The Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi western Thailand was designated back in 1975 as Thailand's 12th national park and is one of the most scenic locations of this region. Set out over an area of 550 square kilometres and taking in the Tenasserim Hills, the park is located approximately 70 kilometres from the town of Kanchanaburi.
This popular national park has a number of spectacular natural features as a result of its steep mountain peaks and sheer limestone cliffs and provides guests with a perfect location to relax and forget about life's worries.
Erawan National Park has a number of unique sites which help to attract thousands of visitors annually. Several limestone caves can be found within the park which include: Wang Badan, Rua, Mi, and Phratat (which have stalagmite and stalactite formations and the spectacular seven-tiered Erawan Water Fall which is the major attraction, see image below).
As mentioned, it is the water fall that attracts the majority of visitors to the national park each year. Named after a three headed mythical white elephant from Hindu mythology the Erawan Falls cascade down over 1,500 metres of limestone cliffs and over seven different levels. As the water travels down the mountain it has over time, formed a series of inviting plunge pools which are great vantage points for swimmers and onlookers to enjoy.
On a hot and steamy summers day the cool emerald green coloured water attracts quite a few swimmers including Thai and foreign visitors alike, although many other visitors are happy just to stand around and watch or take pictures of the people enjoying the water.
There are a limited number of walking trails in the national park. However, the more popular trail (which is about two kilometres in length) takes visitors to the wonderful seven level Erawan Waterfall. Starting at the bottom and walking past each level to the top level (named Phu Phua Erawan) can take over three hours to complete.
While the track cuts and winds through the forest and even crosses quaint wooden pedestrian bridges along the way, it can get a little difficult (i.e. steep and slippery) depending upon your level of fitness. However, so long as you use caution and take your time you shouldn't have any problems.
One of the easy trails, takes you from the national park office to the Than Lot Cave which is well lit and and has steam coming through it. The Wang Badan Cave (see images below) is a two storey cave that contains beautiful stalagmite and stalactite formations and has a stream flowing through the cave. It is located further away near the Sai Yok Waterfall, but still within the national park.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Erawan National Park is also well known for its abundance of natural flora and
up to 80 % of the national park being vegetated with dense deciduous
forests including Pterocarpus Macrocarpus, Hopea Odorata along with
bamboo forests, it provides an ideal
habitat for numerous mammals, snakes (see image below) reptiles, birds, fish and insects.
Bird watching is quite popular here and the species include: the Black-naped monarch, the Blue whistling thrush, the Green-billed mailkoha, Grey Peacock-pheasant, Black-crested bulbul (see image below) and Crested serpent eagle.
Some of the larger species of fauna to be seen within Erawan National Park include: Wild Boar, Sambar Deer, tiger, Indian Elephants, the Indian Muntjac, Flying Squirrels, Gibbons, King Cobras, Pythons, lizards, Grey Peacock, Mainland Serow, and the Crested Serpent Eagle.
ACCOMMODATION AND FACILITIES
There are a number of bungalows located within the national park which can sleep upwards 50 people and cost between 800 and 4,000 Thai baht per night. Camping sites are also available for around 150 Thai baht per night and suitable equipment can be hired.
There are also a couple of shops/stalls and restaurants located near the entrance of the
car park so all you really need to bring with you is your camera and a towel if you are
planning to have a swim.
best way to travel to Kanchanaburi within western Thailand is by either bus or train. Buses depart daily from Bangkok's
Southern Bus Terminal located in Thonburi district (every 30 minutes) between
the hours of 5 AM and 10 PM with the journey taking approximately 3
hours. Buses also depart from Bangkok's Northern Mo Chit Bus Terminal but on a less frequent basis.
Trains depart Bangkok's Thonburi Train Station daily at 7.45 AM and 1.45 PM. The journey takes around 3 hours. Additionally, a number of tour companies in Bangkok also operate daily services by mini-van that take visitors to Kanchanaburi.
The best way to travel to the national park is by taking a bus from Kanchanaburi which run to the park entrance about every hour between 8 AM and 5.20 PM (although the last bus back to Kanchanaburi is at 4 PM sharp). Alternatively, you can take a day tour to Erawan National Park via a tour operator in Bangkok. These bus tours normally arrive at the park around 10.30 AM.
The Erawan National Park is open daily between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM. There is an entrance fee of 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for children.
Erawan National Park
P.O. Box 107, Amphoe
Si Sawat Kanchanaburi Thailand 71250
Tel: 034-516 530