Klong Plu waterfall, as anyone who has done a little bit of research will know, is the main waterfall on the west coast of the island. But what all of the other travel sites, and your Lonely Planet or Rough guide or any of the reviews on Tripadvisor which rate it (at the time of writing) as the 8th best attraction on Koh Chang, fail to mention is that you can see the sea from the waterfall.
Of course the main reason for that is that when you are at the bottom of the falls, fighting over swimming space with a couple of bus loads of Russians, you are surrounded by cliffs and trees. But it is a different story when you are at the top of the falls. :-)
One downside to doing this is that you aren’t supposed to go up there, I’m sure there would be a well-signposted trail if you were. But, thanks to the new Nature Trail that the National Park have opened, it is very easy to do. (However, please don’t do it if you are an idiot as it is a long way down and you would be dead if you fell.)
I’ve posted a page of info on the waterfall in the past, Klong Plu Waterfall Dec 2009, and to be honest it hasn’t changed that much. It is still a pretty impressive waterfall and a good spot to swim, especially if you visit outside the drier High Season months from December – March. Ideally visit early morning before the tour groups get there as it is an increasingly popular attraction and can get packed during High Season, especially at weekends when more Thai groups visit.
Five changes recently are:
1) The path leading to the waterfall has been improved and additional guide ropes added to make it easier for anyone who has difficulty in walking a truly grueling 600 metres on an uneven surface to get to the falls.
2) The National Park bosses have taken their remit to preserve nature a bit too literally by putting a picked baby red muntjac deer in a glass jar on display in the Visitor Centre.
3) New ‘informational signs’, allow you to learn a little about the jungle as you walk. Some of which have been cut & paste from Wikipedia, others which have been written in English but obviously not checked by anyone who speaks English fluently.
4) There’s a new Nature Trail that provides an alternative, but much longer, way back from the falls to the entrance and is an extremely nice walk away from the crowds.Ideal for anyone who wants a ‘Lite’ version of a jungle trek for no additional cost. This trail has existed for a long time but in the past was always blocked off.
5) Anyone taking the Nature Trail can take an unofficial detour to the top of the falls along an obvious, but unmarked, path. From here you can see the sea. (More great views on Koh Chang here.)
The Waterfall. To start things off a few photos of the walk to the waterfall and the waterfall itself.
The Nature Trail. Not a well worn path, so use this if you want to avoid being stuck behind tour groups, doddery old folks & families with fat kids. I guess this walk is about 1.5Km with a very steep uphill section at the start of the walk and similarly steep downhill part at the end. Starting point is just before you reach the waterfall and the trail ends above the park offices, about 100 metres from the main entrance. So, whilst the normal walk to the waterfall is pretty straightforward, the Nature Trail will get you sweating. It’s a very easy to follow trail and, although I doubt you will see any serious wildlife, there are lots of mozzies and large spiders. Look out for their webs built across the trail – getting a face full isn’t advisable. Definitely recommended for getting a sense of being in a real jungle environment without the need for a full day jungle trek.
Top of the Waterfall. As you head uphill on the Nature Trail you will loop around to the right hand side of the waterfall. You won’t be able to see the waterfall, as you are in dense jungle, but will be able to hear it below you. After a couple of hundred metres uphill, you will see ropes on the right hand side of the trail and will also notice that the second tree you come to has an arrow carved into it. Duck under the rope here. Straight ahead you should be able to make out a pathway. It isn’t marked at all but it is quite clearly a route to somewhere. You only need follow this for about 100 metres. There are no really steep sections but it is a bit slippery in places. You will emerge by the river at the top of the waterfall. Look to the left, move under a few branches and you will emerge on the rocks with the views shown in the photos. Looking straight ahead you will even see the sea and can make out Koh Yuak in the far distance.