AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Kanchanaburi: Erawan Waterfall

In our current hotel the internet is too slow for me to add pictures to this post. I’ll do that at the next hotel which has a decent internet connection.

Our last day in Kanchanaburi and we have planned to go to Erawan Waterfall. It is actually a series of waterfalls made up of 7 major falls and many smaller falls. Many guides describe the falls as ‘the most beautiful waterfall in Thailand’.

The falls are 60km from Kanchanaburi so we had the moped again. The ride was incredibly windy, although there wasn’t the slightest breeze when we were stopped, by the time we were moving at about 60-70kph the wind was pushing back so hard my back ached from having to resist it. I don’t know why it got so windy, we’ve rode many miles at these speeds many times before and not experienced that strength of wind resistance. Anyway, it meant the journey was a bit less comfortable and took a bit longer than expected. But eventually we arrived.

The trail starts by following a slow wide stream which looks pretty nice:

And has monkeys swinging around in the trees lining the stream:

But when we reached the first waterfall we were shocked by the sight. The water was filled with Russians and they were climbing all over the waterfall. One crazy guy was slowly walking along the rocky ledge towards the middle of the waterfall. How he didn’t slip and fall over the edge of the waterfall must be more luck than skill, but he reached the center and it was then that the Thai security decided to intervene. Lots of whistle blowing and hand gestures to make the guy turn around. This proved a tricky feat and rather than make the risky journey back to the banks the guy took a leap straight off the waterfall. He got a stern warning from the guard for that.

This pretty much sums up the whole of the waterfalls. Every pool under the falls was filled with Russians and many more were climbing up, sliding down and jumping on every section of almost every waterfall. Kanchanaburi isn’t a large place plus it’s quite easy to spot the different nationalities, but we hadn’t seen any Russians in Kanchanaburi. So where they all came from is a mystery (our guess is bus tours from Bangkok but that’s a 3-4 hour bus journey). The Russians had no consideration for anyone else or the rules, they just wanted to get in the water and slide over some waterfalls.

The path from the first cascade to the seventh is about a mile long. It took us about an hour in the heat and humidity to reach the top, stopping for a short while at each falls to observe yet another group of Russians busily scrambling over the rocks. The falls themselves did look very nice and the water was crystal clear and turquoise.

We reached the top, Annemarie had a bit of a paddle around then we came back down.

The great thing about Thailand (and most places in Asia) is that there is always plenty of food in any location which has a even just few tourists. With lots of tourists here the car park was filled with food stalls, so we easily bought a couple of rice dishes and ice cold cans of Coke.

Filled and refreshed we decided to go further north and try to find a cave we had read about named Phra That Cave. It was well signposted and finding the car park by the ticket office was simple.

Unfortunately the cave wasn’t by the car park. Just behind the ticket office was some steps leading into the jungle. 20 minutes later we finally reached the end of the steps! Yes, 20 minutes of non-stop steps up a steep slope through the jungle. It was much harder than we anticipated.

At the top was a guy wearing combats and swinging in his hammock. In the corner were a collection of gas lamps. Putting two and two together we guessed that he would take us around the cave. But he didn’t move. We then remembered that as we started up the steps another car had entered the car park. It was easy to notice because there was no-one else visiting the cave, no cars or bikes or coaches at the bottom. We sat around for maybe 10  minutes waiting for the others to make it to the top and when they did we were surprised to find they were probably 8-10 years younger than us, but far less fit. This at least made us feel better because we don’t feel very fit and we’ll be in Nepal in a month and need to be fit for that. Another benefit was a good rest.

The cave had a very tight entrance, but once inside the scale was immense. The gas lantern lit up the wall which we followed around the edge of the cave but it light didn’t reach the ceiling or the far walls. The guide needed his torch to light the ceiling and the far walls. The cave had many stalactites and stalagmites and in a couple of places the two actually met and pillars were formed. The cave had many other formations and a vast array of colours. However, our guide was more interested in pointing out the animal shapes which could made out (with a bit of imagination) from the rocks and patterns around the cave. We’d experienced this in Vietnam, rather than give a history of the formation of the cave and its materials the guide would rather show the shapes in the rocks. Luckily the girl that had taken her time coming up the steps spoke a little English and was able to translate what the guide was saying (I say a little but to know some of the words is probably advanced English).

After about half an hour in the cave we left it and walked back down the steps to the moped. When riding to the cave we could see a huge reservoir which looked quite nice and I decided our last destination of the day should be a quick ride to the dam to take a look around.

The dam was very high but not very impressive to look at. But, there was a road along the top of the dam so that was a bonus. We rode to the other side, took a few pictures then headed back to Kanchanaburi.

The photos of the waterfalls can be seen here.
The photos of the cave can be seen here.

Posted from Tha Kradan, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

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