Monday, May 9, 2011


Saraburi is to most who pass through this province, synonymous with traffic, cement factories and huge Bhuddha's; certainly not with nature.

But surprise, surprise, Saraburi province, despite it's size, contains no less than 2 national parks,
Namtok Chet Sao Noi and Phra Phutthachai (sometimes known as Khao Sam Lan). Furthermore there are quite a few waterfalls, some more well known than others. Muak Lek waterfall (tiny), Heo Noi, Sap Heo, Suan Maduea, Sap Pa Wan, Krok Fa Phanang and Khao Khaep.

Dried up
As Khao Sam Lan National Park is listed as having a signature waterfall (Sam Lan) as well as some others (Pho Hin Dat, Ton Rak Sai, Krok I-woe, Nang Chon, Phaeng Ma and Roi Kueak Ma) and it's just outside town towards Bangkok (take road 3042, followed by 3046), it was the destination of the late April day.

Fancy coming up to the entrance and being told that the waterfall was dry. They basically implied that the 200 THB (~$US 6) special entrance fee for foreigners was not worth the sights located further up the road.
Many locals continued but it was said that they were going for the food stalls and to relax, as they don't seem to have to pay an entrance fee.

Oh well better this way than the other way around. Expect much more water later on in the year.

[Update: The Bangkok Post (1 September 2011) places an article on the Sam Lan NP suggesting it is better to negotiate the park by cycle:
'Being the Kingdom’s smallest national park, Namtok Sam Lan NP of Sara Buri province covers an area of only 44.5 square kilometres. It is named after a waterfall that is known to be dry and lifeless most of the year, except on days that it rains real, real hard'.
Hmm ...

Next stop
I took a long and hard look at the map and decided that Chet Khot (Chetkhot, Jedkot?) waterfall would be do-able, not too far away. I double checked at the national park entrance and they said, yes, expect more water there. Fine.

So eventually back on route 2, in the plethora of traffic. Past cement factories heading to the giant Bhuddha. Ideally you want to turn off in Thap Kwang village, just before the highway starts to rise into the hills. But hey, this is an 8 lane highway, don't do the U-turn, just travel up beyond the next cement factory and there there is a fine overhead U-turn, safety wise better and loads more comfortable than sweating it out while waiting for a break in traffic.

Back in Thap Kwang head left and ask around. Eventually you'll end up on the right road which goes up into the hills for another 10 km or so. Winding itself around and over the hills it passes some smaller villages with small plantations. Signage is clear from here.

Surprisingly despite it's proximity to Bangkok there's little touristic development. Eventually the road ends at a car park, a couple of other cars and about 20 or so motorcycles, no entrance fee is required.

There are a couple of buildings around the car park, overlooking a series a small rapids.

On the other side of the stream, a track disappears into the forest. It's a 1,5 km track which traverses the stream about halfway. At the end is brilliant pool with about a 10m high waterfall.

Young lads (owners of the motorcycles) are jumping off the cliff and generally seeking some kind of attention. A beautiful spot, but even on a Tuesday too spoilt by my fellow humans.

I walk up the side of the cliff, our youngsters expecting me to jump as well, but no (thank you), I just continue up the stream. There's no path but wading through the stream and scrambling over the rocks, brings more sought-after solitude, another beautiful spot.

I hope it stays like this, my map also has a dotted red line crossing closeby the falls, the motorway no. 6 project. Yikes!

There is surprising amounts of info available on Chet Khot especially as somewhere nearby there's a nature study center (or here) located which arranges treks to more waterfalls in the area; Chet Khot Nue, Chet Khot Klang, Chet Khot Tai, Chet Khot Yai, Khao Raet (or Khao Khaep?), Krop Fa Phanang and Krok I Dok.
Andy has stayed overnite. Wow.

There's an article from the Bangkok Post (September 2006) about a visit here, including his or her experiences while trekking to Krok E-Dok waterfall, 8-10 kms from the center, but surprisingly under two hours of walk!

Kitaro has a photo overview of Klong Pakkham in Chet Khot forest.

Well, now I know Bangkokians have no reason not to escape town ...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails