A great thing about venturing outside the capital of Thailand is that while the tropical climate still abounds, the freshness of the air increases as the smog and pollution decreases. The main attraction are the waterfalls outside of Kanchanaburi and are best visited during the rainy season from June to October or in November and December.
Overnight bus from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi
We arrived at the airport two hours early for a flight to Bangkok with Vietjet Air.com for £80 for both of us. It was delayed by an hour but thats what you tend to expect with these cheap airlines. Upon arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport we headed towards the Airport Rail link. We wanted to pay Kanchaniburi a visit. It turned out to be quite stressful as there wasn’t information about how to get to the bus station.
South Terminal Bus Station
We took a train from the airport to phetchaburi and then changed as Asok to Siam Cnam. From there we went to Bang Wa. We were really confused what to do next as we couldnt see the bus station. We got on some random bus that took us up the road and once realising it wasnt the bus we wanted to got off.We flagged down a taxi and he took us to South Terminal.He offered to take us to Kanchaniburi for 1,500 baht. We politely declined his offer being backpackers.
The overnight bus journey from Bangkok to Kanchaniburi takes 12 hours. There’s no reservation possible or necessary. I’m not sure about the timing – most people take the night bus leaving at 19:00 and 19:30 direct to Krabi and that’s the only one listed online. But if you go to Southern Bus Terminal aka Sai Tai Taling Chan, I’m sure there will be buses.
We finally got to the station but struggled to find where we had to get the tickets from as you had to find the specific terminal. We had been carrying our 14.5kg backpacks on our back constantly for hours and i finally couldnt do it any longer so i stayed with the bags.
There is a ticket office but unfortunately for us no one was there. It became quite stressful in the end so we decided to just go to the information help desk, they told us to go to platform 11 thankfully. You have to pay for your ticket outside where the buses are. Our bus was at 7pm.
By the time we found out what time our bus was at we had 15mins to spare to grab something to eat. It wasnt enough time so we opted for dunkin donuts and a large bottle of water to share.
It costs 110baht each for the bus journey from South terminal to Kanchanaburi. We were very glad we werent ripped off by the cab driver! The bus has aircon and they give you a free small cup of water
We arrived at around 7.50pm and were dropped off in the main town area. I worked out on my gps google maps that we were a 6min car drive away but a 30min walk away from Thai Guesthouse.
For anyone hoping to see Thai nature at its best and most exotic, a trip to the Erawan Waterfalls in Erawan National Park would most definitely be in order.
We decided to rent a motorcycle as you get to see some amazing views. To hire a scooter in Kanchanaburi it costs 200 baht for 24 hours. Our hotel ‘thai guesthouse’ recommended a scooter hire place to us which looked really dodgy as it was a massage parlour. Don’t get it through your hotel as they take 20baht commission for arranging it for you. Its best to have a look for one yourself.
- Never leave your passport at a renting agency or with anyone else. A lot of the agencies want you to but do not! It gives them a good opportunity to press money out of you when you return the bike as they know you need it to travel.
- You will need to pay in advance and leave your passport as a deposit. If you don’t want to leave your passport you can leave a deposit of around 5,000 baht. We have had no bad experience with companies failing to return passports so don’t worry too much about this, just make sure that you are hiring from a reputable place and take a business card with the company name address and phone number on.
- You can leave a copy of your passport or bring an old I.D-Card or any other official looking paper with your picture on that you can leave behind.
- Every motorcycle in Thailand SHOULD be sufficiently insuranced; but most commonly there is no insurance at all so they want you to pay for everything that comes up.
- Tell them to deliver the bike to your guest house so they know where you live.
- Under Thai Immigration law you are supposed to carry your passport with you ALL THE TIME.
Erawan National Park is about an hour’s drive from Kanchanaburi, a town to the west of Bangkok on the way to the Myanmar border.The falls are named after the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology which they are said to resemble and cascade down over 1,500m with seven different levels, making them one of the most beautiful falls Thailand has to offer.
More than half of the seven waterfalls have beautiful calm and azure pools to swim in so bring a bathing suit! There are also a few pleasant areas to rest for a picnic – but not after the second waterfall because the authorities won’t let you take your food past there. They’re worried about rubbish in the national park. “No food!” But I did have to pay a deposit to take a water bottle up (refundable on proof you’ve brought it back down with you).
In case you have no plans to visit Erawan National Park soon, or in case you don’t want to abandon your food, I thought I would share some photos of the trip up the track.
The walk to the falls from the car park is about 700m and just before level number one, you will see bamboo tables scattered around the place which is ideal for a picnic.
The fourth Erawan Waterfall was a rock water slide. This famous fall is called Oke Nank Phee Seah, and it was about 520m from the visitor center.
The trail can be steep, slippery and non-existent from place to place, so wear good walking shoes, jellies or sneakers.
The trail got increasingly a little rougher beyond the 5th waterfall as there started to be some sections requiring ladders while the trail narrowed even more. Some sections of the trail (becoming more like a scramble) required a fair bit of stream walking.
When you come across this fallen tree, just before level number 7, walk along it’s length to discover the hidden level. Many people walk right past this water fall.
End of Trail
Our visit to all seven of the Erawan Waterfalls took us about 3.5 hours. It very easily could’ve been longer if not for the fact that I was dying of dehydration due to not being allowed to take in a bottle of water.