With no prior commitments for the day, it presented the ideal moment to hop on my bike and embark on an adventure to Huay To Waterfall, a natural gem my local friends had often raved about. This captivating waterfall is nestled within the boundaries of Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, spanning an impressive 50 square kilometers of unspoiled, verdant wilderness. Situated approximately 35 kilometers from Ao Nang, it stands as the sole national park in Krabi province that is entirely accessible on the mainland, sparing visitors the need for water transport to reach its pristine beauty.
Arriving in approximately 40 minutes, I secured my scooter in the parking area and proceeded to the ticket booth. As it is a national park, a modest admission fee is levied, contributing to the maintenance of this pristine environment. The incredibly friendly park staff, scattered throughout the parking lot, warmly welcomed me and inquired about my interests. They kindly furnished me with a park map and directed me towards the enchanting waterfalls, along with a viewpoint that led to an intriguing, seemingly untouched trail. Although the trail appeared to have been untouched by human footprints for some time, a sign indicated it was a mere 750 meters to the top. Encouraged by a smiling Thai guide’s assurance that I could loop back to the waterfall afterward, I eagerly set off on the trail.
The journey began on a well-defined path that gradually transformed into a narrow trail, eventually giving way to a rugged indentation in the thick undergrowth, discernible only if you cast your gaze slightly to one side. The park’s map proudly declared a significant portion of the area as ‘virgin forest,’ a term that I quickly translated to mean a genuine ‘jungle.’ As I ventured deeper, the trail became noticeably steeper and more uneven, the air growing warm and humid. While the distance promised on the sign remained at a mere 750 meters, traversing through the heart of the jungle somehow made it feel longer than a leisurely walk along a flat road.
I quickly learned my lesson. As time passed, I settled into a rhythm and gradually acclimated to the natural environment around me. Pausing to quench my thirst with a sip from my water bottle (a must-have companion, I realized), I marveled at the profound silence enveloping me, occasionally interrupted by the distant squawk of an elusive bird and the high-pitched chirping of a cricket hidden somewhere in the lofty canopy above. During my journey, I became acutely aware of the close proximity to nature here, devoid of any fenced-off areas or neatly marked pathways.
During my trek, I encountered remarkable sights—a legion of inch-long, colossal ants, a termite mound that stood as tall as me, colossal golden orb spiders gracefully lounging at the center of expansive webs, and an array of diverse lizards darting up trees and through the undergrowth as I approached. Then, a particularly raucous rustling ahead of me sent tremors through the underbrush, prompting me to consult the map once more to anticipate what other inhabitants might cross my path. The map, complete with an invaluable ‘Flora & Fauna’ section, informed me that the park is inhabited by tapirs, serows, wild boars, panthers, clouded leopards, and Asiatic black bears. Oddly, after reading about panthers and leopards, the mention of the Asiatic black bear seemed less startling. Thankfully, I didn’t encounter any of these formidable creatures; they must have sensed my approach long before I drew near, ensuring my safety throughout the journey.
Before I knew it, I reached the viewpoint at the summit, though I must admit it was somewhat less awe-inspiring than I had anticipated. It was essentially a modest gap in the trees, offering a panoramic vista that stretched for miles across the entirety of Krabi province. You won’t find yourself standing triumphantly atop a towering peak, gazing upon a sprawling, breathtaking panorama as I had initially imagined.
Nonetheless, I eagerly followed the sign pointing toward the waterfall, and within minutes, the thunderous sound of rushing water grew louder and closer. The idea of plunging into crisp, refreshing water to cool off after my sweaty trek motivated me to traverse the terrain with enthusiasm, albeit with a few slips and stumbles. The dense jungle eventually gave way, revealing a magnificent spectacle—a 70-meter cascading torrent of crystal-clear water. While it was a breathtaking sight to behold, it was regrettably not suitable for swimming due to its powerful current.
After effortlessly crossing the river, I decided to descend on the opposite side, following the water’s course. As time passed, I realized that the waterfall actually consisted of several tiers—11 in total—with some of them offering safer swimming opportunities. I stumbled upon a secluded section, swiftly stripped down to my swimwear, and dove in. It was a moment that made the entire journey absolutely worthwhile!
In stark contrast to the warm, salty embrace of the ocean, the water here was pristine, cool, and invigoratingly fresh. I indulged in playful splashing beneath the falls for a delightful ten minutes or so before basking in the sun, allowing it to soothe and dry my rejuvenated body.
As I continued my journey further along the trail, I gradually encountered other fellow explorers—my first human encounters since embarking on the trail from the base. Notably, they were all Thai, with myself as the lone foreigner. Energetic children filled the air with excited squeals, reveling in playful splashes and tumbles in the refreshing pools beneath the falls, while watchful parents observed their antics. Along the path, elderly women found respite on rocks, occasionally dipping their feet into the water, their faces adorned with welcoming smiles and friendly waves as I passed by.
Eventually, I reached the trail’s starting point once more, realizing that I had indeed completed a full loop around. It dawned on me that if I had solely sought the waterfalls, I could have taken an alternative route, bypassing the viewpoint. This insight might come in handy for those who prefer a less arduous trek!
While making my way back to the bike, I couldn’t help but spot several charming traditional-style bungalows available for rent. These would undoubtedly provide a delightful escape for anyone seeking an authentic getaway experience. If you’re in search of a genuinely immersive adventure and don’t shy away from putting in a bit of effort to attain it, then embarking on the trek to the waterfall is a heartily recommended endeavor.
For your visit here, it’s advisable to bring along water bottles, although there’s a convenient on-site restaurant if you find yourself in need. Additionally, consider donning sturdier footwear than flip-flops if you aim to navigate the trail comfortably. Given that certain sections of the loop can be moderately steep, opting for trainers or Teva-style walking sandals would be a wise choice. Furthermore, if you intend to take a dip in the waterfall pools, kindly bear in mind that this destination is popular among local Thai residents, many of whom follow the Islamic faith. Therefore, it’s considerate to exercise discretion, especially for women—opt for more modest swimwear unless you happen to have the pool to yourself.
Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm
Directions: Starting from Krabi town, proceed along Uttaradit Road, moving away from the town center. Continue past several traffic lights until you reach an intersection with Highway 4 at Talat Kao, where you will make a right turn. While on this route, stay vigilant on your left-hand side for a distinctive blue sign featuring a white waterfall illustration, denoting Huai Toh. Take a left onto the road indicated by this sign, and follow it to its conclusion—a 20-kilometer journey. At the road’s terminus, you will encounter a gate and a guardhouse, marking your arrival at the waterfall site.
Huay Sakae Waterfall
About 1.2km away from the park entrance along a path.
Klong Haeng Waterfall
Nestled within Tub Prik, Krabi, this majestic 500-meter high waterfall is a hidden gem within Khao Phanom Bencha National Park. While it may pose a slight challenge to locate, it’s well worth the effort. Situated approximately 10 kilometers from the Khao Phanom district office in Tub Prik, this captivating waterfall promises an unforgettable adventure.
Ton Han Waterfall
Also about 500m high and about 16km further from the Tub Prik district office.
Hin Phoeng Waterfall
A 3-level waterfall that drops a distance of 800 meters to the pool below. A walk of over 400 meters around the base of the hill is required to reach this waterfall.