Erawan Falls is named after the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology and it spreads its beauty over seven different levels, each offering something new to explore. There are curious fish that give feet a natural spa whether wanted or not, boulders that the brave can slide down or jump off of, deep refreshing pools to swim in and silky mineral pools to relax in.
Our favourite was a smaller pool at the highest level which was fed by a mini cascade waterfall. The water was a beautiful blue and just the right temperature to cool off in after the last stretch of the hike.
You do need to have a reasonable level of fitness to get to the higher levels as some bits are steep and there was some scrambling over logs and rocks and climbing rickety stairs involved. However, the whole hike was shaded and there were plenty of places to rest. We enjoyed the hike as it was challenging and there was something different to look at all the way up including butterflies, spiders (not so enjoyable) and breathtaking view points.
We recommend you visit Erawan Falls on a weekday as we arrived on the Sunday and went up to level 4 and it was packed at each level. When we did the full climb on the Monday it was very quiet and much more enjoyable. The earlier you go the better it will be as it is cooler to climb and you will have a better chance of having the pools to yourselves.
- Some people did the hike in flip flops but we would suggest trainers or hiking shoes for the slippery parts.
- There are toilets and changing rooms at the lower levels but these are less available as you go higher.
- Food is not allowed past the 2nd level and drinks must be taken up in reusable bottles or a 20 baht fee is charged (refunded when bottles are returned)
- Without stops the hike to the top of Erawan Falls would take 2 hours, but with stopping at each of the pools give yourself most of the day to enjoy it.
- The entry fee is 300 baht per person (if staying over night this covers both days).
Getting t0 Erawan Falls:
We went from Kanchanaburi bus station as the local bus runs hourly, costs 50 baht per person, and takes approx 2 hours.
Tips: The seats offer very little leg room, arrive early to get a seat at the back. You should buy the ticket on the bus. The helpful staff at the station will direct you to the correct bay.
Other travellers went by moped but as we were not confident we chose not to do this and we were glad as there were some very steep hills. There were also tours offered from guesthouses and tour agents.
There were less buses on the way back and the last one went at 5.00pm and was quite full (photo of the bus times below).
- There is an office upon arrival where you can book accomodation for the night – we did not prebook and had no issue with hiring a tent (it is possible to book online if you wish). You have to leave a passport with them as a deposit.
- There are bungalows, dorm rooms and tents (along with other equipment e.g. matts, pillows, lights, BBQs, sleeping bags) to rent.
- We hired a 3 man tent, sleeping matts and pillows for one night and it cost 300 baht.
- The campsite was to the left of the park entrance down quite a steep hill (there are golf buggies to take you but we walked).
- There were no security lockers available anywhere in the park so we had to take a risk and locked our tent with a padlock and ensured our bags were locked. They were fine but we did not really feel at ease leaving our bags in the tent. If you travelled by moped perhaps valuables could be locked in the seat which might be a bot better.
- The bathroom facilities were okay – we found those near the youth hostel were much better as the showers were separate from the toilets.
- The site was quite busy and it was a bit loud, but sleeping on the floor in the heat was quite uncomfortable so we don’t think silence would have helped us get a better night sleep anyway! In hindsight we would have booked a bungalow or just visited for the day taking the first and last bus. However, the view from our tent was lovely and the lizards that scampered on the roof of the tent catching bugs were entertaining with their victory chirping when they were successful.
- We were not that impressed with the food available on site (at the entrance or on level one) as it was quite expensive and was not very hygienic (uncovered BBQ meat attracting flies). We settled on fries and wilted sandwiches and fruit but wish we could have brought our own meat to cook on the BBQs at the campsite (sadly we could not add a cool box to our backpacks on the local bus!)
- You cannot take food or water in plastic bottles up past the second level so eat enough for the whole day. You can trade in your plastic bottles for containers that you will need to return.
- There is a local town square but it is a bit of a walk up a steep hill and there are very few Tuk-Tuks about – we went into town but wish we hadn’t after climbing that hill! There are a few shops and a little food market that has a limited selection but we did not feel it was any better than what was offered on site.
Further information can be found on the National Park website here.
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