Haew Narok Waterfall

Haew Narok Waterfall

Stupendous falls

More on Khao Yai National Park

Thundering over a 150-metre-high cliff draped in jungle, Haew Narok is by far Khao Yai’s largest waterfall. We even rank it among the most impressive in Thailand, at least during the rainy months, but it does take some effort and prior planning to reach.

Travelfish says:
There's a build up to seeing Haew Narok -- a kilometre-long walk. Photo by: David Luekens.
There's a build up to seeing Haew Narok -- a kilometre-long walk. Photo: David Luekens

Take it slow and keep your eyes peeled as you hike: along with broad reaching palms, huge centipedes, an array of multi-coloured mushrooms and butterflies, we spotted a thumb-size insect with a body that looked exactly like a freshly fallen green leaf.

With the sound of crashing water looming closer, we passed through an old “life-saving fence” with pillars topped by elephant sculptures and colourful ribbons. Thais stop here to ask the terrestrial spirits for safe passage. A few steps further we could see the chocolate-milk-coloured river foaming swiftly towards the precipice that tops Haew Narok’s upper tier.

It's not just about the big things in Khao Yai. Photo by: David Luekens.
It's not just about the big things in Khao Yai. Photo: David Luekens

The trail then comes to a steep network of stairways piercing down through leaning bamboo. Keep a hand on the rails, as a tumble here would not be pretty. Towards the bottom of the stairs, mist from the violently crashing falls billowed through the air.

We then arrived at a pair of observation platforms with views covering the entire second level of the falls, which dwarfs the other two tiers. From here you can glimpse part of the upper tier but the smaller third tier is just out of sight down below.

The falls. Photo by: David Luekens.
The falls. Photo: David Luekens

During a July visit the falls were so powerful that we couldn’t stand on either of the platforms for longer than a minute without getting soaked by the spray. On a May visit, the falls were more angelic than powerful and it was possible to hike down the hill towards the pool that stretches between the second and third tiers, which becomes a dangerous swirl of whitewater in the ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)

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Reviewed by

David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.

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