can also take a taxi or drive yourself to Erawan Falls. Along Route 3199, Erawan National Park is 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Kanchanaburi.
How to get to Kanchanaburi
You can get from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi for a few paltry bucks in about three hours. Standard minivans run up to 15 times per day.
If you want to head straight to Erawan falls from Bangkok, the bus takes approximately four hours.
Alternatively, you can hop on a minibus at Mochit’s New Van Terminal and go to Erawan National Park directly. Direct minivans run twice daily, seven days a week.
It will take you only two to three days to visit the key tourist attractions. However, if you want to see the waterfalls, the World War II sites, go on kayaking adventures, and raft down the River Kwai, you should stay for 5-7 days.
Most are accessible all year, but the water level can be pretty low in the dry season. So, if you want to see a gusher and not a little trickle, go in the rainy season.
While it’s more convenient, booking a tour is unnecessary. An independent trip is an adventure and is usually cheaper than a tour.