Erawan Falls at Erawan National Park
Erawan falls is the prime attraction of the Erawan National Park. Am giving a fair warning that water in the falls is subjected to the season you visit. And that all pictures that google throw up may be deceiving. It was little disappointing to be there late July, when it was monsoon time and still there wasn’t much water in the upper tiers. The falls have 7 tiers. The first three are fairly easy to climb and are full of people. These are the tiers that have clear water too. I guess that probably this being a prime tourist attraction place and not many people climb up all the tiers, the first three tiers are ensured to be filled with water. The rest are for the adventurers or trekkers I would say.
It was drizzling when we started from Kanchanaburi and headed towards Erawan National Park. Within sometime the tar roads were bordered with lush green trees and towering mountains at a distance. The van arrived at the Erawan National Park and our guide got the entry tickets for us. She walked up until the second tier and then asked us to get back by lunch. You can spend a day too but takes easily half a day to explore. The first tier was nothing! If the guide did not point it out as a tier, I would have thought it to be a canal or tributary flowing by. It was not emerald in color and looked murky. This is a picnic spot. By afternoon when I was returning from the hike, I saw lot of Thai people coming in with packed food and finding a bench along the first tier, spreading out their basket and having their lunch while also chasing away the monkeys.
About 100 meters from there comes the second tier. It is called as Wang Macha meaning place of fish and is situated at 600m. The second tier looked beautiful. The water was a sight to see. Cool blue in color with fishes swimming around, surrounded by greenery. It was may be 10am and there was crowd by then. People diving in and enjoying the water. True to its name it had plenty of fishes, these are the dead skin eating fishes that you can see in some of the foot massage parlors. Only difference is that the fishes are as big as your palm or arm. They are huge and they don’t nibble but bite! Nevertheless, on my return I stopped at this tier, balanced on a rock and was dangling my leg in the waters for the fish to nibble. It was fun.
The third tier was not far too. Another 100m and comes the next tier which is called Pha Namtok. This was very beautiful too. I decided to watch this beauty for a while. But I was also itching to hike the falls. That morning my stomach was churning badly and I had like no strength to get on the tour. So my idea was to see one or two tiers and take rest until the group assembles back. But the second and third tiers had impressed me majorly that I decided to hike at least one more tier. And so I started for the next one. A small deviation, a small bridge to be crossed and I embarked on the hike.
Like I said not many climb the upper tiers. Still you can see a considerable crowd. After the third tier, you are not allowed to carry plastics and need to deposit any such water bottles or baggage that you are carrying at the counter. After the third tier it is quite a walk before you come to the fourth tier. A view point comes up in the middle opening up to the beautiful valley in front of you. The vastness of the place and the thick vegetation among which you are hiking dawns on you when you see this.
I caught my breath for a while and continued to walk up. The fourth tier was two big rocks and a natural pool that you can swim at. The rocks seems fun as people were trying to slide down the rock into the pool. The rock looked dry for the season but people were still sliding on it. This tier is called Oke Nang Peesau meaning the Chest of Butterfly because the two rocks resemble like that. However cheeky men call it as breast of a women, and that it looks like it and let’s slide down it! 😀 Whatever! But the fourth tier was not as impressive as the third and second so I decided to walk one more tier up.
From here on the walk gets a little rough. There is no longer a paved way. The way is very clear but just that it is roots and trees and slopes and some time steep and some time you are on all your fours. There are places like cliffs and some pools on the way which to me seemed totally unreachable and there were sign boards not to jump in and still I saw one or two in those waters. I have no idea how they managed to reach there. A slightly smaller pool arrives on the way and people were stopping by to cool and I was wondering if it was the fifth tier. If at all it was I would not even have written this blog 😀 Thankfully it was not the fifth tier and I continued walking up. On the way were prayer flags fluttering at places, offering prayers to the evil spirits if any in the forest. Not sure why they think evil spirit should only be women, there were all kinds of women dresses offered and dolls placed like that 😀
The fifth tier was grand and beautiful. It showed the lovely limestone formation of the hills, many many small tiers collecting water, overflowing them and flowing down. The rocks are slippery, and the path is muddy but the pool is beautiful and lot of people were taking a dip. I dipped my feet for a while and enjoyed the cool water. Beware of the monkeys if you are solo, leave your bag and go for a swim, it may or may not be there when you get back.
I decided to walk back after the fifth tier. The sixth I heard as nothing much. But the seventh tier was actually very very beautiful I believe. The limestone formation was beautiful and the colors of water too. So if you wish to climb all the way up to the seventh, please do.
By noon I was down. This after spending more than half an hour dangling my legs in the water and playing with the fishes. Many combine the trip to Erawan and Sai Yok National Park together. I skipped Sai Yok National park altogether from the trip. I had plans but Erawan itself did not have as much water as I had thought it would have and Sai Yok is single tier so I did not want to get disappointed. There are plenty of shops around the parking lot that sell souvenirs and food. Our party had lunch here before moving on to the next destination. This tour can be booked from any operator at Kanchanaburi. Almost everyone had the same itinerary and pricing for this tour.