We’re all for a good bop and we can’t deny having a certain penchant for the 90s, but when TLC advised against chasing waterfalls in their 1994 smash hit, they sure must have been kidding. Or at least, they’ve never been to Thailand, where waterfalls make for some of the country’s most epic sights, revered by locals and travellers alike!
From quaint cascades hidden deep in the jungle to torrential rapids that can be heard from hundreds of metres away, there are more waterfalls in this part of the world than you could see on any one trip – though that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least check out one or two. Don’t want to be disappointed? Go with the flow of the below.
You could visit the turquoise waters of this cascade in the rainforest on a long day trip from Bangkok, but you’d have to leave very early in the morning. For a more relaxed experience, overnight in nearby Kanchanaburi and head over to Erawan when and as you please. Once at the falls, you can spend hours exploring the seven tiers (if you’re fit enough to climb, that is) or simply swim in the large pool at the bottom of the falls. Either way, you’ll save yourself a trip to one of those tanks filled with skin-eating fish in the airport or the hotel spa. Those come for free at Erawan!
Thi Lor Su Waterfall
This daunting sight near the Burmese border is something for true travel enthusiasts who don’t mind stepping off the beaten path for a truly mind-boggling, UNESCO-protected natural phenomenon. Located inside the remote Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, Thi Lor Su was put on the map as little as twenty years ago. Today, it not only ranks as Thailand’s largest cascade; but also among the top five biggest waterfalls in Asia! The falls are a truly roaring sight with a Jurassic Park feel sure to send shivers down anyone’s spine. A word of wisdom: don’t go swimming here during wet season, when waters come crashing down from 250 metres above!
Mae Ya Waterfall
Looking for something a little less intimidating? The pretty Mae Ya waterfall in the mountainous terrain outside Chiang Mai is quite the hot spot (despite not being a hot spring) with nature-loving locals of the north. Picture the place like a giant, flooded staircase. Rather than wild rapids, expect to see clear mountain water plashing and purling down countless little tiers, many of which home to shrubs and trees whose roots are deeply entrenched between the rounded boulders that make up the falls’ foundation. A sight of majestic natural beauty, this is our favourite spot for an escape from bustling Chiang Mai. Just take a book and relax…
This gorgeous waterfall in Namtok Phlio National Park isn’t as big as any of the above, but if you arrive early during the day, you might just have its turquoise waters all to yourself – well, apart from the plethora of exotic fish the basin at the falls’ lower end teems with. Hop under the stream for a jungle shower among rugged limestone formations and liana-covered trees before kicking back on the pool’s shore, where others arrive from around noon, fitted with picnic baskets and outdoor blankets. You could easily spend an entire day here, though don’t miss out on the rest of the national park – it’s just as stunning!