Before going to Kanchanaburi in Thailand, the only thing we knew for sure that we wanted to do was to visit Erawan National Park and see the Erawan Falls. In our third day in Kanchanaburi, we woke up at 6.30am and took the first bus towards Erawan National Park.
About Erawan National Park
Kanchanaburi consists of several national parks and waterfalls, and Erawan National Park is the most famous one. Erawan National Park is located in western Thailand, in Kanchanaburi. The park covers an area of 550 km2. The park is located only 65 km from Kanchanaburi and hence makes it an easy place to go for a day trip. The national park operates everyday between 8 am and 4.30 pm. The entrance is 300 baht per person.
The major attraction of the national park is the Erawan Falls. The falls consists of 7 tiers, all with unique looks and different surroundings. The falls are hidden in the bushy, green jungle and makes out for a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle downtown.
While climbing up the tiers, you will trek through the jungle via wooden ladders, crawling over and under big rocks and trees and walking barefoot (or with your shoes on) through the stream. The waters are filled with fishes that eats dead skin. You know the ones that spas puts in big tanks for people to put their feet in? Those, but a lot bigger. It’s basically a natural spa.
How to Get There
It is possible to go to Erawan National Park by organized tours. Then you don’t have to think about how to get there and how to get back. However, it is expensive and they’re usually on a tight schedule so you won’t have time to explore the place in your own speed. When you go by yourself you don’t have to adjust to anyone else and you can spend the whole day exploring the national park. But don’t worry, there other ways to get there!
To get from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi you need to take either the train or the bus for about 2 hours first. From there you need to take the local bus for an additional 2 hours. Since it’s ideal to get to Erawan early in the morning, we suggest you stay in Kanchanaburi at least one night. This way you’ll have lots of time to go to Erawan in the morning.
From Kanchanaburi you only need to go by the local bus for about 1.5-2 hours to get to Erawan National Park. This will cost you 50 baht per person. The bus leaves from Kanchanaburi bus station. To find the bus, just ask anyone at the station for the bus to Erawan and they will point it out for you.
The first bus leaves at 8am and after that they leave every hour. We took the first bus, and it quickly filled up. If you want to be able to sit down, make sure to be at the bus station early.
Many people chooses to rent a bike (in Kanchanaburi you can rent one for a whole day for 200 baht) and go by themselves. In this way they can be in the park at the opening time and beat the majority of every other tourists that chooses to come by an organized tour or by the local bus.
Here’s a list of a couple of tips we believe are useful when going to Erawan National Park.
- Go early: You don’t want to arrive in Erawan at the same time as everyone else are arriving. The earlier you come, the lesser people there will be. To beat the local buses and tours, rent a bike and go by yourself.
- Walk all the way up to level 7: If you’re physically able to, make sure to make your way to the top. Usually, people settle with tier 1-5, so the upper tiers are a lot less crowded. Rremember, the top levels closes around 3 pm.
- Walk up fast, walk down slowly: Many people tend to walk up the tiers slowly, taking their time to take photos and swim at each tier. Therefore, the lower tiers get crowded fast, whilst the upper tiers are comparatively empty. A good idea is to walk all the way up quickly and enjoy the calmness and quietness. Then you can make your way down while the rest are making their way up.
- Eat before you arrive: It’s a bit challenging to walk all the way up to tier 7. Therefore, it’s a good idea to eat something before you start, or at least before level 3. After level 2 it’s not allowed to eat or drink. If you have brought a water bottle, you need to pay a deposit. You’ll get this back once you come back down and show that you still have your bottle.
- Bring water: It’s warm, it’s a tough walk and it’s sweaty. You will need lots of water, trust me.
- Wear swimwear: It’s hard to resist jumping straight into the natural pools after you’ve been walking for a while. It’s a refreshing break when you’re all sweaty from the trekking. Make sure you bring appropriate swimwear. Many tourists walk around in and/or swim in bikinis or short swimming trunks, even though there are big signs saying that it’s against the culture in Thailand.