** 2018 UPDATE – I haven’t done this for a few years. Should still be possible and there’s now a path from the top of Kai Bae waterfall down to the pool, so no more lowering yourself on a rope required **
Kai Bae Waterfall Loop
Following on from the longer Klong Prao Loop, this walk takes you on a walking tour of the highlights of Kai Bae, which a cynic might say is the reason it’s a relatively short walk.
90% of it could be undertaken by anyone with the ability to put one foot in front of the other for a couple of hours. However, there is a tricky and unavoidable section in the middle of the walk which requires using upper body strength and having some confidence when navigating rocks adjacent to a 20 metre drop. So it isn’t for young kids or anyone who isn’t used to doing some physical activity.
The route on the map isn’t too accurate from points 9 to 16. The reason being I don’t have a good GPS and so have to guess the route. But this shouldn’t make any difference to you are there are no landmarks visible on Google Earth anyway and the route is pretty simple to follow.
As for equipment, a small backpack will useful as you’ll need somewhere to put water bottles & camera when you are on the tricky stretch. There will also be times when you need to get your feet wet or when it is far easier to walk through shallow water than to try to find away around. Therefore walking sandals would be a better choice than trainers. I wore flip-flops but there again I’m used to wearing them every day and walking long distances in them and you probably aren’t.
Because some clambering down steep rocks and also along river beds is required I wouldn’t advise doing the walk in the rainy season when the rivers are likely to be in flood and the paths slippery.
This is a half day walk. Do it in the morning after breakfast and you’ll get better photos from the hillside viewpoint as the sun will be behind you. (Also if you get lost then you have more chance of getting back to civilization during daylight hours.)
The starting point is at Kai Bae Beach Resort. From here you’ll head south along the sand before making your way up to the view point overlooking the six islands that lie off Kai Bae and Klong Prao beaches. From this official viewpoint, where you should stock up with a couple of bottles of water, you’ll then head ‘off road’ and head up the hillside further before making your way along the ridge of the hill. As the wide track ends a smaller one, used by local rubber farmers, meanders down into the valley.
The first sign of civilization you see is a simple shelter which is home to a rubber tapper. From here it’s just a short stroll to a small stream. This is where the fun starts. The trail heads into the rubber field on the opposite side, but you’re going to be heading down the riverbed. Following the path of the stream will eventually lead you to the top of Kai Bae waterfall. Peering over the edge you’ll see the pool below where you can take a swim in the cool, clear water.
The one problem facing you is that you have to get down to the pool, this is easier said than done as although there’s a route it isn’t obvious and it does involve lowering yourself down rocks using vines and an old rope.
From the pool another footpath will take you out of the jungle and you’ll emerge in Kai Bae valley. Then you’ve got a stroll through the fruit field to look forward to, stopping to see the wild pig farm, and then crossing over the river again and walking north along the path of the original road that led to Kai Bae. From here there are some more nice views. Then it’s time to cut through someone’s back garden and head back to the main road. The final stretch takes you off the road and to the shoreline at Coral Resort where you’ll get some great views north to Klong Prao beach followed by a stroll along the beachfront back to the starting point.
The Googlemap above shows the route and directions for each point with the main resorts also marked.
These photo galleries have annotated photos. The numbers correspond to those on the map at the top of the page:
Part 1 From the start along the beach.
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Part 2 From the viewpoint along the trail through the jungle and over the hill.
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Part 3 Along the riverbed to Kai Bae waterfall.
Part 4 Out of the valley to Kai Bae village and back to the beach.
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