Located in West Thailand in the Tenasserim Hills range of Kanchanaburi Province, Erawan National Park is home to one of the most popular falls in the country. Founded in 1975 as Thailand’s 12th National Park, it covers an area of 550 km².
The major attraction of the park is the 7-tiered Erawan Falls with emerald green ponds. There are also several impressive and long caves within the park, some of them deeper inside the park, few of them along the roads around the park. The park and the falls are named after the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. The top tier of the falls is said to resemble an elephant head.
Around 80% of the park is mixed deciduous forests and the rest on higher elevations deeper inside deciduous dipterocarp and dry evergreen forests. The park consists of limestone hills, plains and a number of streams. Elevations are around 165 to 996 meters asl.
The surrounding mountains protects the park from eastern monsoon resulting in less rainfall compared to the other forested areas further west. The rainy season is May to October with most rainfall around September to October and a bit into November. Rest of the year is quite dry, with a bit cooler weather around November to January.
Due to the limited number of trails, wildlife watching possibilities in Erawan National Park are very limited. Only relatively common species elsewhere in the country can be found in the park, not much of unique habitats.
Of the mammal species crab-eating macaques and wild boars are common in Erawan National Park. Deeper into the forest some more exciting animals like Assam macaques (rare in Thailand), barking deer, sambar deer, Asian elephants, gibbons and Indochinese serows can be found.
There are around 120 bird species recorded from Erawan National Park. Birds like crested serpent eagles, kalij pheasants, grey peacock-pheasants, lesser shortwings and great hornbills are all recorded from the park.
Of the reptile species the rare Kanburi pit vipers, Burma smooth skins (Scincella punctatolineata) and many other common species of the region can be found in the park. Big water monitor lizards, sometimes reaching a bit above 1.5 meter long can be found around the streams along the tiers. These lizards are harmless, never attacks, but you are not recommended to get more than a couple of meters near.
Getting to the park
The park is easily accessible by public buses from Kanchanaburi. Please see our "Get there & stay" section for various public and private transportation options from both Bangkok and Kanchanaburi.
Once in the park, the first tier of the falls is a few hundred meters from the visitor center, signposted well.
It is possible to rent bicycles at the visitor center area for 20 Baht/day, the bicycles can be used to access the first two lower tiers only.
A trip to Erawan Falls could be combined with visiting Bridge Over the River Kwai, Phra That Cave, Death Railway or Hellfire Pass.
Get around in the park
The park is generally quite busy every day and very busy during the week-end and public holidays. During the annual Songkran Festival 13-15th April the waterfall tiers turns into a celebration place with water fighting. It is not recommended to carry any non-waterproof electronic equipment like sensitive cameras or mobile phones during the festivities. People are recommended to avoid the falls during the longer holidays as there will be kilometer long queues and parking may be only possible along the road far from the entrance.
Bear in mind that food is strictly forbidden beyond the 2nd tier. Visitors must pay a 20 Baht fee per bottle of any drinks which can be refunded when the bottles are returned. This to ensure that the bottles are not left behind or thrown away in nature.
Visitors who are after a less busier, similar and even more impressive falls are recommended to get to Huai Mae Khamin Falls 43 km north/east of Erawan Falls in Sri Nakharin Dam National Park. In week-days very few people are seen around there.
Tours & private transportation
It is possible to book private or joined tours to visit the park. In either case the tour companies would pick up from the hotel lobby, get the visitors to the park and return to the hotel. Tours can be booked via various tour operators, agencies, sometimes even from the hotels. As most of the visitors are fine with only a couple of hours stay at the falls, most tour options include visiting one or more other attractions in the area like one of many caves, The Death Railway, Hellfire Pass, Prasat Muang Singh Historical Park.
Group tour options are only from Kanchanaburi City and can be booked from various hotel or agencies on arrival to the city.
It is possible to book some private tours from this website;
- Private full day taxi service from Bangkok (DIY, no guide, 3,600 Baht per car)
- Private Day Tour | Erawan Falls from Bangkok
Private tours from Kanchanaburi
- Private Day Tour | Erawan Falls, Hellfire Pass and other Historical Sites
- Private Day Tour | Erawan Falls, Cave & Historical Sites
Entrance fees & opening times
The entrance fee is 300 Baht for foreigners (children up to 14 years old pay 200 Baht, 4 years old or under free), 100 Baht for locals (children 50 Baht), 20 Baht for a motorbike and 30 Baht for a car.
Erawan National Park is open daily from 8 am until around 4:30 pm but will be closed from 1st August until 30th September every year. Although the official closure time is 4:30 pm, the rangers start cleaning the trails from the top tier around 3 pm and ask visitors to leave as they slowly move down, tier by tier. The lower tiers could be open until 5 pm, depending on how quick/slow the daily cleaning goes.
Stay & eat
As most people are fine with a few hours' visit to the falls, the general recommendation is to do a day trip from either Kanchanaburi or Bangkok. For people who wish to stay overnight in the park there there is a campsite and park accommodations for rent.
There is a big camping ground just a few hundred meters from the visitor center & parking area of the park. Tents can be rented from 150 Baht a day for 2 people and 250 a day for 3 people. Other accessories to be paid separately, sleeping bag for 25 Baht, pillow for 10 Baht and sleeping mat for 20 Baht.
The price for the park accommodations in Erawan National Park ranges from 800 up to 5,000 Baht, a 20% discount will apply when booked for Mon to Thu. The accommodations can be booked through the DNP website in advance. As the money transfer must be done within 2 days and the fact that it takes time with transfers from abroad, it is only possible to book from within Thailand only. Payments can be done at 7-Eleven convenience stores or banks.
There are many restaurants and cafes along the spacious car park of the park. Good to check the price before ordering as some restaurants charge too much for some basic food. Few kilometers north from the visitor center there is a market-a-like place where it is possible to order cheaper food.
You are recommended to ask a Thai speaking person to call on your behalf.
- 034 574 222 (Visitor Center)
The attractions of Erawan
Erawan Falls is located at the east side of the park in a convenient walking distance from the parking area next to the visitor center. The waterfall is named after the top tier which is said to be resembling a three-headed white elephant in Hindu mythology.
What makes Erawan Falls so popular is it’s picturesque emerald green clear waters. It is nowhere near being any of the biggest or widest falls in the country, but much more charming than most.
Erawan falls has 7 major tiers and a few smaller tiers. All tiers are accessible by a series of trails and footbridges all the way up to the 6th tier. Last tier is accessible by scrambling up to a few cliffs, for those who like a bit more challenge. Recently, a concrete path was built to make it safer to walk in wet conditions. The total distance from the trailhead up to the top tier is nearly 1.5 km. There are many emerald green ponds along the trails that the visitors are allowed to swim in. The ponds are full of fish.
The first two tiers are easily accessible for most people and there are few picnic spots around them where people can sit on benches if they like. Food is strictly forbidden beyond the second tier. The visitors have to leave their food and bottles at a checkpoint for a smaller deposit which can be collected on the way back.
Erawan Falls is so popular that it is visited by a high number of people every day and gets overcrowded during the week-ends and holidays. Ideal time to visit is as early as possible in the morning.
Phra That Cave
Located 12 km north west from the visitor center of the Erawan Falls, Phra That Cave is 544 meters long, the entrance is 15 meters wide and 8-10 meter high. The first chamber is impressively huge, around 40 meters tall and 90 x 50 meters wide. The cave consists of both stalactites and stalagmites, inhabited by bats further in.
The cave is accessible by an 800 meter long concrete path uphill from a ranger station. The habitat around the trail is bamboo mixed forests with a bit of scattered limestone karsts. The cave is sometimes closed when heavy rain falls, mainly because it can be very slippery on the concrete path and inside the cave.
While getting there, if following a car navigator system like Google Maps, you may be routed through a temple entrance which is wrong. Pass the temple entrance from the main road for a few hundred meters until you see a sign that says "Phra That Cave, 1 km".
Wang Bah Dan Cave
A 740 meter long cave, located 54 km from HQ in the southeast side of the national park. It is accessible from Chaiyapruek Village 2 km into the forest from Highway 323, around 1 km from Wang Bah Dan Ranger station. This cave has been officially closed for visitors since a few years back.
It is a limestone cave with a narrow opening and several chambers. The chambers consist of stalactite and stalagmite formations. There is a permanent waterstream running through the last chamber.
Khao Hin Lan Pee Nature Trail
Approximately 5 km and takes 2-3 hours to walk. It ends at the 5th tier of the falls. Permission needed from the park to walk this trail, possibly needs to be accompanied by a ranger for a fee.