23 In Hiking + The Outdoors/ Thailand/ Travel

Erawan Falls – Kanchanaburi, Thailand

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.

✈︎ Take an Organized Tour – While we’re independent travelers, we do also see the value in day tours; we’ve taken several ourselves. In my personal opinion, I would forgo the tour for Erawan Falls because there’s so much to see and trust me, you’re going to want to take your time there.

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.

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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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  • Reply
    Cindy Collins
    October 7, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Wow those waterfalls look amazing. It’s ashame you got sick and didn’t make it to the 7th level but those photos look amazing so it looks like you got to enjoy them anyway. The hike up must totally be worth it. Not sure I’d like those fish nibbling my toes!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 8, 2017 at 4:27 am

      I know. Hopefully the next time I’m there I’ll feel much better! I didn’t let them nibble my toes because it totally freaked me out!

  • Reply
    Sreekar Harinatha
    October 7, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Its coincidence or something? I have been reading about Erawan everywhere I see. Guess its more popular these days. These stepping falls are similar to the many in Laos. But less crowded. Nice time priority pics too. Loved the merging ripples!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 8, 2017 at 4:28 am

      It’s definitely similar to Kuang Si falls which I’m excited to visit again next week!

  • Reply
    Susan R
    October 7, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Although I’ve visited Thailand, I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of Erawan Falls before reading this. How fascinating to have a natural fish pedicure! I had one at the Peak in Hong Kong but didn’t realize fish would be so friendly in the wild!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 8, 2017 at 4:29 am

      I’m glad I could introduce you to them! They were very friendly! I didn’t let them nibble me though. Ha

  • Reply
    October 7, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Beautiful falls…I don’t know if I could sit still and let fish nibble on my feet — oh my gosh that must tickle so much!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 8, 2017 at 4:30 am

      I definitely didn’t. It freaked me out too much. My feet are suuuuper ticklish!

  • Reply
    October 8, 2017 at 1:24 am

    The fish massage would be so great. I have seen that in Bangkok as well. I have been to Thailand but missed out on this waterfalls. Will make it there next time.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 8, 2017 at 4:32 am

      They’re definitely worth the visit! They’re just so beautiful!

  • Reply
    Linda de Beer
    October 8, 2017 at 8:14 am

    This looks like a beautiful unspoilt part of Thailand. I’ve never even heard of Kanchanaburi before. And Erawan Falls remind me a bit of Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. Would love to see Erawan and the other falls you say are even more spectacular.

  • Reply
    Anne @TravelTheGlobe (@TTGLOBE4L)
    October 8, 2017 at 10:38 am

    wow i had to do a double take as these look so like some falls I went to in Laos near Luang Prabang. Gorgeous place for a day visit and always so much more exciting on the bus I find!

  • Reply
    October 8, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I am not unfamiliar with this falls but these are some of the best pictures I have seen of it. The sheer cascades, the color and the jungles around the waterfall, everything is drool worthy. Also thanks a lot for compiling all the practical details I needed.

  • Reply
    Cathy Salvador Mendoza
    October 9, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I have a friend who’s been here 3 times as according to him, it’s really nice and lovely here. I live in Bangkok now and I haven’t been here tho I’ve been really wanting too! The color of water is really inviting to freshen up an exhausted mind and body. I prefer public transportation too, like you as it is much easier and safer rather than renting my own motorbike and probably have a high risk of accidents. Yay! Ain’t sound good!

  • Reply
    October 9, 2017 at 9:42 am

    How nice to discover Kanchanaburi through your blog. So beautiful!

  • Reply
    Marcelle Simone Heller
    October 10, 2017 at 7:41 am

    The Erawan Falls in Thailand look like a beautiful place to have a dip if it’s getting to hot and humid. I remember well how refreshing that can be when on a hike in tropical Colombia to the Lost City. Nothing more appreciated at that time than a cool pond with clear water to rest.

  • Reply
    Dave Briggs
    October 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Those waterfalls look lush! A great place to make a trip out to , and I like the way you included plenty of transport options to reach there. Great photos by the way!

  • Reply
    October 10, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    I can see why it is a popular destination. It is so beautiful place to take a day trip to. Great tip on visiting in the morning to avoid the crowd!

  • Reply
    Meg Jerrard
    October 10, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Erawan Falls looks beautiful!! I think I might take a private taxi though – I shudder at the thought of me tackling a motorbike, in a foreign country, on mountainous roads!! Crazy that it’s a free fish foot bath! I’ve heard about those massages, and you do pay a premium for it, so it’s funny that it’s here in a natural setting. Totally worth the entrance fee – looks like such a stunning area, and I love that turquoise view.

    Sorry to hear that you had an asthma attack during the day … and the monkey! Well they say that when a bird poops on you it’s good luck right, so surely a monkey would mean you should win the lottery or something :D!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    October 10, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Erawan falls looks spectacularly beautiful. Sometime back I read your other post about the temples in Kanchanaburi and now this, I realize another beautiful gem that I have missed. What I love about Thailand is that it has so much to offer in a diverse range of attractions. Islands, waterfalls, beaches, history, culture, shopping, a seemingly endless list and also the people are so warm and hospitable.

  • Reply
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