Klong Neung Waterfall in Salak Phet is perhaps the least known of the Koh Chang waterfalls, hidden away at end of a tricky to find inland road in the back of nowhere.
Though by no means the largest waterfall on Koh Chang, Klong Neung claims the highest actual drop. If you manage to catch the falls in the rainy season or just after, when river and forest run-off are at their peak, you’ll witness a fabulously dramatic and noisy experience.
In the dry season, the waterfall remains well worth a visit. Despite the far less impressive water flow, you can still clamber up the rocks and boulders to the top, a fun adventure in itself.
Getting to Klong Nueng
To reach Klong Neung Waterfall, drive right down the east coast of the Koh Chang, some 25km. Eventually, you arrive at two single storey general stores facing each other with a pharmacy and noodle cart for company.
Turn right here and immediately take another right past the backs of the brightly coloured portacabins. Continue on to the end. Just after the abandoned toilet block, the road bends sharply to the right – follow it round till it stops.
To your left and just visible among the foliage, there’s a narrow path running for 10 metres or so to some rough natural steps. These in turn lead down to a concrete weir, the start of the waterfall ascent.
Climbing to the Top
Klong Plu Waterfall in Klong Prao costs tourists 200bt (100bt for kids) to visit. That fee enables the National Park to provide roped and stepped paths all the way from the car park to the falls.
Here, at the free Klong Neung, on the other hand, there are no useful tracks or ropes hugging the sides of the river to make your ascent that bit easier. In fact, the only route to the top is straight upstream via the waterfall itself.
There is no best route. You just scrabble over the boulders and through the water according to what seems the safest way. Tracking the same side as the water pipes makes sense, though try to avoid grabbing hold of them in case they break – someone downstream relies on that pipe for their house freshwater.
After about 15 minutes, you’ll meet a huge boulder. Provided it’s not blocked by old tree boughs, you can literally duck underneath it and emerge out the little hole at the top. If it’s blocked, then you’ll need to make one last tricky climb. Either way, once past it, you are now in front of the main drop of Klong Neung waterfall.
Attempting this ascent in the rainy season is hard as you will be frequently slipping in and out the water. You need to keep your wits about you so as not to be taken by the currents. Wrap your camera, wallet, phone etc. in a waterproof bag. Unbelieveably, high up here in the middle of the forest, you do get a decent phone signal.
The Viewpoint at Klong Neung
As drive away from Klong Neung, at the sharp bend mentioned above, another old paved track leads off to the right. If you have time, shoot up here and follow it back and forth along the gentle switchbacks lined with palm trees and hibiscus.
At the top, you arrive at was once, years back, a tourist viewing point. The view over Salak Phet remains superb but the building has completely disintegrated. Do take extra care if stepping out on the wooden planks of what is left.
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