The Thai waterfalls

erawan falls, thailand, near kanchanaburi, thai national park

The Thai waterfalls


Erawan National Park, Thailand

Thailand’s Erawan National Park is named for the highest of the waterfalls within its boundary, which is said to resemble the mythical three-headed elephant, Erawan. Cascading down from there, the water passes through six more falls – none of which are named after imaginary animals.

Erawan National Park is about an hour’s drive from Kanchanaburi, a town to the west of Bangkok on the way to the Myanmar border. The highlight of the park – and the reason most people visit – is the waterfalls. A track about two kilometres long takes you from the first one up to the seventh. It winds through the forest, crossing over bridges, and occasionally hiding playfully, forcing you to clamber over rocks.

erawan falls, thailand, near kanchanaburi, thai national park

Only the dedicated and foolhardy (guilty as charged!) bother to go all the way to the top. There are plenty of good reasons to stop along the way.

More than half of the seven waterfalls have beautiful calm and azure pools to swim in. There are also a few pleasant areas to rest for a picnic – but not after the second waterfall because the authorities won’t let you take your food past there. They’re worried about rubbish in the national park. “No food!”

erawan falls, thailand, near kanchanaburi, thai national park

Thankfully I had no food with me. But I did have to pay a deposit to take a water bottle up (refundable on proof you’ve brought it back down with you).

In case you have no plans to visit Erawan National Park soon, or in case you don’t want to abandon your food, I thought I would share some photos of the trip up the track.

erawan falls, thailand, near kanchanaburi, thai national park

erawan falls, thailand, near kanchanaburi, thai national park

erawan falls, thailand, near kanchanaburi, thai national park

erawan falls, thailand, near kanchanaburi, thai national park

erawan falls, thailand, near kanchanaburi, thai national park

erawan falls, thailand, near kanchanaburi, thai national park

  • Laura @Travelocafe | Jan 23, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Last November, I have been in Thailand and missed visiting Erawan National Park, Thanks for pointing it out. Next time I make sure to visit it.
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    • Michael Turtle | Feb 6, 2013 at 12:48 am

      It’s a nice place to visit if you’re in the region – but not necessarily worth a special trip just to see it.

  • kristy of Migration Expert | Jan 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    The place looks stunning! I wonder if that is a catfish or other species of fish?

    • Michael Turtle | Feb 6, 2013 at 12:54 am

      I’m not sure what kind of fish it is. Although they like the taste of dead feet skin, if that helps 🙂

    • Michael Turtle | Feb 6, 2013 at 1:08 am

      It would be a perfect place to spend some time. As you, say relaxing. And there’s so much to see and do, you would never get bored!

  • Jennifer | Jan 24, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Very pretty! I love waterfalls. I also like that you have to pay a deposit to take a water bottle in with you. I hope that it cuts down on the amount of liter people leave!
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    • Michael Turtle | Feb 6, 2013 at 1:23 am

      It’s a really clever idea to reduce the litter, isn’t it? I’m surprised more places don’t do something like that. It’s not even just about getting your money back – it makes you think more about the issue too.

  • Samuel Jeffery | Jan 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I’m loving your posts on Thailand. Can’t wait to be heading back to SE Asia in just a month from now with Audrey.

    • Michael Turtle | Feb 6, 2013 at 1:30 am

      Awesome! Hopefully our paths will cross somewhere along the way. I’m not sure where I’m heading next but make sure you let me know where you end up!

  • TammyOnTheMove | Jan 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    The swimming pools look amazing! Just what you need after a bit of trekking…
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    • Michael Turtle | Feb 6, 2013 at 1:38 am

      And the water was such a perfect temperature! (Even though, admittedly, I only stuck my feet in because I was running short of time to have a proper swim…)

  • BlogDaz | Feb 9, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Would be well worth visiting Kanchanaburi, the Death Railway, and the War Cemetery as well.
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    • Michael Turtle | Feb 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Yes, definitely! You can check out my posts about the Death Railway in the Thailand section.

  • Andrew | Feb 10, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I think I would be more than happy to abandon food to hike up and see these. That is really neat about the water bottle deposit. Seems like a good way to encourage responsible sightseeing without keeping people from having water.
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    • Michael Turtle | Feb 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      Yeah, it’s a great idea, isn’t it? I would love to see more places bring in a rule like that. I get so frustrated at trash in national parks!

  • Thailand Breeze | Jun 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    That waterfall is a great place for a shoulder massage!

    The big pool makes it look really exotic.

    Avoid going during the dry season, which is roughly between March and June.

    • Michael Turtle | Jun 4, 2013 at 3:55 am

      Love a good waterfall massage!! 🙂

  • Kevin | Jul 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Been to Thailand twice but still I miss this Erawan National Park. Better to check it out next time. Looks calm and peaceful.

  • Mathew Duong | Aug 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Amazing photos. I love waterfalls very much. Thanks for sharing with us and love to hear more
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    • Michael Turtle | Aug 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks. These are beautiful waterfalls so I hope you get a chance to go there one day.

  • Dan | Aug 10, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Need to get back there, but this time to explore the caves. Not much written about those caves and how to get there.

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  • akshay ajmera | Aug 20, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    beautiful nature.. fully mesmerizing.. thanks for sharing this location as well as ur experience..

  • Jack W-A | Nov 9, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Looks incredible! My only worry is: How touristy is it? I read another blog that said unless you rent a bike yourself and get there early, it completely fills with tourists.

  • Impress a girl | Apr 24, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Can’t wait to go “The Thai waterfalls”! That was just awesome. I think you got a lot of experience from there. I have a bike. Can I ready to go there, sir?
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