Buddha: " Whenever you see things, just see. Whenever you listen, just listen. Whenever you know, just know."
Pala-U Falls, Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand
Pala-U waterfalls are situated in the Kaeng Krachan National Park of Thailand, about 60km west of Hua Hin
- National Park Hua Hin.
We visited the Pala-U Falls in February 2008 and found, depending on who you speak to or what season you visit, the Pala-U falls are a series of cascades numbering between 11 and 16 small waterfalls.
The falls can be visited at any time of the year and we were told they are at their best during and just after the rainy season, between July and November each year.
The Pala-U cascades are one of the longest and highest in total in Thailand and quite close to the Thai - Myanmar (Burma) border.
The journey to the Pala-U falls is probably more interesting than the falls but there is no doubting that the Kaeng Krachan National Park is a beautiful place to visit. Getting there you pass through some interesting, and some would say 'stunning' countryside and foothills to the mountains. The journey from Hua Hin takes about an hour and a half, without stopping.
We are told from those who make it to the top levels of the Pala-U cascades that you are rewarded by superb views over the Thailand hinterland as well as towards Burma. The Kaeng Krachan National Park forest is over 1,000 years old and there is a very good chance of seeing gibbons (which you will certainly hear, if not see), other monkeys and bird-life, There are also plenty of beautiful butterflies around, particularly by the 'salt' licks.
We would say that progressing further than the third level cascade will be arduous and should only be attempted by those without any medical problems of any kind, as the terrain is punishing to put it mildly! Be careful on slippery wet stones and although the path to the third level is well trodden and is relatively easy to negotiate nowhere should be considered as safe in our opinion.
One of our party went to the fourth level where there is the first 'proper waterfall' at about 4mtrs but the journey there is fairly hard going.
The third stage itself has a large pool and many visitors will enjoy and be happy to spend some time there. The water is always cool and refreshing. The pools below the falls are teeming with a kind of river carp that have grown to about 40cm, these fish are always hungry for fish pellets but fishing is forbidden under park rules.
We found that, like in many other Thai Government run 'enterprises', the National Park entrance fees are heavily 'loaded' against foreign visitors! Thai Nationals can enter the park for a few Baht but 'Farangs' have to pay 200THB each (unless you have a Thai Driving Licence) and 50THB for a vehicle!
Many tour operators in Hua Hin offer the 'Day Trip to Pala-U Falls' Entrance fees, English speaking guide, minibus transport, lunch, soft drinks and accident insurance for around 1600 THB per person but we found that for a little more you could hire a driver and car. Three people can make the trip for not much more!
We made the trip as part of a full day's sightseeing trip in and around Hua Hin with a privately hired 'taxi' tour with "Jack's Tour", where we visited Marukhataiyawan Palace - The old Royal Summer Palace for King Rama VI, Khao Hin Lek Fai - Hua Hin Overlook, Luang Phor Tuad Statue - Big Buddha Monument at the Huay Mongkol Temple, Pala-U Falls - Kaeng Krachan National Park and The Monkey Temple at Khao TaKiab, just south of Hua Hin. The day started at 0900 and ended about 1730. We bought lunch out at a cafe style restaurant Jack knows close to Pala-U village.
Jack speaks fairly good English and his car is great. Get Jack to introduce you to 'Bamboo Sticky Rice", you'll love it!
Wear long trousers / long skirt and no 'strappy' tops or singlets for Royal Palace and Temples. Take with you the following: plenty of drinking water, sun hats, sunglasses, camera and binoculars. We also recommend that you take fish pellets and monkey food. For those of you who are prone to being bitten it is advisable to take insect repellent.