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Erawan Waterfalls in Kanchanaburi Province Thailand--Travel Thailand Series

Updated on January 29, 2015
Waterfall at Level 1
Waterfall at Level 1 | Source

Erawan Waterfalls in the Kanchanaburi Province of Thailand is one of most breathtakingly beautiful places ever to be seen in Thailand. The waterfalls are ranked as one of the most beautiful in Southeast Asia and it has been said that they are the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

A representation of the Hindu god named Erawan which was an elephant with three heads
A representation of the Hindu god named Erawan which was an elephant with three heads | Source

Erawan Name Comes from Hindu Mythology

The waterfalls received their name, Erawan, from Hindu mythology. At one time the falls had an appearance of a three-headed or three-trunk-elephant-like appearance resembling the Hindu God by the name of Erawan. In the Thai language the waterfalls are known as Namtok Erawan.

 Waterfall  at Level 2
Waterfall at Level 2 | Source

Emerald Green Pools

Imagine yourself stopping at one of the falls, with the sun out, the light reflecting off the water and the lush green jungle forest. There is clear water falling over the yellow limestone rock into an emerald colored pool below. The water on some of the falls looks like a frosty white turquoise or aqua green. No words can describe the beauty.

Waterfall Level 3
Waterfall Level 3 | Source

Limestone Rock with Seven Levels

The limestone waterfall is fed by a mountain creek where the water falls over limestone cliffs making beautiful pools and fascinating rounded formations. The unique colors are attributed to the underlying limestone that the water flows and drops over. There are seven levels or tiers with the entire waterfall measuring one and a half kilometers long. You will find that each level is indeed beautiful and unique and worthy of picture taking.

Waterfall Level 4
Waterfall Level 4 | Source
Waterfall Level 5
Waterfall Level 5 | Source
Waterfall Level 5 "Lounge" area
Waterfall Level 5 "Lounge" area | Source
Waterfall Level 6
Waterfall Level 6 | Source
Above Waterfall Level 7
Above Waterfall Level 7 | Source

Swim, Play and Enjoy the Peace

You can swim or play in the clear freshwater aqua-green emerald colored pools or relax in a peaceful place beside the falls.

Persons who may not want to take the journey to the top can enjoy their time at the 1st level while others in the traveling party continue. This waterfall has lots of fish.

At the 2nd tier waterfall you can join others walking thru the water or swimming across the pool, then take a deep breath and pass thru the pounding curtain of water falling before you enter an area that has a small alcove and cave like feature.

The 3rd tier is possibly 20-25 meters tall which is much taller than the first two and it is not nearly as wide. This one also has lots of fish swimming in its plunge pool.

The 4th tier waterfall has two naturally rounded limestone waterslides that are fun to slide down.

The 5th tier is perhaps the most beautiful in color and scenery. It is a set of cascades over the limestone rock. The walk to this fall requires a little more effort but the experience there is beyond words. There are some taller round edged flat rocks that are great for laying in or posing for pictures. It is here that you will find the frosty white turquoise travertine pools.

Moving toward the 6th tier is increasingly strenuous and you may choose to leave the path and walk upstream to this waterfall. You can try your balancing act on a log that has fallen, making a precarious bridge.

The last or 7th tier has a large flat limestone formation at the bottom of the fall. There you will find Thai locals and tourists of all nationalities resting, picnicking, or even playing a guitar. Some will want to continue the climb to the top of the fall in order to catch the magnificent view of the surrounding hilled and mountain-like rough jungle area.

Fish can be found at leves 1 and 6
Fish can be found at leves 1 and 6 | Source
Fish ready to nibble?
Fish ready to nibble? | Source

Only Waterfall in the National Park That Has Fish

 You might even like to try to capture one of the fish by hand or feel their tickle-nibble-scratch while you are in the water. Erawan falls is the only waterfall in the National Park that has fish. The small fish are very quick and easy to see in some of the shallow areas. If you stay still or let your feet dangle in the water, the fish will probably find your feet and it is said they will nibble off the dead skin for you.

Monkeys on Levels 1 and 6
Monkeys on Levels 1 and 6

There Are Monkeys Too

 There are numerous monkeys inhabiting the surrounding trees at the lowest level . You can find them again at the 6th level. It is important to be vigilant around these cute little monkeys as they have a habit of running away with tourist's sunglasses and cameras. In a lightning quick moment they might even grab your un-opened coke bottle and scramble up the nearest tree. From there they will feverishly attempt to open the bottle with various techniques. As you look with dismay at your coveted liquid they will finally determine that they can’t get it open and will drop, fling, or toss it to the ground with perhaps a near miss to someone’s head.


The Path

The walk to the top on marked paths is about 2 kilometers and might take an hour with no stopping, but most likely you will stop to rest and play in the water. The path is strenuous in parts and you might find yourself maneuvering steep, slippery and muddy areas. At times you will be making your way over tree roots and rocks. There are some sets of steep stairs.

There are information signs at each level telling you the number of the next level and the number of meters to get there. All along you have the opportunity to skip certain tiers and go straight to the top or make a stop at each fall. It would take about an hour to go straight to the top but to get the full benefit, it would be best to stop along the way and take two or three hours at least.



You will benefit from good footwear and it would be nice to have a waterproof kind so that you don’t need to change when you get in the water. You should expect to be tired by the time you return to the parking area.

If you are planning on hiking to the top or even if you go only part way you should carry LOTS of water. Thailand is generally hot and humid and water will help you stay cool and hydrated. There is a check station at the 2nd waterfall indicating no liquids but you can pay about 10 Thai baht (about 33 cents US ) per plastic bottle you take in. That money is returned when you pass by on the way down and return your bottle(s). There are no trash receptacles to diminish the beauty of the landscape and this method is meant to encourage personal responsibility for your own rubbish removal.


Main Attraction in Erawan National Park Located near Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi Province

Erawan Waterfalls are the main attraction of Erawan National Park in western Thailand. The park was founded in 1975 and is about 65 kilometers from Kanchanaburi where the famous Bridge Over the River Kwai is located. There are buses that leave Kanchanaburi on a regular basis for the waterfalls. If possible you should try to avoid going on weekends or on a Thai holiday because it can be quite crowded then. It is best to visit the waterfalls in the morning when it is cooler.


Food, Souvenirs and Information in Parking Area

Your visit to Erawan Waterfalls will be complete when you return to the parking area. You will have the opportunity to purchase a plate with a photograph that was taken of you when you began the trail. You can buy Thai food and purchase pictures and souvenirs and there is an information building in the parking lot area.

A Memorable Traveling Experience

A visit to Erawan Waterfalls and the trek up the path will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment. The beauty that you have been privileged to experience might well be worth the effort it might take. No doubt you will always be able to envision the indescribable beauty of Erawan Waterfalls.. You may remember them as a traveling experience to one of the most beautiful places in the world.


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    • profile image

      Elton 6 years ago

      Now here is a place everyone should strive to visit. Great waterways, beautiful scenery, drop your camera and get worldclass pictures. This has to be on "the list". You have an excellent way of describibg the beauty.

    • E Jay profile image

      E Jay 6 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Georgeous is a good descriptor word...The colors make it a favorite place for me...have been there 3 or 4 times.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 7 years ago from Western New York

      Wow - what a gorgeous place! This reminds me (a little) of Seven Falls in Santa Barbara, CA. Of course, Seven Falls doesn't have fish (freshwater stream coming down from the mountains). What a gorgeous place to visit! I've never been to Thailand, but it is on my "bucket list!"