Monday, October 18, 2010

A lot of Calamus

Heading south from Mae Sot towards Thailand's wild west capital of Umphang, there are a few opportunities to visit some waterfalls. One of which is the often visited Pha Charoen waterfall located in the national park of the same name.
However as one also has to return via the same road there's another opportunity to visit a waterfall in the same national park without everybody being stressed out about yet again a waterfall.

Pa Wai (or Ba Wai) waterfall is well signposted off the Umphang - Mae Sot highway no. 1090 though the distance from the highway is not the announced 9 km rather double. Access is south of Phop Phra district around km 40.

Apparently the name of the waterfall is derived from the plant of the same name (Calamus Caesius, rattan, see also below).

There aren't many facilities other than a toilet and a shelter, though there are a couple of makeshift bridges.

In reality the stream falls over a great many steps amounting to a fall of around 40m.
As the steps are small and wide there are many trees in-between giving the area something special, though there is no big pond at the bottom of the falls, there are a number of steps to splash around in.

On the other side there is a deep sink hole (see photo above) where a part of the stream falls in, only to reemerge at the foot of the cliff. there is also a cave for those visitors fortunate enough to have a torch on them all the time. And a large tree at the bottom of the cliff.

The official Thai Department of National Parks website there is this about the waterfall:
'Bawai [Pa Wai] waterfall is a 100-step limestone waterfall, originating from Huai Wai with the flowing water throughout the year. The Waterfall is situated in virgin forest consisting of medium-sized/large plants. The Waterfall is called “Bawai Waterfall” because there are a lot of Calamus Caesius within the area'.

'To admire this waterfall, one must walk from its ground floor to the upper level. Then, go further for around 30 m, visitors will see a channel of about 10 m wide where flowing water falls and disappears under the mountain base. The waterfall originates from Pa Wai Creek where water flows all year round and many rattan plants grow. It is therefore named ‘Pa Wai’, which means a rattan forest'.

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