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Nam Tok Phlio National Park

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Look southeast from Chanthaburi town and you’ll likely spot the mountains of Nam Tok Phlio National Park, where the namesake waterfall joins a memorial to a 19th-century Thai queen to attract busloads of Thai visitors.





The road leading to the main gate usually bustles with crowds browsing the souvenir shops and food stalls. Look left after passing the ticket booth and you’ll immediately see the stream where visitors join the soro brook carp in clear pools of mountain water. On the way down we spotted an iguana honing in on a green tree viper (we think) as people passed a couple of metres away.

Swim with the fishies. Photo taken in or around Nam Tok Phlio National Park, Chanthaburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

Swim with the fishies. Photo: David Luekens

Visitors can head up to a viewing platform or down some steps to hit a pool at the foot of the falls. Either way you’re denied an unobstructed view because the water plummets down a rocky slope partially blocked by branches. The falls flows year round, roaring down and billowing mist into the air late in the rainy season. Though it’s certainly more than a glorified stream, we think Nam Tok Phlio is mediocre as waterfalls in Thailand go.

On a hill near the falls, two memorials to Queen Sunandha were built by order of her husband, King Rama V. They combine to tell a story of love and tragedy that make it easier—especially for the Thais—to humanise these towering figures of Thai history. They also help to explain why Nam Tok Phlio is one of the most widely visited waterfalls in Thailand.

Pretty if obscured. Photo taken in or around Nam Tok Phlio National Park, Chanthaburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

Pretty if obscured. Photo: David Luekens

Made of laterite and now covered in thick moss, the 1876-built Alongkorn Chedi marks a spot where the king courted the queen-to-be two years earlier. In 1881, Rama V put his heartbreak on display by adding a pyramid after Sunandha drowned when her royal barge sunk in the Chao Phraya River. The pyramid contains ashes of the queen and visitors should be as respectful at both sites as they would be in a royal cemetery.

A nature trail begins near the falls and runs uphill through the jungle for 1.2 kilometres before dropping hikers near the chedi. It joins the waterfall, the memorials, a visitor centre and a few bungalows in a compact area, which is the only part of the national park that most ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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How to get there
Nam Tok Phlio and park headquarters are located two kilometres off the eastbound lanes of Sukhumvit Road (Route 3), 14 kilometres southeast of Chanthaburi town. A songthaew driver quoted us 500 baht for a private round trip from in front of Thetsaban Market; we’d expect the price to be higher if booking it through a hotel. Public songthaews also pass nearby but are difficult to find due to the many drivers pushing foreign travellers into private trips.

Nam Tok Phlio National Park
Off Sukhumvit Rd, 14 km from Chanthaburi
Mo–Su: 06:00–17:00
T: (039) 434 528 
http://nps.dnp.go.th/parksdetail.php?id=10&name=NamtokPhlioNationalPark
Admission: For foreigners: 200 baht for adults, 100 baht for children

Location map for Nam Tok Phlio National Park

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