Erawan Falls is a national park in Thailand, lying north-west of the town of Kanchanaburi and close to the mountains of Myanmar. It’s a beautiful rainforest setting, where a series of sparkling green pools cascade into each other amidst rampant tropical vegetation.
Visiting the Falls you get to clamber around exposed tree roots, low-hanging vines and large buttresses. The glittering green pools are full of fish, and above them tropical butterflies dance in the sunshine. If all this sounds pretty idyllic, it is.
The Falls are a series of seven tiers of pools. Hiking up to the highest levels can be quite a challenge on the rocky, uneven paths, but the waterfalls at each level are distinct, unique and rewarding. At some points on the upward climb the trees part and reveal a view out across the rainforest canopy, where tropical trees carpet steeply rolling hillside.
Exploring Erawan Falls is like stepping into The Jungle Book.
On the route through the Erawan Falls there are beauty spots too numerous to count. It’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been.
The thick vines and lianas surrounding the pools are amazing. It can be difficult to believe that they’re real and natural, but they are part of this incredible ecosystem.
The wonderful waterfalls themselves range in height and accessibility. The water in the pools is the perfect temperature: cool enough to be refreshing, without being cold. It’s almost clear but also cloudy: a green translucent water, full of life. There are abundant schools of fish, from tiny fish to large ones whose silhouettes flit beneath the surface of the water.
Wherever direct sunlight strikes the ground, tropical butterflies can be found settling and dancing over each other in a continuous rhythm.
The park is popular, with the lower levels dominated by people picnicking and splashing around in the water. However it’s easy enough to leave the crowds behind by ascending to the middle and higher levels of the waterfalls, where visitor numbers are perceptibly thinner.
Dipping a toe in the water attracts a school of small fish eager to nibble the old dead skin: nature’s foot spa. You can swim in the pools and it’s very refreshing to enjoy the water, given the humid climate.
How to get there
You can get to Erawan Falls by public bus from Kanchanaburi’s main bus station. Buses are roughly hourly (although there are fewer on Sundays) and you can buy your ticket from the lady selling them beside the bus. Try to get on the bus early as it fills up quickly. Check what time the last bus is for the journey back, and have a great day enjoying Erawan Falls!
Kanchanaburi itself can easily be reached from Bangkok or the Gulf Coast by a relatively short bus or train journey. There are many day trips to the town from Bangkok, but it’s well worth staying over in Kanchanaburi. Accommodation and restaurants here are very good value, and the town has a laid-back, provincial atmosphere that makes it a pleasant place to spend a few days.
There’s a lot to do in the surrounding area, of which Erawan Falls is just one attraction. There’s also Elephants’ World, an ethical sanctuary for elephants rescued from the logging and tourist industries, the bridge over the River Kwai, World War II museums and cemetery, and the unforgettable Death Railway.