Phu Pha Erawan - level 7 i.e. the top of the Waterfalls in Thailand.

Walking up the beautiful Erawan Waterfalls in Thailand.

Red Tailed Racer at Level 4, Erawan Waterfalls, Thailand. Waterfalls area, Erawan National Park, Thailand.

These 7 stage waterfalls are situated within the dense forests of the 550km square Erawan National Park in the Kanchanaburi District of Western Thailand.

The falls themselves are around 70kms from the town of Kanchanaburi on the 3199 highway. They are reachable by public bus no8170 if you are on a budget - the 90 minute journey costs around 50 Baht. Alternatively and much more flexible is to drive there yourself i.e. hire a car for the day - then you can also visit other bits of the Park as well. This makes a good day trip but the area around the waterfalls can be very busy especially during weekends and holidays when local Thai arrive to picnic and go swimming. The falls are open daily although last entrance times vary for the higher stages - there is a large parking area which is edged with stalls selling food and snacks as well as other items. The entrance fee for Thai is 100 Baht but foreigners are charged 300 Baht plus a 30 Baht parking charge - however foreigners with some type of proof of residency i.e. a Thai driving licence are charged 200 Baht.
Rather than one huge cascade, Erawan Waterfalls are actually a series of small falls situated over 7 Levels - the walk to Level 7 is around 2kms and it takes around 90 minutes to reach the top - although shaded the whole route can be really humid so it is necessary to take plenty of drink.
Lai Kuen Rung 1, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Wang Macha 2, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Wang Macha 2, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Wang Macha 2, Erawan National Park, Thailand.
Because of the sometimes rocky and scrambling route, having decent footwear is a good idea. There is usually always some water coming down the falls although in late March perhaps not too much however the various pools are usually nicely filled. During and in the period after the Monsoon season the waterfalls must be an amazing sight however it is possible that especially the higher levels are closed off because of the amount of water moving around.
From the car park there is around a 500m undualting walk to the start of the waterfalls - there are small electric cars available (fee applies) should you not wish to walk this for some reason. Of the seven tiers, Levels 1 (Lai Kuen Rung) and 2 (Wang Macha) are easily reached with little effort - these areas have food and drinks kiosks and also toilets and a shower. Level 2 is particularly popular and thus busy as locals use it for picnics and for bathing and seemingly many visitors do not bother going further on up. From Level 2 all drinks bottles have to be shown and a 20 Baht deposit payed - the bottle(s) are numbered and logged in a book and on return as long as the marked bottles are shown then the money is refunded.

Pha Nam Tok 3, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Pha Nam Tok 3, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Oke Nang Phee Sue 4, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Oke Nang Phee Sue 4, Erawan National Park, Thailand.
From Level 2 the path starts to climb, crosses a bridge and is clearly marked in direction and distance to the next stage. Level 3 (Pha Nam Tok) has a reasonably sized waterfall and some nice pools. The path then doubles back to the bridge and the route carries on - this is a very steep stepped section which leads to a view point before a descent to Level 4 (Oke Nang Phee Sue) - another popular area especially with local Thai. To proceed on there needs to be sufficient time because the authorities do close access to go any higher from around 15:30.
Oke Nang Phee Sue 4, Erawan National Park, Thailand. 4 5 path, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Bue Mai Long 5, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Bue Mai Long Pool, Erawan National Park, Thailand.
From here the path becomes much harder to walk, with steps and quite a bit of clambering over rocks - it is quite a distance to Level 5 (Bue Mai Long). After Level 5 the route crosses several bridges to finally reach a rickety wooden step ladder - arrows here mark the way towards Level 6 to the right and towards Level 7 on the left. Walking this now becomes somewhat more difficult and the way is often quite slippery underfoot before then arriving at Level 6 (Dong Pruk Sa).
Bue Mai Long 5, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Bue Mai Long 5, Erawan National Park, Thailand. path to six, Erawan National Park, Thailand. 5 6 bridge, Erawan National Park, Thailand.
Dong Pruk Sa 6, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Dong Pruk Sa 6, Erawan National Park, Thailand. path to 7, Erawan National Park, Thailand. Pool below 7, Erawan National Park, Thailand.
Level 6 is particularly interesting as the heavily tree-lined area has many small rocky pools and is very picturesque. Back to the "ladder" a short walk leads to a pool area - here continuing on up to Level 7 involves either climbing up at times fairly steep rocks or paddling across a rock pool and scrambling up. This is very uncomfortable and slippery if done barefoot so having some sort of jellys or beach shoes to put on would be beneficial. Level 7 (Phu Pha Erawan) is a triple cascade and a large pool for swimming (see the photo at the top of this item) - Level 7 is named after the three headed god Indra of Hindu Mythology. It is fair to say that the area around Level 7 is easily the most scenic at Erawan Falls - beautiful water, vegetation, colours and lovely rocks to enjoy.
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