Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Up the creek

Easily accessible from the most touristed stretch of the Khao Lak coast (Phang Nga, Thailand), it could be expected that Chong Fa would be nearly overrun or near ruined. However the opposite is true.

'Please do not entry to the waterfall'
The entrance gate (Chong Fa is part of the Lam Ru National Park) is half open or half close with a poster revealing that the park is somehow off-limits (photo above). A plus is that the park is (still?) open. Furthermore, no entry fees are required. And once again the access road is too difficult to take. There is a lone ranger, but he has his pitched his hammock up high and is wondering what his dreams will bring him.

From the entrance to the waterfall is a 1km long access road. From the road head it’s another 200m walk along a track to the first level, so no real strenuous hike, but a deliteful one nonetheless.

Getting there is a big part of the experience.
Chong Fa is a fabulous waterfall with lots of water crushing down into a deep and sunny pool. Downstream along the access road, are more swim holes, all deep and free flowing with great opportunities for a great dip.

It really is amazing, this piece of paradise so close to the paradise lost of Khao Lak.

There’s one website which has some more info on Khao Lak’s waterfalls (it mentions Chong Fa as having a steep (!) track to the first of five levels), but in general Khao Lak’s waterfalls are neglected and ignored, despite these being a great way to diversify the coast’s attractions, generate income and able to increase awareness of the globe’s natural surroundings, their fragility and the unique experience they offer. It contrasts with other places nearer Bangkok where waterfalls have become attraction parks, places of recreation.

But for me the tranquillity and (temporary?) absence of the great world is an opportunity to indulge in swimming, plunging and receiving a natural back massage.
Chong Fa, back massage please!
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