Considered by many to be the most beautiful falls in Thailand, Erawan Waterfall is the star attraction of Erawan National Park. It’s a great day out – so popular, in fact, that you can get a commemorative photo of yourself at the falls printed on a plate – and combines well with a ride on the Death Railway.
The falls really are astonishingly lovely: the clear glacial-blue waters gush through the forest, dropping in a series of seven tiers along a route of around 2km. At each tier, cascades feed a pool shaded by bamboo, rattan and liana, and the whole course can be walked, along a riverside trail that gets increasingly tricky the further up you go. The distance between tiers, and the ascent to each, is clearly spelled out on signs in the park. It’s just 720m from the visitor centre to level one, and then fairly easy going on and up to the dramatically stepped fifth stage (1800m). The route on to the sixth and seventh levels is steep and slippery and features some dilapidated bridges and ladders: wear appropriate shoes and avoid doing the last bit alone, if you can; it’s about a ninety-minute hike from bottom to top. The best pools for swimming are level two (which gets the most crowded) and level seven, which is a hard slog but rarely busy, and also boasts stunning views over the jungle. The seventh tier is topped by a triple cascade and is the one that gave the falls their name: Erawan is the three-headed god of Hindu mythology.