Koh Chang Waterfalls – Our Guide to Klong Plu and Others

koh-chang-waterfalls Not surprisingly, given its huge rainforest and mountainous terrain, Koh Chang has an abundance of waterfalls.

Klong Plu in Klong Prao and Than Mayom, after Dan Mai on the eastern side, fall into remit of the National Park, thereby costing 200bt to visit, 100bt for kids, with one ticket permitting entry to both if on the same day.

Klong Jao Leuam in Klong Son, Klong Nonsi in Dan Mai, Klong Neung and Klong Kheeri Phet in Salak Phet are all free. Klong Prao waterfall and Klong Koi rapids/falls are best tracked down with guides when out trekking.

Naturally, the ideal time to see them is during the rainy season or at its close end, but that in should in no way preclude a visit in the dry months of the main tourist season. If the falls may not be anywhere near as powerful at that time, the plunge pools will still be very inviting for a refreshing dip and the forest surrounds, at the smaller ones at least, will be beautifully peaceful and secluded.

Klong Plu Waterfall

Klong Prao
Per Person: 200bt/8.00am to 5.00pm

Klong Plu waterfall-Koh ChangThe principal waterfall on the island is Klong Plu, found down a winding forest road at the northern end of Klong Prao. After parking up – free inside the park rangers’ area, 10bt or 20bt to the locals outside of this – there is an obvious path that follows the river. This has both ropes and appropriate steps, so can be managed by all and it takes about 15 minutes to walk the 600 metres to the huge plunge pool and the falls themselves, with the water cascading down and the drop towering above.

The pool has small cliffs and rocks on its edges from where you can dive. The whole area does get busy with tour groups, Thai and Russian, so the best time to visit is in the morning before they arrive.

The park added a nature walk through the canopy a couple of years back, which is clearly signed along the main path and this is well worth taking as a diversion on your way back. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes, with steep climbs at the beginning and at the end, though there are those useful ropes and jungle steps to assist. You eventually emerge behind the park rangers’ office on the right hand side of the car park, so there is no reason you cannot start with the trail and leave the refreshing dip in the plunge pool to the end. The trail is periodically closed.

Than Mayom Waterfall

East Coast – a few kms after Dan Mai
Per Person: 200bt/8.00am to 5.00pm

Koh Chang waterfall-Than Mayom waterfall The park area of Than Mayom on the east coast road is located just a few kilometres after the island hospital and police station at Dan Mai. There are two entrances, the main one by the bridge and the older second one opposite the rangers’ accommodation.

New paths and bridges were constructed in early 2015, which give you easy access to the the lower tier, with a rope stretching across the river as an added bonus, useful in the rainy season when water levels are higher than you might expect. You will need to cross and clamber up the rocks to reach the plunge pool beneath the fall itself.

There are four levels in total, but you will not get further than here unless on a private trek. The 4th tier, by far the most dramatic, is some 5 kilometres inland. Kings Rama V and Rama VII engraved their initials in rocks at different points along the river’s course, so the falls have an added importance with Thais, making weekends in particular surprisingly busy.

Than Mayom is the point at which you emerge from the jungle if you do the west to east trek from Klong Plu waterfall, a hard hard day’s walking, contact us for more details.

Klong Jao Leuam Waterfall

Klong Son
Per Person: free

Koh Chang waterfall-Klong Jao Leuam waterfallIf coming from White Sands Beach and the west of the island down into Klong Son, a right turn at the central 7/11 crossroads will put you on the inland road to Klong Jao Leuam, one of the free waterfalls on the island. At the very end, past the Baan Kwan Chang Elephant Trekking camp and a good few kilometres in, an orange wall indicates that you have indeed arrived and you now proceed on foot across the ford to a collection of buildings.

This was a homestay and cafe but the jungle is now taking over, leaving just a nice house for rent in the far corner and a shop selling cold drinks. The drinks sold are obviously not enough as you may well also get charged at this point for walking across the land, 20bt to 40bt.

Various signs point the way for the falls themselves and after a short distance skirting around the trees, you reach the first of the waterfall’s 10 or more tiers. None of the drops are jaw-dropping but you are likely to be the only one there, so with a wonderful sense of isolation and just the sound of the water and birdsong, you can explore to your heart’s content.

By following old and new tracks, scrabbling up and down rocks, you will slowly climb upriver from tier to tier, each one being marked by a small sign and with the chance to take a dip as you fancy. It is, of course slippery, none more so than in the rainy season and care does need to be taken – there is no mobile phone signal.

Klong Nonsi Waterfall

Dan Mai
Per Person: free

Koh Chang waterfall-Klong Nonsi waterfallShortly after the hospital, a blue sign marks the turning to Klong Nonsi waterfall in Dan Mai, with the island’s police station a few meters further on. A coffee and internet shop sits on the other side of the road and a somtam restaurant is perched on the corner. The little track leads a couple of hundred metres inland to a house where you can park, with a tin provided for the 10bt fee. From here, it is a pleasant stroll through the orchards with the odd sign indicating you are still going the right way until, within about 15 minutes, you reach the riverbed.

Crossing to the other side and heading upstream brings you to the first level and a man-made set of steps allows you to continue onto the next tiers. As with Klong Jao Leuam, the waterfall is not overly dramatic but it is isolated and once again, you can explore further and further upstream, with plenty of chances to have a paddle. As with the other free falls, take water and a snack with you so that you can sit back, take a breather and enjoy the solitude.

There is a 2nd entrance near to the administrative buildings and sports field, again clearly marked.

Klong Neung Waterfall

Salak Phet area
Per Person: free

Koh Chang waterfall-Klong Neung waterfall Klong Neung waterfall is the tallest on the island, the least accessible and potentially the most dangerous to reach. It is worth weighing up the chances of an accident against the need for a visit, especially if you go in rainy season or after heavy storms when the river is in full and very powerful flow.

On the east coast, the road passes the turning to Salak Khok, Chek Bae and Long Beach before, after 4 kms or so, reaching two stores opposite each other, one marked with a sign for Chang Noi Kitchen and a small billboard for Salak Phet Marina. Here, the right turn and then almost immediately the next right, past the food centre and vegetable shop, puts you on the route to the waterfall. This road meanders through orchards and rubber trees until eventually coming to an abrupt halt, shortly after a little right bend. On the left, barely noticeable, a small gap in the foliage heads down a 5 metre incline to a man-made concrete weir.

This weir is the start of the falls and the trek to the actual drop is literally upstream, as the trails or paths along the riverbank have long since overgrown. First, you must cross to the other side by wading onto and over the concrete wall with the water rushing over it. This is a good indication as to whether the trip is for you or not, as it is does not get any easier around the next corner.

Having crossed, it will now take 30 minutes at least to the waterfall, working your way back and forth across the river, with its surprise deep pools and its lichen and moss covered rocks that simply cannot be clambered over. There will be an element of doubling back to find alternative routes and even using tree vines as ropes to pull yourself up and over more tricky sections.

If you have a camera, it will need to be safely packed or waterproof, as you will get very very wet. Finally, at the end, you are confronted by the biggest obstacle of all, a huge seemingly insurmountable boulder. In fact, this can be sidestepped to its left and indeed, under it, via a little cave like-ravine, which briefly takes you into darkness before you emerge back into daylight, to catch your first sight of the dramatic falls themselves, with their plunge pool beneath.

Kheeri Phet Waterfall

Salak Phet area
Per Person: free

Koh Chang waterfall-Kheeri Phet waterfallNam Tok (nam meaning water, tok meaning fall) Kheeri Phet is also found in the Salak Phet area but it much easy to reach than its near neighbour. By taking the right fork at the crossroads described above, but this time continuing straight on, rather than veering right to Klong Neung, you find yourself on the route to Salak Phet Marina and Salak Phet Seafood. After a kilometre or so, you’ll see an old rusting orange sign on one side of the right turning to the waterfall, with a small shop on the opposite corner.

This narrow road continues inland through the coconut trees and orchards to finally stop at an obviously abandoned parking area. Straight ahead is the trail towards the falls themselves, a good leisurely walk through the forest and some cleared areas until you reach the river and the first tier. There are more upper levels but the paths and trails have been taken over by the undergrowth and are nigh on impossible to locate. Unfortunately, you also cannot clamber upstream, as is the case at the other waterfalls.

If you do want attempt the climb to the higher tiers, the trick is to head uphill on the right bank away from the river and then cut back from time to time to get your bearings. It is by no means easy, with lots of scrambling and dropping yourself down feet first, but you will ultimately be rewarded with some fabulous untouched plunge pools and views.

As stated, the rainy season or November is the best time to visit, but it is also the most dangerous with everything very slippery and muddy underfoot. It is possible to find local guides for both this and Klong Neung, with Salak Khok Kayak Station or Salak Phet Seafood and the tourist booth nearby worth trying.

Kai Bae Waterfall

Kai Bae
Per Person: free

Koh Chang waterfall-Kai Bae waterfallA rarely visited waterfalls sits in the valley behind Kai Bae and it is an easy enough thirty minute walk or quick motorbike ride from the main street. A small track leads behind the 7-11 at the southern end of the village, with Sanook Sanang Resort and Kai Bae Meechai Elephant Trekking camp on left and right respectively, before it then twists and turns its way deeper into the interior.

There are signs along the way but if you follow your nose, you are unlikely to go wrong. The track ends at various bungalows and long term houses for rent and the path needed for the waterfalls passes in front of them, easy to spot and pick up, though now only on foot. After another 10 minutes along the river’s edge, the falls themselves hove into view. There is only the single tier, an impressive drop in itself and the cooling plunge pool but the solitude and peacefulness make the trek more than worthwhile.

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