Kanchanaburi has many different waterfalls and other natural sites. Undoubtedly, Erawan Falls is the most famous of them. These gorgeous waterfalls are located about 70km/44miles outside of Kanchanaburi, but a must-see on any trip there. Erawan Falls are a series of seven magnificent waterfalls that flow down into beautiful turquoise pool where you can find dozens of tourists cooling off from the insane humidity. Matt and I both being major nature lovers, we knew this was a must-visit!
Getting to Erawan Falls from Kanchanaburi:
As with most destinations, there are a plethora of ways to get to Erawan Falls.
Regardless of the manner you choose, the drive is stunning!
✈︎ By Local Bus – This is, in my opinion, the easiest way to get there. Especially if you’re not comfortable on a motorbike. It costs 50 baht per person each way. So, your round trip total will be 100 baht ($3-ish). It takes a little bit longer (approximately 2 hours), but the price can’t be beat. Plus, the ride really isn’t that bad. The seats are a bit small, but sometimes there’s an open seat next to you and you can stretch out a bit.
✈︎ By Motorbike – Only do this if you’re experienced on motorbikes. We saw so many people with bandages because they tried driving one for the first time on these windy mountain roads. Although I absolutely love the idea of taking off on my own on a motorbike, it’s not worth the potential injury/death to us. Plus, many travel insurance companies won’t cover you if you’re not licensed to drive one.
✈︎ Private Taxi – If you have a larger budget, this would likely be the most comfortable way to go. No stops along the way – unless you need one, a/c and you make your own schedule. However, a round trip taxi ride to Erawan Falls typically costs between 1200-2000 baht! We like to save money when we can, and this wasn’t something we wanted to splurge on.
Visiting Erawan Falls
One of the big highlights for tourists to do is dip their toes in the water and let these fish nibble off your dead skin. In Bangkok you pay good money for that kind of pedicure 😉
Because Erawan Falls are inside Erawan National Park, there is a fee of 300 baht ($10-ish) per person to enter. However, it is so very worth it. You can spend up to all day or a few hours in this park and that money is so worth it. I highly recommend visiting during the morning hours to see it with significantly smaller crowds and to enjoy those cooler temperatures. We came in the heat of the late morning/early afternoon and it was quite crowded and insanely hot. We had been warned to come early, but I had a bout of sickness that I was getting over that gave us a late start. Worry not, if you miss those early busses it’s still so very worth it.
As I mentioned before, there are seven levels of Erawan Falls and each one is different and beautiful. To access the higher numbered falls it’s a bit of an uphill climb. Some journeys are steeper than others. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, I was dealing with some sickness (I’m pretty sure I had gotten heat exhaustion the day before) coupled with forgetting my asthma inhaler at our hostel, and having a minor asthma attack, I only made it to level five. Even missing the top two levels I was completely blown away by Erawan Falls. We didn’t see any wildlife, other than some birds here and there. However, I did get pooped on by a monkey in a tree above me… Seriously. It’s good luck they say.
Left: some of the super steep steps up to a level of waterfalls // Right: A magnificent view – it is a National Park after all
Left: One of the many swimming holes + waterfalls // Center: Many trees in Thailand are considered “spirit houses.” They’re wrapped with cloth and offerings are left. These are protected and honored // Right: One of the more crowded swimming holes + waterfalls
Erawan Falls Alternative
While Erawan Falls is absolutely stunning and well-worth a visit, Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall is, apparently, where it’s at. It’s a bit further away and more expensive to visit, but I hear it’s even more amazing and has 1/3 of the visitors. The catch is that no buses go there. So if you’re good on a motorbike or you want to shell out the 2200-2800 baht to take a taxi you should! Matt and I skipped it and already regret it. Luckily, we’re considering a return in January to explore Kanchanaburi more.
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