22.01.2013 - 22.01.2013 33 °C
Today we got up later than we should have to get to the Erawan waterfalls and national park as we were repeatedly woken up by our inconsiderate neighbours next door coming in and out and talking in the early hours of the morning..... These raft room walls are seriously thin. One of our guide books said it was 30km to the falls and the other said it was 65km, just a small difference and one of the many issues we have had with our guidebooks being totally rubbish. We had our breakfast overlooking the river again and then went to the guy we rented our bicycles off yesterday to rent a motorcycle. You can get the bus 8170 to the falls but it costs 50 baht each, each way so it made more sense for us to rent a scooter as it was 200 baht and there would be no waiting for buses. The man said it was quite an easy drive and he gave us a map and we were on our way. The drive to the falls is quite simple, just one straight road for a round an hour and a half. The scenery from the road is lovely, the mountains look drier than the ones we have seen previously but you drive next to the river and can see lone raft houses on the water which is beautiful.
There is an elephant sanctuary nearby so as well as the usual warning signs for cows there are some warnings of elephants which made us laugh.
We got to the waterfalls at 1.30pm and for non Thai tourists it costs 200 baht each as well as 20 baht for the bike to enter the national park. The waterfalls have seven different levels and up to the top is a around a mile long climb. We decided to walk it all the way up and look at all the different levels and then swim in our favourite on the way back down. Level one and two are an easy flat walk on a paved path. The pools are crystal clear turquoise water with loads of fish and flowing waterfalls making deep pools for good swimming.
Level three and four start to climb and are equally gorgeous and level five has more than one waterfall. After the first waterfall labeled level 5 there around another three or four waterfalls further up that are also labeled level five all of which are different but have the same beautifully clear turquiose waters. After this it becomes very steep and the path is no longer recognisable. It is hard work but fairly straightforward to get to level six but to get to level seven involved some rock climbing and some walking through water and along trees. There is no clear path up to level seven and it is very steep.
We made it up to the top and were really tired and hot and couldn't wait to swim as the water looked so inviting. The first pool on level five looked like the most fun as there were two huge smooth rocks that people were sliding down into the deep pool at the bottom so we headed back down to that one.
We walked back down and went for a swim in the waterfalls at pool number five. It was quite busy but it was really fun. There were loads of fish so Chelsea was scared to get in but she went in and then freaked out when they started to nibble at our feet like the fish you get at those fish foot spas. Some were getting a little too much than we wanted them to have and the feeling of them nibbling us was horrible. We climbed up to the big smooth rock and Liam went first. Chelsea was scared and screamed while she was sliding down which Liam found hilarious as well as a few others in the pool. the water is really forceful when you land in the water but it is so refreshing and cool and a lovely way to spend a day. We walked back down in our swimwear and got changed in the toilets at level two which were disgustingly dirty.
The waterfalls really are beautiful and although they are extremely busy with tour buses and visitors we would definatey recommend them, it is worth the effort it takes to get there. There are so many different pools and waterfalls to chose from as in between the labeled levels there are smaller pools and waterfalls so if you want to escape the crowds you could have a pool all to yourself. The trail to the top is hard work but manageable but if you didn't feel up to it level five is gorgeous and not as hard to reach.
The way back was just as straightforward and went quite fast. We called at the big Tesco which is out of town while we had the bike and got some supplies we needed as finding affordable sun cream here is proving to be more difficult than we imagined. We find an Aeon bank inside so withdrew our maximum amount as Aeon banks dont charge the 150 baht that all other Thai banks charge you to withdraw from with a foreign bank card. By the time we got back it was quite late and we showered and went straight out again. Since we have spent quite a lot today we decided to go to the Home Food place we went to on our first night as it is so cheap. The man and lady were just as friendly and our meals were nice and all together cost 110 baht with beer included (£2.20) which you can't go wrong with. Chelsea had basil fried pork and rice and Liam had a chicken noodle dish. We gave the get drunk for 10 baht a miss but as we drive past on our scooter the friendly girl have us a wave. As a treat walking back to our raft house we both had a miniature mars bar from the seven eleven which we seriously enjoyed and savoured all the way home. Who knew a mars bar could taste so good.
Tomorrow is our last day in Kanchanaburi and we are planning on seeing hellfire pass which is 80km out of town so were not sure whether to get the bus or rent a bike again but we will keep you updated.