Hi! My name’s Phoebe. Welcome to my guide on Erawan National Park in Thailand. I’m 21 and currently in my second year at the University of Kent studying International Business. I grew up in a small village just outside of Oxford and still live there now when I’m not down in Canterbury studying.
I’ve always loved to travel and have been lucky enough to go on some amazing trips with my family when I was younger. The one that stands out to me the most was when we visited the pyramids in Egypt when I was about 10. I was so awestruck by that whole trip and from then on I knew I wanted to travel all over the world and explore for myself in the future!
Gap Year Travelling in Thailand
I decided to visit Thailand in my gap year last summer. It was my first time going to Asia. I didn’t know much about any of the countries there beforehand and so I ended up just picking Thailand as some of my friends had visited the year before and loved it. I was in Thailand for 24 days.
I backpacked down the country starting in Bangkok and ending in Krabi. Along the way I also stopped off in Ayutthaya, Singburi, Kanchanaburi, Khao Sok National Park and the Phi Phi Islands. It was a pretty full itinerary!
Discovering Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park was never on my bucket list as I had never heard of it before visiting – but it should definitely be on yours! I heard about this place through my Thai tour guide who I visited the park with. So it was definitely a spontaneous visit. We spent about six hours at Erawan in total.
The park is located northwest of Bangkok (near the Myanmar border) and it opens at around 8am and shuts at 4.30pm. You can’t stay overnight but it’s definitely worth spending most of the day there to get the full experience.
It’s paradise – that’s the only way to describe it. I’ve never seen such clear blue water in my life! Erawan is just so beautiful. The national park is made up of seven layers of waterfalls that you can hike up to and swim in.
The hike to the top layer takes about an hour or two but you can stop off and have a dip in the falls along the way. The park itself is about three hours away from Bangkok – so you can visit from the capital on a day trip.
Erawan was my favourite place in Thailand and a must-see if you love nature and water like me but don’t want to wait until you head south to the beaches! Believe me – you will be totally impressed by this place.
My Favourite Part of Erawan National Park
I think my favourite part of Erawan National Park would be the second level of the waterfalls. It’s the first big waterfall you come across on the hike and honestly it looks like something straight out of a film! I was awestruck the first time I saw it and will always remember that special moment. It’s really humbling to see how beautiful nature can be sometimes.
Best Things To Do at Erawan National Park
I would say making it up to waterfall number seven is the top thing to do at Erawan National Park. It was so satisfying to make it all the way to the top of the waterfalls and completely worth the tiring and lengthy climb!
As well as that, I would recommend walking behind the waterfall at level two, sliding down the rock slides on level four and taking photos of the tree vines that grow into swing shapes around the edges of the waterfalls.
Lastly, make sure you leave enough time for some delicious Thai food! Either before or after you enter the national park, as who doesn’t love some cheap authentic Thai food?! Not to mention you will have worked up a huge appetite swimming and hiking all day. Complete all of these activities and you will have truly made the most of your day at Erawan National Park.
Basing yourself in Kanchanaburi
I stayed in a small hotel called Pong Phen Guesthouse in Kanchanaburi. They had a great pool and restaurant plus you could walk to the town in a few minutes. It was really backpacker friendly. I don’t know where else to stay apart from Kanchanaburi which is about an hour’s drive to Erawan.
Your best bet would be to stay there like I did and then travel over to Erawan, as it’s in a pretty remote location. There are so many other things to do in Kanchanaburi as well like beautiful temples, the famous Bridge Over the River Kwai and visiting one of the local elephant sanctuaries.
Memories of Erawan National Park
My favourite memory from Erawan National Park was visiting level four of the falls and sliding down the rocks! The pools of blue water and the natural rock slides carved out by the running water made it surreal. I honestly had the best time swimming around there and having fun with my friends. I would go back again in a heartbeat if I had the chance.
Reaching Erawan National Park
I reached Erawan by minibus on a group tour that I was a part of so I know that there are definitely many busloads of tourists that visit. The roads are good around the area and it would be easy to reach by car or taxi as well.
You definitely couldn’t walk there as it’s remote and you have to get deep into the forest. Just make sure you check the road directions in advance as the phone signal can be poor as you get closer to Erawan National Park.
Need to Know Before you Go
My top three tips for Erawan National Park would be, first of all, to take a waterproof camera or phone holder. There isn’t really a place to leave your things when you swim and you don’t want to miss out on those awesome shots. Be sure to have something you can take in the water with you.
Secondly, carry a small amount of cash and a lock for your bag – as again, there is nowhere to leave your gear and you also have to pay a small fee to take a water bottle up into the park (you will definitely need one).
Finally, get there early! Erawan can get busy with both tourists and locals from lunchtime onwards. My best advice is to get up early so you can be there when the park opens at 8am. That way you can make the most of the empty pools and snap your scenic Insta shots before the crowds come in!