The Full Erawan National Park Guide
One place you really must see when in Thailand is the Erawan National Park. The majority of visitors arrive to explore the 7 levels of the magnificent Erawan Waterfall before cooling off in the bush. It takes less than an hour to hike each way to the top of the waterfall, which is pretty easy.
The majority of visitors are completely ignorant of the numerous caves and hiking paths in the national park. In this guide, I’ve provided further information on these. Allow plenty of time to see these if you’re visiting the park on your own vehicle.
One of my favorite spots to visit nearby Bangkok is Erawan National Park. The distance by van from Bangkok to this national park is only three hours. It is conveniently reachable by bus, van, or motorcycle and is around 50 kilometres from Kanchanaburi. The section on “how to go to Erawan national Park” has further information on those choices.
Let’s start exploring now. This is a comprehensive guide to Erawan National Park (and Erawan Waterfall).
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Activities in Erawan National Park
The Erawan Waterfall is the first thing that comes to mind when visitors hear about the Erawan National Park, and for good reason—it is breathtaking. The national park also has numerous hiking routes and caverns, which are generally unknown to visitors. I’ll give you the whole lowdown on all the attractions right here.
You must first go to the Erawan Waterfall. Down a winding forest walk, you can explore the waterfall’s seven distinct tiers. The trail crosses the river several times while ascending unnoticed wooden ladders and passing over big stones. The ascent takes around an hour and is a pretty simple trek.
Thus, let’s begin from the bottom and move upward. The Erawan Waterfall’s Level 1 is a great location for lunch. Enjoy your somtam, sticky rice, and grilled chicken as the natives do. You want to consume everything down here first because food isn’t permitted past the first level.
Around Level 1 of the waterfall, there are some reasonably priced food stalls as well. You don’t have to be concerned about carrying meals from Bangkok or Kanchanaburi.
After moving on to Level 2, you will have to give the park guards a modest deposit for your plastic water bottle. We assure you that this is not a con. It is a technique made to lessen the quantity of garbage that is dumped on trails. Also, there are severe fines for littering, which I wholeheartedly endorse!
Remember that the Erawan Waterfall’s lower levels are frequently very busy. There will, however, be fewer individuals present as you go past Level 3. Several locals would rather enjoy their grilled chicken with their families than make the climb to the summit.
I believe that the best swimming areas at Erawan Falls are levels 5 and 7. There is often enough water in the deeper pools here to swim year-round. Outside of the wet season, several of the other levels excessively dry up.
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The water here is an emerald green shade that is murky (similar to the Kuang Si Falls in Laos). The calcium carbonate in the limestone rock is dissolved by the water as it flows through the waterfalls. Also, there are a lot of fish hidden in the water that will approach you and nip at your legs and feet. They won’t hurt, but it’s a weird sensation to get used to.
You will discover a bright opening in the jungle as you ascend to the upper level of the Erawan Falls. The three-headed elephant Hindu god Erawan is said to be represented by the tall stream that is spilling over the rocks at this location. Thus, the waterfall’s name.
The majority of people are unaware of a few hiking trails in the National Park. Following are your choices:
Just outside the National Park headquarters, the simple hiking track begins behind the public restrooms. The main path going to Level 1 of the Erawan Waterfall is paralleled by the trail. This one-kilometer trail meanders through a lush bamboo forest. In comparison to the usual walking route, it is a finer option.
The 5 km Khao Hin Lan Pee Nature Trail is the adventure hiking track. It takes 1-2 hours to traverse the trail, which terminates at level 5 of the Erawan Waterfall. The National Park staff states that a guide is necessary for this.
There are a variety of caverns to explore at the Erawan National Park. For the same entrance cost that you pay to see the waterfall, you can enter these caves, however the national park staff will make you take a guide to show you the way.
It is significant to remember that there are several locations for these caverns around the National Park. These are not accessible by public transportation, so I advise
Phra That Cave
About 12 kilometers from the National Park Headquarters is a cave called Phra That Cave. The main cavern is over 200 meters wide once inside, although the entrance is a tight fit. Inside this cave, there are several stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is open from 8 am to 4 pm, however visitors should make arrangements with the guides before 3 pm.
Wang Badan Cave
The entrance to the Wang Badan Cave is actually on the opposite side of the National Park, behind the Saiyok Waterfall. The Wang Badan Cave is accessible after a 1.5-kilometer climb from the guard post at the park’s western edge. This cave has two levels, the upper of which is covered in stalactites and the lower of which contains an underground stream.
The primary draw to the Rua Cave is the opportunity to view ancient civilizations’ graves. Here, some really old coffins constructed of carved-out trees have been discovered. A 1-kilometer journey through the forest separates the settlement of Ban Thap Sila from the Rua Cave, which is situated on the southern edge of the Erawan National Park.
Best Season and Time to Visit
The very simple climbing track takes 30 minutes to reach the peak, without breaks. You should take your time when visiting Erawan National Park, though.
Erawan Waterfall group trips frequently arrive and depart in under two hours. This hardly gives you time to fully appreciate the magnificent Thai jungle. Skip the guided tours and spend the entire day at the waterfall.
The National Park’s entrance gates open at 7 a.m. and close at 4.30 p.m.
Weekends are bustling at the Erawan Falls. It is advisable to visit the waterfall during the week if at all possible. You’ll have the jungle to yourself if you arrive early in the morning.
How To Get There
Even if you take a tour and travel directly, getting from Bangkok to Erawan National Park requires two legs. Either way, it is doable in a single day. Your choices are as follows:
- Minivan from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi – Vans leave Mochit around every 20 minutes from 5 am to 11 pm. Below are the schedules and tickets. The best method to travel to Erawan National Park in the morning is by this route. About 2 hours are spent on the bus, which can cost up to 110 THB (USD 4) per person one trip.
- Train: At 7.50 am and 1.55 pm, trains leave Bangkok’s Thonburi train station. Although Thailand’s trains are infamous for being significantly slower, the journey takes roughly 3 hours. One-way tickets cost 110 THB (USD 4) per person.
Erawan National Park to Kanchanaburi
- Songtaew – Songtaews leave from the town’s main bus station, Kanchanaburi Bus Station. A round-trip songtaew normally costs 1,000 THB (USD 35). When divided among a party of up to 10 persons, this is a fantastic price.
- My preferred method is to take a motorbike from Kanchanaburi. The ride allows you complete flexibility and lasts around an hour. At Kanchanaburi, motorbikes may be leased for 300 THB (USD 10) per day. Learn how to get there.
- Bus – From Kanchanaburi, a bus travels directly to Erawan National Park. From 8 am to 5 pm, it leaves the Kanchanaburi Bus Terminal every hour. The public bus costs only 45 THB and travels approximately one hour each way (USD 1.50). It makes an hourly trip back to Kanchanaburi.
National Park Entrance Fee
For foreign visitors, the admission cost to Erawan National Park is 300 THB (USD 10); for residents, it is 100 THB. Even if the entrance charge seems high, haggling is futile. The good news is that this entrance fee goes toward maintaining the cleanliness of the national park and supporting conservation activities.
Moreover, there is a cost of 30 THB for any other cars and 20 THB for motorcycles.
When you pay the national park entrance fee, you will receive a tiny paper ticket. Always keep this with you (except when you swim of course).
Accommodations Near Kanchanaburi
I like to spend more time at the Erawan Waterfall and farther away from Kanchanaburi. Out in the forest, where it is considerably more calm than in the middle of town, are several fantastic guesthouses.
For less than 1,500 THB (US$50) per night, a twin room, you can find excellent offers. You can arrive at the National Park early in the day, much before all the day tours from Bangkok, by staying close to it. What could be better than the waterfall to yourself?
Here are some excellent hotel choices that are both in town and close to the national park:
- River Kwai Park Resort | 18km from falls | from USD 38
- Silver Lake Resort | 16km past falls | from USD 68
- The Float House River Kwai Resort | luxury raft house from USD 158
- Bamboo House Kanchanaburi | in Kanchanaburi | from USD 12