Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kao Chon with an o

The area’s west and south of Suan Pheung, Ratchaburi province, Thailand are a relatively undiscovered area not even far from Bangkok. Due to the area being close to Burma much of the area was actually off-limits to outsiders. This has recently changed and since more and more tourists are arriving, mostly looking for ways to enjoy the natural surroundings. Especially the hot spring of Bo Klueng is becoming a must see place. Nearby are a number of smaller resorts such as the nice Scenery Resort and Nagaya, though more were being constructed when I visited there (April 2008).

Just a km upstream from aforementioned hot spring are the falls of Pha Daeng or alternatively named as Kao Chan / Kao Chon / Kao Krachon. They can be reached via the road and there is a big car park being testament to busier times. Otherwise one can take a half hour trail from the hot spring and get to the falls about 2 or 3 stages upwards of the car park.

From Wikitravel's Ratchaburi provincal guide::
'It is a medium-sized waterfall with a height of 7 layers. The water flows from the high cliff in the middle of the valley all year round. The quantity of water increases in the higher levels. Rocks in this area are granites. Previously, this waterfall was known only among Karens; later, foreign companies came and got concessions to operate the mine around 1941. After the concession contract was terminated, the district and local organizations were responsible for maintaining the area'.
It being the end of an exceedingly hot day and no one about, the pools were good enough for a great dip, but with the flow at it’s smallest much more than a dip is not possible.

From Ratchaburi city, take highway no. 3087, just north of Ratchaburi on motorway no. 4. The 3087 bypasses the town of Chombung and after a gradual climb you'll find yourself in the town of Suan Phueng.
Bo Klueng however is a well signposted left turn, 5 km further out of Suan Pheung still on the same highway, 3087. The hot springs are about 10 km from this intersection, on your left. The Pha Daeng / Kao Chan waterfalls are at the end of this road, 1 km beyond the hot springs.

Update: Revisited these falls in December 2009. Despite there being quite a few visitors, there are in all nine levels to enjoy. So if you escape the crowds you can well have a fall to yourself, the ninth level being nearly ninety minutes from level 1.

Having your own skinny dip spot at level nine Kao Chon.

Elsewhere the area upstream of Suan Phueng is rapidly becoming a tourist hot spot, many resorts and coffee shops. No foreign tourists as of yet. More on the local hot spring.

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