Erawan National Park
Just 100km from Kanchanaburi, Erawan National Park sits on 550 square kilometres of magnificent forest life. Founded as a national park in 1975, the grounds feature four majestic limestone caves, and the stunning, world-renowned Erawan fountain. Camping and hiking is just spectacular, with loads of open space adiverse flora and fauna: don’t miss the Bamboo Forest Observation Trail or the Million-Year Stone Observation Trail.
Erawan National Park is covered with deciduous trees, and also features orchids and bamboo plants. Four amazing limestone caves are located within the park. If your time is limited, Pra That Cave and Tham Wang Badan are remarkable. An enormous variety of animals inhabit the region peacefully, including flying squirrels, gibbons, pythons, Siamese hare, eagles, macaque, slow loris, and rhesus monkeys.
This seven tiered waterfall, flowing with emerald water, is an architectural wonder. Each tier holds a pool, and you can swim in almost all of them, so don’t forget your swimsuit. From the base to the very top is a hike lasting 2 kilometres. The further upwards you travel, the worse the conditions on the trail: it's almost non-existent during the last two tiers, so good, sturdy walking shoes are essential. The beautiful waterfall at the summit is the unmistakeable highlight: it represents Erawan, the three-headed elephant from Hindu mythology. During the rainy season from July until October, Erawan Fountain is particularly glorious, thanks to a significant increase in water volume.
Pra That Cave
If you have access to a vehicle, drive 10km north from the waterfall to visit Pra That Cave. An hour would suffice, as the cave spans to only 20 metres long. Some of the most breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites in the world can be seen here, spread throughout four large rooms. You may spot some bats, but they’re so high up, it’s unlikely they will bother you.
Tham Wang Badan
Nature enthusiasts shouldn’t miss Tham Wang Badan. The limestone cave is a massive 54 kilometres long, and certainly worth a half-day or a full-day trip. The stalactites and stalagmites are, quite simply, amazing. Many examples of benthic fauna can be found in the stream that runs along the base of the cave.
Erawan Park Observation Trails
Three major observation trails run through Erawan National Park. They are the Mong Lai Dry Evergreen Forest Observation Trail, the Million-Year Stone Observation Trail, and the the Bamboo Forest Observation Trail.
Skirting the side of the waterfall, the Mong Lai trail takes you on a stunning journey through the forest, lasting just under an hour. The Bamboo Forest Trail is slightly shorter, averaging 40 minutes to complete, and is well worth a walk. Hiking enthusiasts will love the Million-Year Stone Observation Trail. It’s long and strenuous, lasting approximately two hours, but along the way, you’ll see the most glorious parts of Erawan National Park. With the trail ending at the fourth tier of the waterfall, it’s just a short hike to the fountain at the top.
Erawan National Park is without a doubt one of the most worthwhile and beautiful natural attractions in Thailand’s west. If you don’t have time for anything else, experience Erawan Fountain for yourself. Ideally, stay in the region for a week and explore all of the four caves and each unique observation trail: the nature lover within will thank you for staying.