Thailand’s abundance of national treasures includes mystical temples, magnificent palaces, beaches and coral reefs, mouth-watering cuisine, kickboxing, and massage.
Among the natural wonders of this diverse and enchanting country, are some simply incredible waterfalls.
Each of these waterfalls in Thailand have their own unique charm, and it’s difficult to choose the best of them.
Nevertheless, here’s our pick of the most beautiful and breathtaking Thailand waterfalls…
- 1 The Best Waterfalls in Thailand
- 1.1 Erawan Waterfall
- 1.2 Thi Lor Su Waterfall
- 1.3 Mae Surin Waterfall
- 1.4 Koh Luang Waterfall
- 1.5 Khlong Chak Waterfall
- 1.6 Mae Ya Waterfall
- 1.7 Haew Suwat Waterfall
- 1.8 Khlong Lan Waterfall
- 1.9 Pha Dok Siew Waterfall
- 1.10 Pha Charoen Waterfall
- 1.11 Namtok Ton Nga Chang
- 1.12 Haew Narok Waterfall
- 1.13 Man Daeng Waterfall
The Best Waterfalls in Thailand
A number of distinctly different waterfalls make up Erawan falls in Kanchanaburi Province, approximately 3 hours drive west of Bangkok.
The first of these is a long, low cascade with a natural limestone dam at the bottom which has created a series of calm plunge pools where an abundance of fish thrive. A little further, the second falls are simply stunning. Wide and tall with an niche in the rock behind the falls, it is possible to pass behind the watery curtain. This atmospheric spot is popular for swimming, and can get quite busy at weekends.
A high cascade of around 25 metres plunging into turquoise waters is the third of Erawan’s waterfall sections. After this point the track through the jungle becomes less steep, and a sequence of smaller, less dramatic, but extremely pretty waterfalls rush and bubble down the hillside, winding past trees and creating more pools perfect for taking a dip along the way.
The final falls feature rock formations which resemble three elephant trunks as the water flows over them.
The trail for exploring the Erawan waterfalls is challenging in places, with many narrow and slippery sections and sheer drops. It’s also a fairly long hike (around 1.5 kilometres) if you want to see the falls in their entirety.
Here’s a cracking video tour of this beautiful waterfall:
Thi Lor Su Waterfall
In the heart of the stunning Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary — a UNESCO world heritage site — in Tak Province, central Thailand, Thi Lor Su is one of Thailand’s biggest waterfalls.
To access the falls it’s necessary to walk along a man made trail for about 40 minutes to reach the remote location. With three impressive tiers of tumbling water set amidst beautiful natural surroundings, it’s no surprise that Thi Lor Su draws hoards of locals and tourists who come here to admire the view and to swim in the cool pools beneath the falls.
Each tier has an estimated height of between 200 and 400 metres. The three tiers are made up of a mixture of thinner cascades well spaced along the wide rock face and powerful, dramatic flows falling from the greater heights.
Mae Surin Waterfall
Mae Hong Son
Namtok Mae Surin National Park is one of Thailand’s top national parks in the northern province of Mae Hong Son on the country’s northwestern border.
This is the most mountainous region of Thailand, and the scenery is breathtaking.
Mae Surin waterfall is perhaps the most remarkable feature of the park. This single tier cascade plunges elegantly from the top of a cliff down the mountainside to the rocks 100 metres below.
It’s magnificent when viewed from a distance across the valley, but it’s also possible to get up close — although the steep trail is infrequently used, narrow, and pretty dicey when wet, so may pose a challenge.
For nature lovers and bird watchers, it’s worth noting that there is also a hornbill reserve in the park, which could add an extra point of interest to your trip to see Mae Surin waterfall.
Koh Luang Waterfall
The marvelous Koh Luang waterfall boasts 7 glittering tiers of cascades to climb and explore, and people love to swim in the large colourful pools on the lower levels.
Situated in Mae Ping National Park — a fertile forest rich in animal and plant life in northern Thailand — Koh Luang falls can easily be reached by car, and it’s roughly a three and a half hour drive from Chiang Mai.
There are also interesting stalactite and stalagmite formations to be found inside the nearby limestone caves.
Khlong Chak Waterfall
Hopping over to the tranquil island of Koh Lanta in Krabi Province on Thailand’s Andaman coast, you’ll find Khlong Chak waterfall hidden amongst the island’s lush rainforest. Koh Lanta is the largest island forming part of Mu Ko Lanta National Park, and there are also some fascinating cave networks here.
To get to the waterfall it’s necessary to hike along a picturesque trail which meanders past quaint houses and farms before entering the dense foliage of the jungle.
After about 20 – 30 minutes’ walk the crystal clear waters of Khlong Chak reveal themselves. It’s not a large waterfall, but the setting and the trek through the rainforest to get there make it truly special.
This waterfall does completely dry up in the dry season, so it’s best to visit in the wetter months.
Mae Ya Waterfall
Only an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, a visit to Mae Ya waterfall in the Doi Inthanon National Park makes a great day trip from the city.
These striking falls are around 260 meters tall and 100 meters wide, and flow powerfully yet gracefully down a staggered, multilayered rock face in a fan shape.
These are some of the prettiest cascades in Thailand, and the sheer size is also impressive. The surrounding forest is beautiful too. Photo opportunities here are numerous, and you can even take a dip in the sparkling waters a little further downstream.
To get here take a tuk tuk from Chiang Mai or drive. There is a car park only 600 metres walk from the waterfall itself.
Haew Suwat Waterfall
Having featured in the legendary film ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Haew Suwat waterfall is practically a star itself.
At around 20 metres high, this show stopping cascade may not be big, but it is certainly magical.
It’s a location popular with both tourists and locals who come here to cool off in the large, deep pool and relax on one of the many big smooth boulders encircling it (it’s worth remembering though, that whilst the falls may be enticing, the waters can be dangerous and swimming is ill advised). There’s also a large viewing platform where you can admire the falls from an elevated position.
Haew Suwat waterfall can be found in the glorious Khao Yai National Park in central Thailand, which covers over 2,000 square kilometres of jungle and grassland. The falls are located a pleasant 100 metre stroll away from a large car park.
Khlong Lan Waterfall
The water that feeds Khlong Lan waterfall begins its flow from the five mountain creeks in the Khlong Lan National Park which fuse to create a formidable flow which then drops a mighty 100 metres over the limestone cliffs where it pools and is split halfway down by a jutting stone outcrop to produce a dramatic set of cascades.
The resulting set of pools below are ideal for swimming in the refreshing waters.
Khlong Lan National Park is located in Kamphaeng Phet Province in the west of lower north Thailand and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage listing of Sukhothai.
Khlong Lan waterfall is situated an easy 800 metre walk along a trail from the national park office.
Pha Dok Siew Waterfall
Pha Dok Siew Waterfall is another of the hidden treasures of Doi Inthanon National Park in northern Thailand — home to Thailand’s highest peak.
Pha Dok Siew falls are situated about halfway up the mountain hidden deep in the forest and are only accessible on foot.
Fortunately the location is enchanting and the trek through the jungle to get to the waterfall is an extremely enjoyable experience.
The rapid waters plummet and spread across the wide, rocky face of the mountain to produce some beautiful cascades.
Due to the more remote and relatively inaccessible location of Pha Dok Siew waterfall, most visitors join a tour group with guide to help them get there by the easiest and most interesting route possible, often visiting local hill tribe villages along the way.
Pha Charoen Waterfall
Spilling generously over multiple rocky plateaus which make up its 97 tiers, Pha Charoen waterfall has the appearance of a grand fairytale staircase magically formed in the limestone rock.
The waters gushes down from the Wai forest, and these falls benefit from a delightful leafy forest backdrop. If you fancy a hike there’s also a steep trail that follows alongside the stream where you can view the waterfall from different vantage points.
Pha Charoen Waterfall is about 40 minutes drive south of Mae Sot in north western Thailand, situated in its very own national park.
The site is well signposted and can be easily reached by road, followed by an undemanding short, level walk to the viewing area.
Namtok Ton Nga Chang
Also known as ‘Elephant Tusk Falls’ due to a split in the stream that resembles two elephant tusks, Namtok Ton Nga Chang waterfall is widely considered to be one of southern Thailand’s finest falls.
The waterfall has seven levels in total, with the third being where the stream separates to create the ‘tusks’.
Namtok Ton Nga Chang waterfall can be found in the Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary, around 20 minutes drive away from the city of Hat Yai in southern Thailand.
There are excellent hiking trails with scenic views nearby, and plenty of opportunity to spot some of the flora and fauna that share the sanctuary. You’ll need to hire a tuk tuk or take your own transport to get here.
Haew Narok Waterfall
Also in the south in the Khao Yai National Park, this magnificent waterfall drops a grand total of 150 metres through jungle cliffs.
These are some seriously wild waters, therefore visitors are kept at a safe distance along a one kilometre trail which gives stunning viewpoints along its length, including fording the river itself. These three tiered falls really crash down onto the rocks, creating a thunderous noise and forcing jets of spray high into the air.
Haew Narok falls are situated 22 kilometres south of the Khao Yai visitor centre. Either take a tour to experience them, or get there under your own steam. The foot trail starts straight from the allocated car park which is clearly signposted.
Man Daeng Waterfall
Last on our list, Man Daeng waterfall is tucked away in the Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park close to the border with Laos in northern Thailand.
This 300 square metre natural landscape became a communist battleground in the 1970s, owing to its remote, difficult to access position, and a stack of information about what took place here is on display at the park’s visitors centre.
Thankfully the area was declared a national park in 1984, and its rugged, mountainous landscape is home to Man Daeng falls, which is 22 kilometres south east from the visitors centre.
You’ll need an official park guide to accompany you if you want to glimpse these mysterious falls, as they are only accessible via a 3.5 km long, slightly treacherous trail through thick forest.
However, the rewards are worth it, as Man Daeng features 32 different levels of cascade surging and babbling their way over the moss covered rocks.
Combined with the luxuriant jungle setting, the overall effect is like something straight out of Indiana Jones.
Those are our picks for the best waterfalls in Thailand — which are your favourites?