Erawan National Park, Feature

Erawan National Park, Thailand – all you need to know

Erawan National Park in Thailand is truly magical and we’re really glad we made the effort to venture there. It is also known as Erawan Falls due to the huge 7 tiers of waterfall cascading down the mountain, in which you can climb and swim to your heart’s content! You can also explore Phra That Cave, Ta Duang Cave, Mi Cave, Reua Cave, Wang Bah Dan Cave and the several nature trails located throughout the park.

Erawan Falls is situated 120 miles North-West of Bangkok, and is approximately a 4-hour journey one way, yet is pretty straight forward to get there.

If you’re planning a trip here, just for the day or overnight, here’s everything you’ll need to know before you go! If you have any more questions please leave us a comment below and we’ll tell you everything we know.


Jump to

Our unexpected camping trip
Erawan Falls in a nutshell
Best time to visit?
How do I get there?
Sleep over or day trip?
Bungalow or camp?
What should I wear? 
What should I take?
Entry & camping price list (2018)
Opening times & top tips


Our unexpected camping trip

We knew from the start we wanted to stay overnight in a bungalow, but was a little unclear online where to book the accommodation. One blog post said it’s easier to just book on arrival, and because we couldn’t find the booking site online, we took this advice and left it. We now know they don’t actually take online payments at all!

On our arrival we headed straight to the accommodation office in Headquarters, hoping to get there first and snatch up a bungalow as advised. Fully booked?! Oh dear.

We were then offered to camp, but we were really sceptical as we’d told our vaccination nurses back home that we wouldn’t be camping! Were we going to catch some sort of disease from a tent that we didn’t know about? Lol. How many bugs and dragons are going to be in the tents too?! More to the point, we really weren’t prepared for camping life in general, but were we going to miss this opportunity? Of course not.

All we can say is WOW. What an experience that was, and boy are we glad we stayed in a tent instead of a bungalow! You can read more about how magical the campsite was below.


In a nutshell

When arriving at the park you can expect several shops for snacks and drinks, as well as a lovely little, modern burger cafe with amazing air-con and WiFi (which will be a relief in the heat, trust me!).

The ticket and accommodation offices are located right by the car park too at HQ, you can’t miss them. Head there and get tickets checked or to check in to your accommodation if you have any, and after that you’re pretty much free to explore!

Bearing in mind you’re now in a jungle covered mountain, the hills and walks are pretty long and tiring, but there is a buggy service available. For 10 THB (24p) each way, you can jump on a buggy to the top of the hill, which is where you will find the first tier of the waterfall.

The first tier tends to be the busiest as this is where families and older people settle, so if you can power up to tier two or above then you’ll be glad! You can find toilets and seating decks on the first couple of tiers, but after that it only gets quieter and deeper into the jungle. After about tier 3, the path starts to run dry and you find yourself climbing old, jagged steps and bridges, and from about 4 and 5 you’ll be climbing huge rocks and boulders and trenching through water. For us this was perfect as we love a good adventure, you just have to be quite fit and well-prepared.


Best time to visit?

Bridge to the campsite

We have seen that the falls can get pretty muddy when it’s busy, which ruins the blue lagoon-like water, so avoid weekends, public holidays, school holidays and high season if possible. The earlier in the morning is also better, some buses run at 5am from Bangkok, and we highly recommend starting this early.

Reviews are saying during April, the top tiers tend to dry up, and that July is WAY too busy and is an awful experience. However, we visited mid-November and it was honestly perfect. Not busy at all, the water bright blue and clear, and the peak tier was far from dry! We didn’t time this trip intentionally, so must have just got super lucky with timing.

  • Rainy season is May to October
  • Winter season with cooler weather is November to January, average temperature of 30°C
  • Summer season is February to April

How do I get there?

Erawan bus, you can't miss it!

The most popular route is from Bangkok which is where we travelled from. Despite the 3-4-hour journey, it’s pretty straight forward.

We didn’t pre book anything as someone mentioned online that it’s not really necessary, and we totally agree. We got a Grab taxi from our hotel to Mochit New Van Terminal. When we arrived we got dropped at the main building which is the Mochit Van Terminal and the Mochit Bus Terminal, which isn’t where you need to be. You don’t actually want either of these as the Mochit NEW Bus Terminal is over the road! Easy mistake.

When you get there head straight to booking station D (the last little block on the right), where you can purchase your one-way bus ticket to Kanchanaburi Bus Station which is where you will eventually need to change over.

When you reach Kanchanaburi, you’ll most definitely be greeted by several bus drivers shouting Erawan Falls at you! They seem to have this psychic power sometimes.. trust them and follow them to their bus and ask to see the timetable. You then just pay at the kiosk/table in front of their bus and wait to depart, it’s as simple as that. This bus then takes you straight to the doors of Erawan Falls HQ.

When you leave the falls, there is a bus that runs every couple of hours and you just pay as you get on, so no need to worry too much about you return home! This bus will then take you back to Kanchanaburi and you reverse your journey.

If you want to pre-book for the way there, then 12go.asia has been reliable to far for us, so check the route out on there.


Sleep over or day trip?

Lovely, quiet dip on tier 4
Lovely, quiet dip on tier four

For us the day trip seemed a bit too long-winded with a 3-4 hour trip each way, we just didn’t fancy it. We also wouldn’t have enjoyed rushing the whole day which is why we knew for a fact we wanted to stay overnight. If time allows you, an overnight stay is an incredible experience and must be done.

However, plenty of people just do the day trip and absolutely love it! Buses run from Bangkok and change over at Kanchanaburi Bus Station, the town just south of the National Park. You just need to make sure you’re catching the earliest bus possible to make the most of your day (5am departure), and bearing in mind to falls start to close from the top tier at 15:00, completely closing at 16:30.

Another option is getting an apartment or hotel in Kanchanaburi for a night, and going to the falls for a day. We found out that this is what quite a lot of people do, and this way you get a lot more time as it’s only an hour drive.

Tours and tickets

If you really want to make the most of your experience, you can book tours through TripAdvisor which include bamboo rafting, elephant camps and the famous Death Railway in Kanchanaburi!


Bungalow or camp?

Camp

Small tent sleeps 1-2/Large sleeps 2-3 (2 comfortably)

To our pleasant suprise, the few tents were lined along a river bed, nestled at the foot of a huge mountain. It was honestly stunning, like something out of a movie – it was perfectly picturesque. We sat and listened to music whilst star-gazing through the net of the tent, surrounded by dog howls and crickets, yet it was so silent – maybe our minds were just silent? The next day, everyone around was getting ready for their hike at first light, as the glowing sun peered through the mountains and shone across the river. We felt rejuvenated and so grateful for the experience and were ready for our big adventure day!

You can choose between a large tent or a small tent, and there were also large tents on a raised deck, perfect for chilling and cooking – we presume these are a little more expensive. By the looks of things, the bungalows were actually situated further up the hill and seemed deeper in the jungle without the good views (but we can’t be sure), so we think we came out on top with that one, as the campsite is also the closest to the falls too.

We rented pillows, blankets and mats (like glorified yoga mats!) which were comfy enough for what it was, and nothing was too far from our tent either. The toilet and shower block was just a 2-minute walk, and there’s something fulfilling about brushing your teeth outside amongst the wildlife!

Be warned about the heat in the tents though – it’s very hot in the mountains, so if you stay in a tent, keep it ventilated (but zipped at all times!!) and keep stock of water. There is also the option to rent a camping stove if you fancy cooking up a little something, otherwise it’s a case of keeping snacks stocked up in the tent and then walking to the main entrance for meals.

(See more about the camping prices at the end of this post)

Bungalow

Sleep 2-8 people

More info and photos

When we arrived the bungalows were unfortunately sold out, so we didn’t actually get to see them in person. The company do not support online payments so it’s actually quite difficult pre-booking, so we suggest emailing in advance to ask the best option to secure a bungalow, or just crossing your fingers on the day.

All bungalows have bedding, bathroom, running water, electricity, furniture and a fan.

The bungalow campsite is situated near HQ, so the initial walk isn’t far. However, this does mean you’re a little further away from the falls and may be about a 15-20 minute walk to get to tier one.

Youth Hostel

During our trip we actually came across a youth hostel which we were totally unaware of, so this is definitely something you should look into if you’re on a budget, and want to be closest to the falls!

erawan map
The blue icon is the bungalow site, the grey one next to it is HQ/entrance, and you can see where the campsite and youth hostel are located right on the river!

What should I wear?

  •  Solid shoes you don’t mind getting wet or muddy. The third tier of waterfall and above you’ll be hiking up steep slopes, climbing rocks and walking through water. Solid sandals or wet shoes would be suitable, but we were glad we had our hiking shoes!
  •  Light, loose fitted casual clothing – it’s SO hot in the mountains
  •  Shorts, so you can paddle in the water at all times!
  •  Sunglasses and hat

What should I take?

Day trip

  • Sunglasses and hat
  •  Sun cream
  •  Handheld fan
  •  Mozzie spray
  •  Swimming costume (it is advised to cover up to show respect)
  •  Towel
  •  Tissues/toilet roll
  •  Change of clothes
  •  Spare/dry shoes (although any wet ones should dry off fairly quick)
  •  Camera
  •  GoPro and water dome if you have one, the under/in water photo opportunities are insane!
  •  Portable charger
  •  Waterproof phone case to take photos
  •  Wet bag
  •  Packed lunch/cereal bars (no food past tier 2, see top tips below)

Overnight

  • Charger, plug and adaptor
  •  Camping torch
  •  More mozzie spray!
  •  Tooth brush and tooth paste
  •  Tissues/toilet roll
  •  Shampoo and shower gel
  •  Second outfit and undies
  •  Light, long PJ’s
  •  Hairbrush/hair band
  •  Moisturiser (if you need it like me)
  •  Favourite book
  •  Portable speaker
  •  Snacks and water from the shop at HQ!

Price list (2018)

National park entrance fees

  • Adult: 300 THB  (£7/$9)
  • Child: 200 THB  (£5/$6)

Parking

  • Car: 30 THB  (£0.70/$0.91)
  • Motorbike: 20 THB  (£0.48/$0.61)

Camping

  • 2 person tent (fits 1 person comfortably): 120 THB  (£3/$4)
  • 3 person tent (fits 2 people comfortably): 300 THB  (£7/$9)
  • Blanket: 20 THB  (£0.48/$0.61)
  • Mat: 15 THB  (£0.36/$0.46)
  • Pillow: 5 THB  (£0.12/$0.15)
  • Charcoal brazier: 15 THB  (£0.36/$0.46)
  • Pan: 20 THB  (£0.48/$0.61)

Opening times and top tips

☆  Erawan National Park is open for visitors 8:00 to 16:30

☆  Must leave top tier by 15:00 (there will be a guard up there)

☆  No food or drink past tier 2 – you must leave 10 THB deposit to take a bottle of water with you, but PLEASE bring it back down!

☆  There are plugs in the building/shelter to the left of the shower block in the campsite!


If you have anymore questions or any updated info as of 2018, please comment below 🙂

We hope we’ve persuaded you enough to go, as we know you’re going to have a trip of a lifetime – this can’t be missed!

Kelly and Luke

10 Comments

  • Jo Gigs

    I’ve been on and off Thailand but never been to the parks and waterfalls. But this is a big help for my next trip! Well detailed and awesome photographs. Thank you so much you guys keep it up! 🙃🤙🏾
    .
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    Xoxo, Jo💫

  • Josephine Crawford

    Kelly and Luke, thanks for sharing this beautiful article with us. Erawan sounds and looks like a must see and spend some time. Is it possible to give the price in USD? Are the caves developed for tourism, or did they leave them in their natural state? I am not really a fan of caves, but, I am intrigued by their formation. They can be difficult to explore and so I prefer when they are somewhat developed with stairs and carts to take us around.

    I love and can appreciate the buggy service and the air conditioned unit with WiFi. Would you say that this place can be a nice place for all members of the family, or is it just for the young and the fit? I saw where you mentioned families being at the first tier, but what’s your opinion on this place as a family vacation spot?

    • Kelly

      Thanks for reading Josephine 🙂 that’s a great idea to add different currencies, I never thought and will do that now actually!

      We didn’t actually make it to the caves unfortunately as all of our time was consumed getting to the peak of the mountain/falls, but from the research we’ve done online the caves do seem to be mostly in their natural form but do have lit paths which is good.

      This is definitely a family vacation destination for the nature lovers! There were people of all ages and nationalities here which was lovely to see, and were lots of families, couples and groups of friends.

  • Renton

    The idea of 7 waterfalls sounds exciting and terrifying at the same time! This is a brilliant guide and I am glad I found it. I love the fact that you were thrown a curve ball in terms of unplanned camping, but that resulted in a great adventure of it’s own. Your list of gear that’s required is great. 

    I know when we go on holiday our brains also tend to go on holiday and forget some of the items that would be nice to have along for the adventure so this list definitely helps with that!

    • Kelly

      Yep and we’re so grateful for the adventure! Was our highlight so far 🙂 it was a little terrifying, but it’s just so relaxed and dreamy you quickly get used to it all.

      Glad we could help 🙂

  • rmjia

    Your adventures to Erawan National Park captivated me. In Thailand, I have only visited Chiang Mai. Erawan National Park  is another place I would love to explore. When you mention about the heat in the tent and to keep it ventilated, do you mean to keep the net open or better to have a portable fan? Thanks.

    • Kelly

      Hey! It should definitely be on everyone’s list, we’re so glad we found it last minute.

      In the tents you can keep the nets zipped up, but unzip the second layer to let the breeze in. We literally needed all 4 sides open at all times but there were sooo many mozzies (and we had lizards on our tent lol!), so still need to keep the main bit closed up. A portable fan would be a massive help too! We just embraced the sweat and didn’t let it ruin our mood 🙂

  • Angela

    So thankful to have read this just before heading to Bangkok. This sounds like the perfect adventure and we are so grateful that you’ve mapped it out so thoroughly! While camping would be amazing I think we’ll have to opt for the day excision. Sounds like the long day will be worth it. Excited to share how it goes.. thank you again!
    @squirrelmusttravel

    • Kelly

      Hey Angela!

      So glad we could be of help and it really is worth the visit. Was the highlight of our whole trip 🙂 we’d love to know how it goes and can’t wait for the photos, we’ve already got you on IG 🙂

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