Erawan National Park

January 25, 2015 - 8 minutes read

This weekend a group of us from the program decided to take a small trip to a national park in western Thailand know as Erawan National Park. The main attraction of the park is Erawan Falls, a 7 tiered waterfall named after the erawan the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. The seven-tiered falls are said to resemble the erawan.

We left Friday afternoon after classes at around 4 pm. We hopped in a cab and rode to the Sai Tai Taling Chan Southern Bus terminal in Bangkok and go ourselves a ticket to the Kanchaniburi province of Thailand, for 3 dollars – not even Megabus could top this ride. We boarded the VIP bus which mean its takes less stops and arrives in 3 hours rather than 6 or 7.

When we arrived in Kanchaniburi we walked off the bus and took ten steps in the parking lot and were greeting by an overly friendly songthaew driver looking to close a deal. He drove us to our accommodations at the VN Guesthouse about a 15 minute drive down the road. We piled into the back and headed to the river.

When we arrived at VN he said that for 150 Bhat a person or about $4.85 he would pick us up from VN and drive us the 55 minutes to Erawan the following day, wait in the park all day and then drive us back to the bus depot when we were ready to go home. We couldn’t have possibly made out better than that. We agreed and bid him adieu for the evening.

VN Guest house was a small hostel type accommodation sitting right on the Khwae Yai River in Kanchaniburi. Its a small place tucked away along the rivers bend out of the main town area. The woman who runs the place is a sassy Thai woman who speaks english and has a great sense of humor. We rented a room with 3 beds for the night for a total cost of, get this, 300 Bhat for the room. They have river side rooms and raft rooms which are in small houses that actually float on the river. We enjoyed an amazing dinner in the deck house over the river after while we sat for some time and headed to bed. It was already of to an amazing start.

The following morning I rose early to watch the sun come up along the river at around 6 am. I explored the compound a little bit and went up to the street where I met a gang of early riser street hounds looking for a good pet. They were a friendly bunch and much more interested than the Bangkok dogs.

After I went down to the deck house an ordered a traditional Thai breakfast of Kow Tum Tele which is a non spicy rice soup with veggies and seafood. pair with an espresso I was ready to get the day started.

Our songthaew friend showed up at 7 as promised and we hopped in a headed for the park. Riding in the songthaew during the day was a great experience – if breathing exhaust fumes is your idea of a good time. after about an hour of driving an a fair amount of elevation gain we made it to the park. Lucky for us since were students at Mahidol we didnt have to pay the farang price and got into the park for the local $40 Bhat price – we were all happy about that.

Upon entry of the park everyone had to change and go to the bathroom and whatever so Garret and I broke ahead and headed for the 7th tier of Erawan Falls it was about a 1 mile barefoot hike to the top and it was amazing. We blew past the other farangs on the first couple tiers and soon we passed 2 and 3 stopping along the way to take a few photos but being sure to wait for the top to take a swim. Our idea was to work our way down from the top. When we finally arrived it was pretty beautiful. The source of the dozens of ponds and falls at that we saw on the way up. We swam for a bit and waited for everyone to make it up, took some photos and headed down to number 6.

The other falls that we saw on the way were amazing. You can climb the falls and pretty much go anywhere you please which is wonderful. I kept trying to get to places that were difficult to reach from the trail. So required a fair amount of climbing and maneuvering but I eventually made it to some amazing spots. Which immediately caused other tourists to follow my move – who would have thought.

At one point near tier 5 Garret and I found a small trail that was in plain site but immediately started climbing which is why I think no one followed it. We followed it and after about 20 minutes of bushwhacking and crossing a fallen bridge we discovered a bamboo forest. It was so majestic. Not a single person in sight just us and a clearing of towering bamboo clusters protruding from the ground straight as an arrow and as high as the eye could see. It was truly remarkable to see something like that. After a few minutes of gazing we headed back down the trail and back into the area we were supposed to be in.

Further down the cascades we found a 30 foot natural rockslide and had a party with it. Climbing  up to the top and then sliding down and rocketing into the water. It was amazing. After a while of that we kept down to one of the best cascades in my opinion. a 40 ft. waterfall into a huge pool at the bottom. I climbed up to the top of the falls after some off trail maneuvering. It was an amazing sight to see.

At the end of the day we headed back down and out of the park. We met out songthaew drive and he took us back to the bus depot Bangkok bound.

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