Erawan National Park
Often more resembling a bank holiday weekend at the public swimming pool than a tranquil beauty spot, Erawan is still one of most stunning places in Thailand. Each of the seven tiers of the waterfall are quite swimmable, complete with carnivorous fish, cooling turquoise colour waters and thronging masses of local sightseers. Avoiding going there on a bank holiday or weekend can be a good strategy.
The waterfall itself is well worth dedicating a whole day to, each tier of the waterfall is impressive in its own right and completely different giving the experience of seeing 7 waterfalls in a day. Roughly its a couple of hours walk to the top and back down plus stopping time.
Plan to spend a day here as you have a dip in each of the tiers, Som Tum shops are thoughtfully placed at convenient pits stops to fulfil all your culinary needs or bring a picnic.
Getting here is easy as a bus goes every hour from Kanchanaburi bus station and takes 40 mins. If you leave around 5-6pm just hitch a ride back to town on top of one of the numerous pickups you see leaving as the park exodus occurs. Entrance to the Park is B200 for adults and B100 for children.
If you got drunk enough on your way to Kanchanaburi and missed your train stop, you would have had the serendipity to end up here. Located in just about the most convenient place of any waterfall in the whole history of the world, a 2 min walk from the train station slap bang in the middle of a tiny custom built park, Sai Yok Noi can be an impressive waterfall. Impressive is always a relative word when visiting Thai waterfalls as seasons come into play. In the hot season Thai waterfalls tend to dry up to a trickle but in the wet season become mini Niagaras.
The ‘Noi’ in Sai Yok means ‘little’. A few kilometres away and much harder to get to is Sai Yok Yai, ‘Yai’ meaning ‘large’. Don’t let this fool you as ‘Noi is the more impressive of the two and strangely much larger. Never really got that, then again the big guy in Robin Hood is called Little John, so perhaps it all makes sense somewhere.
Sai Yok Noi is located at Nam Tok, which means waterfall, and is the next station along from Kanchanaburi. It is best visited on the way back to Bangkok, picking up the train there instead of from Kanchanaburi. Nam Tok can be reached by local bus from the Kanchanaburi bus station. Get there an hour or so before the train departs and have the most scenic wait for a train of your life.
Sai Yok Noi