Erawan National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers who are keen on exploring the beauty of Thailand. This stunning park is located in the province of Kanchanaburi, which is around three hours away from Bangkok by car. Spanning an area of approximately 550 square kilometers, the park is home to a wide range of flora and fauna, crystal-clear waterfalls, and breathtaking landscapes. In this article, we will take a closer look at the highlights of Erawan National Park and provide you with all the essential information you need to plan your trip.
A Brief History of Erawan National Park
The establishment of Erawan National Park dates back to 1975, when it was officially declared a protected area by the Royal Forest Department of Thailand. The park was named after the Erawan Waterfalls, which are a major attraction of the area. Since its inception, the park has been under the management of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
The Establishment of the Park
The main objective of establishing Erawan National Park was to conserve the natural resources of the area, including its wildlife, forests, and waterfalls. Prior to its establishment, the area was under threat due to illegal logging activities, poaching, and human encroachment. By designating the area as a national park, the government aimed to protect the park’s natural resources and promote eco-tourism.
Conservation Efforts and Achievements
Over the years, the conservation efforts of the park have been successful in preserving the biodiversity of the area. The park is home to several endangered species such as the barking deer, the serow, the gibbon, and the Asian elephant. The forest cover of the area has also increased, thanks to reforestation programs implemented by the park management. Currently, the park is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unique natural features and ecological importance.
Getting to Erawan National Park
Getting to Erawan National Park is relatively easy, and there are several transportation options available.
The most convenient way to reach the park is by car. From Bangkok, you can take the Asian Highway 323 and follow the signs for Kanchanaburi. Once you reach Kanchanaburi, continue on the highway until you reach the park entrance. Alternatively, you can also hire a taxi or take a bus from Kanchanaburi to the park. If you prefer traveling by train, there are regular services from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, and from there, you can take a local bus to the park.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Erawan National Park is between November and April, which is the dry season. During this time, the weather is cool and pleasant, and the waterfalls are at their most spectacular. However, be prepared for crowds during this period, as it is the peak tourist season. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you can visit the park during the rainy season (May to October), when the waterfalls are still impressive, and the area is quieter.
The Stunning Erawan Waterfalls
The Erawan Waterfalls are undoubtedly the highlight of the park, and a visit to Erawan National Park is incomplete without experiencing these stunning waterfalls.
The Seven Tiers of Erawan Waterfalls
The Erawan Waterfalls are made up of seven tiers, each with its unique charm. As you hike up the waterfalls, you will be treated to the sight of crystal-clear pools, cascading waterfalls, and lush greenery. The first tier is the largest and most impressive, and it is where most visitors start their hike. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, you can explore the upper tiers, which are less crowded and equally breathtaking.
Swimming and Relaxing at the Waterfalls
The Erawan Waterfalls are not just meant for sightseeing; they are also ideal for swimming and relaxing. The pools at the base of each tier are perfect for taking a dip and cooling off after a hike. The water is refreshingly cold, and the surroundings are serene, making it an excellent spot to unwind and enjoy nature. However, be careful while swimming, as some of the pools can be deep, and the currents can be strong.
Flora and Fauna of Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is home to an impressive array of plant and animal species. Exploring the flora and fauna of the park is an essential part of any visit.
Unique Plant Species
The park has several unique plant species that are not commonly found in other parts of Thailand. Some of the notable species include the giant bamboo, the redwood tree, and the devil’s fig. The forest cover of the area is also home to several medicinal plants, which are used for traditional Thai medicine.
The park’s forests are teeming with wildlife, and visitors may catch a glimpse of some of the fascinating species that call the park home. The Asian Elephant is one of the park’s star attractions, and sightings are relatively common. Other animals that can be seen include the leopard, the barking deer, the serow, and several bird species. However, be sure to keep a safe distance and not disturb the animals, as they are wild and may pose a danger if provoked.
Hiking Trails and Adventure Activities
Hiking is one of the most popular activities at Erawan National Park, and there are several scenic trails to choose from.
Popular Hiking Routes
The main hiking trail at Erawan National Park is the seven-tier waterfall hike. The hike is of moderate difficulty and takes around two to three hours to complete, depending on your pace. The trail is well-maintained, and there are several rest stops along the way to catch your breath and take in the scenery. Other hikes include the Kao Salop trail, which takes you through a dense forest to a scenic viewpoint, and the Pha Tad Waterfall hike, which is a challenging hike that culminates in a stunning waterfall.
Guided Tours and Camping Options
If you prefer a guided tour, there are several options available at the park entrance, including guided hikes and camping trips. If you choose to camp, you can enjoy the sounds of nature and wake up to the stunning views of the waterfalls. Camping is available at several designated areas in the park, and you must obtain permission from the park authorities before pitching your tent.
Erawan National Park is a natural wonder that offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of Thailand’s natural heritage. Whether you are a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or a traveler looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Erawan National Park is the perfect destination. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to explore one of Thailand’s most stunning national parks.