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The Erawan National Park is the 12th national park of Thailand and famous for its seven-tiered waterfall. The national park is located in the west of Thailand, about 550 km² large and open all around the year.
The name of the park and waterfall is originated by the three-headed elephant from the Hindu mythology. The waterfall, which stretches over a distance of 1500 meters, is the reason most of the visitors come to the Erawan National Park.
A trip to the Erawan Falls near Kanchanaburi
During my stay in Kanchanaburi I wanted to discover the stunning waterfall by myself and did a day trip to the Erawan National Park. Absolutely worth it, even if it’s partly a bit crowded.
The way to the Erawan National Park
From Kanchanaburi it’s very easy to get to the Erawan National Park on your own. Every hour there is a bus from the Kanchanaburi Bus Terminal to the national park. It’s the same bus terminal where the buses and minivans arrive from Bangkok.
Mostly it’s a pretty old bus with the number 8170. Otherwise you can recognize it by the Erawan sign in the windshield near the driver.
Since it is a local bus, it often stops for the guests to get on or off. Because of that the ride takes a little bit, but you should arrive at the Erawan National Park after one and a half hours. The price for a bus ticket is only 50 baht per person. At the entrance of the national park somebody will enter the bus, where you will have to pay the admission for the Erawan National Park.
Note: The last bus heading back to Kanchanaburi will start at 5.00 P.M. at the national park. The bus can be quite crowded so it’s better to arrive early in order to get a place to sit.
Admission and opening hours
The National Park is open all year around from 7.00 A.M. to 5.00 P.M. daily.
The admission* is quoted as the following:
- Foreigners: adult 300 baht/children 200 baht
- Thais: adult 100 baht/children 50 baht
*As of 11/2016
Walking around the Erawan National Park
If you get off the bus at the entrance, you can go directly into the park. You know that you’re on the right way when you see the large welcome sign of the Erawan National Park.
Afterwards the road continues on your right hand side into the jungle until you reach the first tier of one of Thailand’s most beautiful waterfalls.
The path to get there is built out quite well and takes about 10 minutes. Some staff members of the park will offer you a ride with their golf cart for a small fee of 30 baht if you don’t like to walk.
On the way to the first tier of the waterfall there is also a restaurant, where you can buy some beverages. Since it’s the only restaurant in the park, I would advise you to take some food and drinks along with you.
Furthermore, don’t forget a towel and some swimming shorts or a bikini, because there are plenty of nice natural pools which are suitable for swimming.
However, after the second tier food isn’t allowed anymore and your water bottles will be marked at a counter before entering the stairs. You also need deposit 20 baht for the bottle.
This ensures that the path and waterfall remain clean, which is in my opinion a really good idea. You will get your deposit back if you present your water bottles at return, where you can also use the waste bin.
After that you can take the stairs to five more tiers of the waterfall. The last two tiers are really far away. If you want to reach them, I would advise you to start early. You can also take a swim in the natural pools on your way back.
At the different levels you can swim more or less well, but you will find fish everywhere. The fish aren’t shy and as soon as you go into the water, they come to “nibble” your feet. It’s like a fish spa, which you can see at many tourist spots in Thailand.
It is a strange feeling at first, but you can withstand it. However, the fish only eat your dead skin cells and feed on them. It takes a little getting used to it, but you definitely gotta try it when you visit the Erawan National Park.
After the fourth level there is a small resting place, where you can enjoy the view over the Erawan National Park or have a smoke. Otherwise the national park is a complete non-smoking zone.
The way up to the last two levels isn’t really built out and can be partially slippery, be careful. Many people recommend to climb up the waterfall with solid shoes only. I’ve done it with flip-flops and it also works without any problems.
Don’t worry about the heat, because you can take an ice-cold bath in the waterfall to cool down after the sweaty climb up.
In addition to the famous waterfall which attracts most of the visitors, there are also a few caves with artifacts and paintings you can visit in the large national park.
However, those caves aren’t located on the way to the waterfall and if you really want to see them, you should stay longer. You can see the following caves in the Erawan National Park: Tham Mi, Tham Ruea, Tham Wang Badan and Tham Phrathat.
Furthermore, you can discover wild animals like elephants, deer, wild boards or some exotic birds in the depth of the jungle.
A day trip to the Erawan Waterfall is enough to see the beauty of it. If you like to experience everything in the national park, one day surely won’t be enough though.
There are a few bungalows directly in the national park, which you can rent for a night. But mostly they are occupied by school classes or larger groups. These bungalows cost between 800 and 4000 baht per night and are located near the headquarter of the Erawan National Park.
You can find more accommodation facilities like apartments, bungalows or hotels in Kanchanaburi.
Just one thing left to say: Enjoy and take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.