Photo: Just gorgeous.

Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall

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He hiked through thick bamboo forest to majestic falls cascading into pools painted emerald by the calcite deposits. After a long swim with no one else around, he returned to a tent and gazed at a mountain lake before dozing off to the sound of falling water. We heard this story several years ago when a friend from Kanchanaburi first told us about the remote Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall. Thanks to a newly sealed road, it’s a lot easier to reach than it used to be.

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Getting to Huai Mae Khamin used to require navigating a dirt road for some 80 kilometres from Thong Pha Phum, or driving some 110 kilometres from Kanchanaburi town before catching a pair of slow car ferries. Only those with their own transport, considerable time and some Thai-language skills (or the cash to pay for a private car and driver) could make it here. Even today, most travellers never even hear about it.

So peaceful. Photo taken in or around Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall, Kanchanaburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

So peaceful. Photo: David Luekens

Most “settle” for Erawan Waterfall, which is spectacular but often extremely crowded. Our friend noted that Huai Mae Khamin is “just like Erawan if you could have Erawan all to yourself“. It sounded incredible, but for years, we never found the time. Then, in 2014, a sealed road opened along the west side of Sri Nakarin Reservoir, connecting Erawan directly to Huai Mae Khamin and making it possible to hit both of them on a weekend trip from Bangkok.

The main draw of Khuean Srinagarindra National Park, Huai Mae Khamin is a seven-tier waterfall flowing down some 1.8 kilometres of hillside blanketed in bamboo and banyan trees. Between the main tiers are countless smaller rock shelves, smoothed by the flow over untold time. Hot-tub-size travertine pools emerge here and there, with larger swimming holes found at many of the main tiers (though not as large as the ones at Erawan). On a Sunday visit, we encountered no more than two dozen other people at the lower four tiers. The next day, we had the upper three tiers all to ... Travelfish members only (Around 800 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall is 47 km north of Erawan Waterfall; 110 km north of Kanchanaburi town; and 250 km northwest of Bangkok. There is no public transport to the waterfall. It could be hit fairly easily as a day trip if you're staying at Erawan and have your own wheels, but it would be a long haul from Kanchanaburi town if coming by motorbike. If you're willing to pay for it, most travel agenices in Kanchanaburi town should be able to arrange a private day trip to Huai Mae Khamin.

If coming from Kanchanaburi town with your own wheels, take Highway 3199 north (the same way to Erawan Waterfall). When you reach Erawan, follow a series of blue signs in English, passing the Erawan National Park gates, which will take you along the west side of Sri Nakarin Reservoir on the way to Huai Mae Khamin. North of Erawan the road leads through only remote terrain, so be sure to bring along whatever you need.

The other, longer option—and formerly the only option—is to stay on Highway 3199 along the east side of the reservoir. Around 35 km north of the Erawan turnoff, you'll either need to catch a car ferry across an inlet or take a steep switchback road around it. Continue 15 km and a left turn will take you to a ferry pier (the only sign we noticed was posted in Thai only). The ferry no longer runs regularly, so you'll most likely need to pay 300 baht for the ride across; the driver can be contacted at T: (092) 603 5171;(086) 162 2964; or (086) 166 0911. He does not speak English. It's a scenic hour-long ride across the lake. On the other side, take the first left (south) and you'll reach the park gates after seven km. When taking the ferry back across from the west side of the lake, we had to call the driver and then wait for 1.5 hours for the boat to arrive.

Just south of the ferry pier and north of Huai Mae Khamin on the west side of the lake, a dirt road winds west and arrives at Pha Tat waterfall after 72 kilometres, from where you can go a little further to Route 323 and Thong Pha Phum. We were told that this rugged road has no services of any kind; use it at your own risk.

Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall
Daily 06:00-16:30 (national park gates)
Admission: 300 baht (for national park entrance)

Location map for Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall

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