Krabi Waterfall, Huai To Waterfall.
One of Thailand's most beautiful waterfalls can be found at the National Park Khao Phanom Benja (Bencha) in Krabi Province. What's fun about all Thai waterfalls is that they are all in mountainous National Parks so you get to experience both verdant tropical jungle with butterflies as big as your hand, and the rush of fresh mountain water, perfect for that dip to cool you down. I like to visit Thailand's waterfalls in the dry season to cool me down and in the wet season to see the raw power of nature.
|Those guys might not be able to stand there in wet season as the volume of water is so great!!|
|Having a soothing body massage from waterfall.|
and walking up the river bed towards the first pool....
|Light scrambling over the wet season river bed|
|Finding the path on the right hand side|
|Walking up towards the first pool and waterfall|
The afternoon at Huai To Waterfall
We were staying in the Seabass hotel in Krabi town so we got in our car and drove towards Krabi Airport, out of town. The Huai To Waterfall is fed by the huge 2,700m high Khao Phanom Benja (Bencha) mountain range that dominates this part of Krabi and to some extent out towards Phuket. In fact the mountain is so big it generates thermal clouds in March that float over Koh Phi Phi that make those brilliant lightening storms. The drive off the main north- south route 4 takes you over 20 km inland among some beautiful farmed scenery of rolling hills, the occasional limestone karst protrusion. Here we saw an elephant taking the evening bath in the local river.
Typical farm homes and country along route 1016
|Clean Elephant just outside the National park.|
National Park Khao Phanom Benja (Bencha)
We pulled into the National Park head quarters and negotiated a rate as we had arrived at 16.30 and normally they wanted 200THB for the tourist per day. The team at the gate were either curious or bored and let us in paying for 4 people when there were 5 of us. If you approach Thai people with curiosity and respect and are prepared to be fluid and flexible, there is often a way through, making sure both sides of the negotiation gets what they want.
The National Park Khao Phanom Benja (Bencha) is home to Sumatran serow, clouded leopard, black bear, mouse deer and tapir but we saw nothing of these mammals and were probably looking in the wrong place. For details on how to see these animals, approach the National Park wardens who are very helpful. I think the answer wont be an easy solution and you would need to hike for the day way up in the jungle with a guide.
|Gurney's Pitta, close to extinction.|
National Park Khao Phanom Benja (Bencha) is also home to the following species of monkeys: stump-tailed macaque, lar gibbon, and langur.
|200 foot canopy, great foot path|
After a small rise we came to the river crossing. We arrived in March after about 3 months of little or no rain so the river was very small though we could see the remains of 2 broken bridges, obviously swept away in the June and September Monsoons.
|River crossing with broken pieces from previous bridges|
Huai To Waterfall.
The Huai To Waterfall is a series of 6 cascades and 6 resulting pools. In the wet season June and September you have to look after yourself as the force of the water is dangerous and every year youngsters loose their lives jumping into water that is more powerful than them. In March the pools were a bit sad in volume but definately cool which was a great relief.
|Showing the pools at Huai To Waterfall in dry season.|
I have been to the 6th pool before but we hadnt got time enough to explore this time. Needless to say, it gets more remote, more jungle dominated and more adventurous. The paths can get over grown and slippery when wet so I would always advise people to wear trainers and definitely not flip flops. I would advise taking water and a sarong/towel or leg covering in case the mosquitoes / ants attack. It's beautiful nature but it might turn into a jungle!
|Showing Path between the pools... it gets worse the higher you climb|
Thai people visit Waterfalls on the weekends and holidays.
Visiting a waterfall for many Thai people is a pick-nick where you bring food and enjoy a meal in the beautiful surroundings. Most Thai people dont seem to need to explore so once you get up above the first couple of pools you have the place to yourself.
Some waterfalls in Thailand (like Lumpi Waterfall Khao Lak) have great soup huts and nic knack food stalls to augment what you bring. Often if you arrive on weekends or Bank Holidays and the first pool is busy, just climb up to the 2nd or 3rd pool and you are bound to be away from all the weekenders.
How to get to Krabi waterfall, Huai To Waterfall, National Park Khao Phanom Benja (Bencha).
Address: National Park Khao Phanom Benja (Bencha), Khlong Phon, Khlong Thom District, Krabi 81170, Thailand.
|The team enjoying the 3rd pool|
Thanks to images from: Ric, Sam, Tom & Cc + google Maps.
BTW: if this kind of trip only satisfies you for half a day (although I would stay the day!), I suggest you look into going to the Tiger Cave temple which is in the same area. They have a great view point which climbs over 1,200 steps and an amazing hidden valley where the monks live.