Kanchanaburi’s Erawan Waterfall – 7 Levels of Natural Beauty

By Mark Wiens 30 Comments
Erawan Waterfall - Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Erawan Waterfall – Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi is a province located in western Thailand, bordering Myanmar, and packed with lush forest and rivers.

A few years ago I spent some time in northern Kanchanburi province, and thoroughly enjoyed hanging out and exploring Sangkhlaburi, but I didn’t have a chance to stop by Erawan Waterall until recently.

The Erawan Waterfall is actually a protected national Park in Thailand so there’s an entrance fee of 200 THB for foreigners.

3rd level of Erawan Waterfall
3rd level of Erawan Waterfall

Erawan Waterfall, named after the three headed elephant, is famous for its seven layers of falls (though there are in reality many more shelves and layers than that).

The first layer is not all that much to look at, but just a stream with a few picnic tables. The beauty really begins at the 2nd waterfall where there’s a huge pool of water to go swimming in and enjoy the refreshing falls.

Go even further and things keep getting better and better and quieter (however, unless you go in the early morning, there’s always crowds of people at the falls).

The 3rd level of Erawan Waterfall also provides a great opportunity for a dip.

4th level of Erawan Waterfall
4th level of Erawan Waterfall

The trail is easily marked and although it becomes progressively less maintained and more rocky, it’s a pretty easy climb – no too strenuous – but a little exercise to get you ready to swim.

The teddy bear at Erawan Waterfall
The teddy bear at Erawan Waterfall

Hiking along the trail at Erawan Waterfall you’ll come across some interesting things in the trees, such as a number of shrines and trees wrapped in colorful cloth for the spirits, and this little head of a teddy bear that sits quietly on top of a big rock.

Erawan Waterfall level number 5
Erawan Waterfall level number 5

Erawan Waterfall level number five is a beautifully shaded area with many little miniature falls and a gorgeous environment. Though it can get crowded, if you are able to visit before the buses of tourists arrive, you’ll be able to enjoy its pure natural beauty.

The 6th level isn't overly impressive
The 6th level isn’t overly impressive

We kept hiking and hiking upwards and reached level number 6. Perhaps the water level was a little low the day I visited, but it wasn’t overly impressive, so I stayed just for a moment and continued up to the final 7th layer.

Beautiful turquoise water on the 7th level
Beautiful turquoise water on the 7th level

If you ever visit Erawan Waterfall, don’t stop at level number 6, keep going all the way to the 7th level, and you’ll be glad you did!

In my opinion, it was the best level, the aqua turquoise water backed by white rocks and a gentle waterfall made for perfect scenery. After climbing all the way to the top without taking a swim, I was hot and sweaty and jumped right in the water. It was very cool and refreshing!

But if you relax without moving in the water for too long, the fish will begin to attack your feet, nibbling on your toes and heels and eating your dead skin. That’s right, the water is full of those fish that give you a natural fish spa (I tried it first in Kuala Lumpur years ago).

Erawan Waterfall - A great outdoor day in Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Erawan Waterfall – A great outdoor day in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

The 7th layer of Erawan Waterfall is a perfect reward for climbing all the way to the top. From the first level it takes about 45 minutest to an hour to reach the 7th level.

Lunch at Erawan Waterfall
Lunch at Erawan Waterfall

There’s not much food available inside the park, but just outside in the parking lot, you’ll find a number of restaurant stalls where you can order different Thai dishes like som tam or pad kra pao.

Kanchanburi is a beautiful province in Thailand that offers many outdoor activities. Spending a few hours at the Erawan Waterfall is a great opportunity to get a little exercise and take a refreshing swim in each level of the falls!

30 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Nelson Mochilero

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark! I found you again looking information about Erawan waterfalls. : )

    Since we visited together this great place I wanted to share with you my new video about Erawan.

    http://mochileros.org/nelson/tailandia-erawan/

    Your post helped me with some info.

    cheers!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Nelson, great thank you for sharing your post and video!

  • Shalini Jhurry

    7 years ago

    Hi Mark.

    Kanchanaburi looks so calm and relaxed. Now I do want to go there and spent 3-4days over there.

    These pictures are superb.

    Regards
    Shalini

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Shalini, yes it’s a great place, you’ll enjoy it!

  • Kevin

    7 years ago

    Hey Mark,
    At the waterfalls in Kanchanaburi, do Thai women wear shirts when they swim? Where I live (700km north of BKK)Thai women don’t show much skin, even in the waterfalls. It’s a little more traditional the further you get from Thailand’s urban jungle, I suppose.

    I know you’re a huge fan of durian, so I’m shamelessly plugging my recent video about my experience with the ‘king of fruits.’ I’m with you on this one: durian is like buttery, rich pudding. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Kevin, yah I think most of the Thai women were wearing shirts, though to be honest, I didn’t even really see any Thai women swimming at all! Awesome to hear you’re a lover of durian as well, going to watch your video now!

    • kitti

      6 years ago

      Kevin, that’s true. Most thai girls and women alike tend to wear shirt when they swim (They are not comfortable enough to show their skin and ……………………………… belly, of course!).

  • Mark Wiens

    7 years ago

    Thanks a lot James!

  • stephen

    7 years ago

    Hi Mark, I visited these Falls a number of years ago with some colleagues from work. We stayed about 15 minutes away in some cabins on the banks of the large reservoir or lake that is around there.

    I don’t know the name of the place or its exact location but it was acres and acres of gardens with cabins set out and was an amazing place. My share of the petrol and accommodation expenses was $15. How cheap is that.

    I would love to go back.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Cool Stephan, that sounds wonderful, and yes that’s a great deal!

    • Kai

      1 year ago

      Hi can you share transportation option from erawan to any resort? Is there any public transportation or we should rent a car?

  • Maria

    7 years ago

    Gorgeous spot and what a meal! Now that’s what I call a good day 😀

  • Arti

    7 years ago

    Is this place on Earth? This is just so surreally beautiful! The whole place looks like its from some other world! Very very beautiful Mark 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thank you Arti! Nature is just so beautiful, isn’t it?!

  • Savi of Bruised Passports

    7 years ago

    Such stunning pictures- So far Plitvice falls in Croatia are my most favourite waterfalls, but might have to give Erawan a go 🙂

  • Franca

    7 years ago

    I’ve been to Thailand twice but I didn’t go to Kanchanaburi, it seems like I missed out! One more reason to go back to Thailand at some point. 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Franca, there are so many great places to visit in Thailand. I’m sure you didn’t miss out on anything, but there’s just always more to discover!!

  • Kyi

    7 years ago

    Hi Mark, Great post as always. What a beauty? A picture says a thousand words. I’m definitely going to put it into my travel destinations.

  • Lindsay

    7 years ago

    What synchronicity! I was in Kanchanaburi just last week, to check out a weird resort centered around fruit. Not only do they have an orchard, they actually built their hotel bungalows in the shape of fruits. Did you have time to stop by here? If not, definitely check it out next time. It’s near the hotsprings.

    http://www.yearofthedurian.com/2013/06/the-fruit-hotel-kanchanaburi-thailand.html

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Lindsay, you’re so awesome, that durian hotel is AMAZING! No I have never been there, but I would love to!

  • Dean

    7 years ago

    The 7th level looks very inviting for a swim! 🙂

  • Wil @ Where’s Wil

    7 years ago

    I visited Erawan a little over two months ago and had a great time. It’s really beautiful there.

    I really recommend going on your own with a motorbike for those adventurous enough, the ride was great and there were a lot of cool markets, fruit stands along the way.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Cool, great to hear you were there too Will!

  • Nicole @ Green Global Travel

    7 years ago

    Awesome photos. It seems to me that all waterfalls are associated with lots of stairs or hikes up hills. Very tiring stuff, but always worth it, particularly if it is a waterfall you can swim at 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Nicole, yup, lots of hiking, but the water makes it worth it!