A Guide to the Seven Main Waterfalls on Koh Chang
There are quite a few waterfalls on Koh Chang. Klong Plu, on the west coast, is by far the most popular and the one most visited by tourists.
There are three reasons for this. Firstly, it’s easily accessible. Secondly, it’s a big waterfall with large pools for swimming. Thirdly, it has water in it almost all year round ( although towards the end of the dry season the main pool at the foot of the falls does get shallower and murkier. ) So it’s got what most people look for in a waterfall.
The best time of year to visit the waterfalls is from October to late December when they all will have water in them. These photos were all taken in late November. Once the dry season takes hold the smaller falls will usually pretty much dry up from February on-wards.
When the rainy season begins in May, the falls will come back to life. But you’ll need to take care visiting the smaller falls at this time of year as rivers can often be in flood and it will be very slippery underfoot.
However there are six other waterfalls which are worth your time. Some are better if you want to save money and avoid the 200 Baht National Park entrance fee, others if you want a bit of an adventure.
The seven waterfalls are:
Located about 1Km inland from Klong Prao beach on the west coast of the island.
At the end of the inland valley behind Kai Bae beach on the west coast.
In the inland valley in Klong Son, in the northwest of Koh Chang
Behind Dan Mai village on the east coast
Midway down the east coast
In the Salakphet area in the southeast of the island
Also in the Salakphet area in the southeast of the island
There are others but these are nameless, deep in the jungle and only occasionally visited by trekking guides – so I won’t bother with them.
Koh Chang Waterfall Map
Klong Plu is the most visited waterfall on the island. And justifiably so. It’s a great place to cool off and pretty easy to reach from any of the west coast beaches. It’s managed by the National Park so you have to pay an entrance fee to go in. Then you have a 15 – 20 minute walk to the waterfall itself. This is along a well maintained 600 metre trail, complete with concrete steps and guide ropes in certain places. Once at the falls, you’ll see Park Rangers on hand in case anyone drowns.
There’s a large plunge pool at the foot of the falls where you can swim and smaller pools a little further downstream. In addition, there are easily accessible rocks and cliffs where you can jump into the pool below.
You’ll see plenty of fish and there’s also a turtle that often gets spotted in the smaller pools. At the entrance to the falls there are a couple of shops and restaurants where you can grab lunch or a snack.
A few years ago a nature trail was added. This took people on a loop from the waterfall, up the steep hillside and then back around to the entrance. It’s now roped off, so can’t be taken by visitors. This was also the way you could walk to get to the top of the waterfall. ( A few photos from the top )
During High Season I always advise our guests to go when it opens, at 08:30am. That way they avoid any tour groups and crowds who often arrive mid morning. It can get very busy.
Entry Fee: 200 Baht for Adults / 100 Baht for Kids. Pay at the ticket office at the entrance
Than Mayom Waterfall
This is the other waterfall where visitors have to pay the National Park entrance fee. It is located on the east coast of the island and so you will need your own transport to go there. As such, it isn’t as busy as Than Mayom. But it is popular with tour groups, mainly because two Thai Kings – Rama V and Rama VI, visited the falls in the past and carved their names onto the rocks. The falls themselves are good for a swim but, unless you’re an ardent Thai royalist, aren’t really worth a visit given the entrance fee.
If you want to go here then try to do it on the same day you visit Klong Plu. Keep your entrance ticket to Klong Plu and you won’t have to pay again at Than Mayom – as you have already paid for entrance into the park on that day. If you go on different days, you pay twice.
There’s a wide path and ugly concrete walkway from the entrance to a spot 50 metres from the falls. You then have to cross the river a couple of times, which will involve getting your feet wet, and you’ll be at the pools where you can swim. Above the lower pool, the kings’ carvings can be just be seen, hidden behind a roped off section of cliff face.
It is technically possible to get to higher falls, following a path that used to lead across the island, but in reality this isn’t worth doing without a guide. ( The upper falls are more spectacular but I’ve only visited them once, when taking a trek across the island a few years ago. )
Entry Fee: 200 Baht for Adults / 100 Baht for Kids. Pay at the ticket office at the entrance
Kai Bae Waterfall
Now we’re getting a bit more adventurous. This waterfall does exist – despite it not being marked on any print map of the island. And you’ll get a real sense of being in the jungle, away from civilisation when you are there. Following the inland track from the 7-eleven at the south end of the beach will, after 15 minutes walk along a dirt track, bring you to a few small bungalows which are available for long-term rent. on the way you’ll see a couple of signs for the waterfall.
If the owner of the bungalows is there, pay 20 Baht admission fee to them. Then follow the path behind the bungalows and within 50 metres you’re in the jungle.
You aren’t going to get lost as although the path is very narrow – 30cm maximum, there are blue water pipes running alongside it. These lead to the waterfall. It’s only around 15 minutes walk to the falls. But the path is slippery and you need to take care in certain places. Don’t grab hold of the water pipes, they’ll break and the citizens of Kai Bae won’t be happy if you disrupt their water supply.
The path seems to end about 50 metres before you reach the falls. At this point you wont see the waterfall, it;s around a corner. You have to cross the riverbed – which is pretty dry – and then rejoin the path on the opposite side. Once at the waterfall you’ll find a large, deep pool where you can swim. Be aware that snakes are often spotted here. Including the King Cobra which would kill you if it bit you. Some of the best snake photos I’ve seen from Koh Chang were taken here. These are of a King Cobra battling and eating a young python. Take a look
So, ideally you want to pick up a piece of wood and tap it on rocks as you are walking along. The vibrations will alert any snakes and they’ll stay hidden from view. They don’t like people, but you don’t want to surprise them.
The trail continues for another couple of hundred metres and climbs up and around the waterfall before leading you down to a spot about 10 metres from the top of the falls. It’s easy to follow but the rocks at the top of the falls are slippery. If you want more of an adventure you can keep walking inland along this river. I wrote about a self guided trek you can do from the view point in Kai Bae, over the hill and along the river bed to this waterfall. I haven’t tried it for a couple of years. But might still be possible. :-)
Entry Fee: Pay 20 Baht to the owner of the land at the start of the trail.
Klong Jao Leuam Waterfall
The last of the west coast waterfalls in this guide. Also just known as ‘Klong Son waterfall ‘ which is far easier to say. Ideally, you need your own transport for this, as although it is possible to walk from the main road, the waterfall is around 4 Km inland. Getting there is easy, just take the inland road adjacent to the 7-eleven in Klong Son village. Keep going, past Baan Kwan Chang elephant camp, until the road ends.
You’ll see a couple of signs for the waterfall and when you’re nearing the river you’ll see a large, faded orange concrete sign. Cross the ford over the river – the water is shallow – it’s no problem on a scooter. Then you’ll see signs in English for the waterfall and a parking area at the bungalows which can be rented longterm. You pay the owner 40 Baht and then follow the signposted path upa gradual hill towards the jungle.
This isn’t a spectacular waterfall. There are a lot of levels but most are small. The first part of the trail to the waterfall is easy to follow, along the left hand side of the river. It’s a narrow path, with a couple of sections that require clambering up rocks, using a guide rope. A small dam has been built at Level 2, so you can swim there but Level 4 is the best place to stop. It has the largest pool and is where most people will stop their adventure. At this point, the path continues on the right hand side of the river. Again you’ll be following water pipes which have been laid to bring water to farms and homes in the valley.
It’s pretty hard to follow as very few people use it and so it disappears totally in places. After about 15 minutes I gave up and just started walking up the river bed. Some climbing around and over rocks is required at a couple of small falls. But there aren’t any amazing sights.
It’s just you and the jungle and no-one else. Which is nice, so long as you don’t slip, twist your ankle and expect someone to rescue you . . . . there’s no-one to call, as there isn’t a mobile phone signal here.
The furthest I’ve walked up the river bed is about an hour from the start and, according to GPS, ended up at a point not too far from another river that leads down to the east coast. So there’s an adventure for someone to try.
There’s a small restaurant at the bungalows where you can grab a drink or snack before heading home.
Entry Fee: Pay 40 Baht to the owner of the bungalows where you park.
Klong Nonsi Waterfall
In the past Klong Nonsi was another waterfall where you had to pay a few Baht to park outside someone’s house and then follow a footpath inland through fruit fields to the river. That all changed in 2015 when a concrete road was built which takes you to the river about 50 metres from the first level of the waterfall.
Dan Mai is the main village on the east of Koh Chang. You’ll need your own transport to get there as the white, pick up truck taxis don’t head down the east coast. You’ll know you’re near Dan Mai as you’ll pass the large hospital on the right hand side, this is where people without medical insurance end up after scooter accidents. Make sure your insurance does cover expensive treatment in a private hospital with pampering from friendly nurses.
A few hundred metres further you pass the police station, on the left and then come to the large government office complex with a football pitch by the roadside. Look for the blue sign – in English – to Klong Nonsi Waterfall. Follow this road inland around the back of the offices and you’ll end up parking by the river.
As soon as you step down to the river, you’ll see the first level of the waterfall. Head up the concrete steps on the left hand side of the river and you will reach the second level where’s there’s a larger pool, formed by a small concrete dam.
And that is where most people stop. But the path continues, rising steeply, and there are guide ropes to help you. There’s also a short, tricky section where you walk along sloping rock face with nothing much to hold on to and a few metre drop. You’ll soon reach the next level, whee you can look down on the people below you at the Level 2 pool.
The final level is reached by walking by the riverbed, keeping to the left and scrambling up some rocks. Nothing too difficult. Then you see another small, man made dam and finally the falls at the 4th level. There isn’t any obvious way to continue further from here.
I like Klong Nonsi, as it’s free; easy to get to; suitable for anyone to visit; never very busy; good for a swim; and also for a slightly tougher hike to the upper levels.
Entry Fee: Free.
Suitable for: Anyone. Young kids can get up the the second level and will be fine walking in flip flops. Getting to the upper two levels is harder. You’ll need to be reasonably fit and have suitable footwear for the short, tough section immediately after the second level.
Klong Neung Waterfall
Klong Neung is the tallest waterfall on the island. But the least visited of those listed here. It looks promising at first, a tarmac road through coconut groves and rubber plantations leads all the way to the small parking area. From there two narrow paths are visible. So far, so good. Follow the left hand path. This doesn’t go far, it just loops around and drops down, through the undergrowth, to the river bed where you’ll see nothing except a small concrete dam to your left. That’s the end of the footpath.
From now on you’re walking up the river. This is harder than it sounds. There are a lot of obstacles in the way. Mainly fallen trees and huge boulders. Some you’ll be able to climb up. Others you’ll have to go around, wading through water in the process. It’s slow. It requires some trial and error. There isn’t one correct route. It’s not a long distance, but it will probably take about 20 minutes from the small dam.
You know you are getting close to the waterfall when you see a huge boulder and discover that the only way around is to the left of it where you’ll have to get a bit wet and also avoid some large spider webs.
Once you reach the waterfall there is a small, narrow pool where you can swim.
This is the waterfall to go if you want to be 99% sure of not seeing anyone else there even during Peak Season. It’s a good workout and you’ll be dripping sweat by the time to get to the waterfall. Keep your phone or camera in a waterproof bag. Just in case you slip.
Entry Fee: Free.
Kiripetch ( Khiri Phet ) Waterfall
It’s one of those places where there’s a couple of different ways to spell it in English and no-one can agree which to use. You say ‘Kiripetch’, I say ‘Khiri Phet’. They’re both equally correct or equally wrong, again no-one knows for sure.
This is another easy to get to waterfall that anyone can go to. No problem for kids to visit and it’s only 10 walk minutes from the parking area. The tarmac road ends at a small parking area. From here there are two paths. Neither are signposted. Take the one of the left. ( The one on the right is the old path, that I used when I first went to this waterfall. It’s now blocked off. )
The left hand path soon crosses the river and you enter a filed of tall grass. You have to follow a very narrow path through the grass, which runs parallel to the river. Soon this becomes a much wider path through a rubber plantation. It’s flat all the way to the river. An easy walk.
You’ll join the river at some rocks and a large pool where you can swim. The main waterfall is to the right. walk up the sloping rocks, which aren’t slippery, and you’ll get to the higher pool where you can also swim and a third pool at the foot of the waterfall.
This is quite a popular spot as it’s marked on maps and also easily accessible. So is on the itinerary of most people doing a trip down to the south east of the island. I definitely recommend stopping off there if you want to take a swim and have a pleasant short walk. Not as spectacular at Klong Plu, but 200 Baht cheaper and without the tour groups.
( If you want to try to get higher up then you’ll need to look for the trail on the right hand side of the waterfall. It’s now very overgrown and there were trees and branches blocking it when I had a look. But it is possible to get higher up. ( If you take a trek to Khao Laem with a guide called Thomas, he’ll take you to the upper levels, by a different route on the way down from the mountain. )
Entry Fee: Free.
Suitable for: Anyone. It’s an easy walk with very little chance of you getting lost. And a good place for kids to splash around in the river.