My top 7 Waterfalls in Southeast Asia


My top 7 waterfalls in Southeast Asia

During my year-long journey across Southeast Asia, I have discovered some magnificent places and true wonders of nature. Some of those, usually being a true highlight, were waterfalls. Their appearance was as diverse as nature itself. Sometimes mellow, pristine and relaxing, with their clean waters making their way down rock stairs and filling up crystal clear rock pools. Sometimes roaring, loud, gushing, almost brutally filling the air with fine mist and all so powerful. I have been asked if I didn’t get tired of seeing yet another waterfall. But to be honest, discovering a waterfall in all its beauty never lost its magic for me. It will always be a highlight which I will always appreciate, no matter how many I have seen before. Some of those highlights I would like to share with you here at ESCapology.

Erawan Falls, Kanchanaburi – Thailand

The Erawan Falls consist of actually 7 waterfalls, each one higher up than the other. Every single waterfall forms pools of crystal clear water, bright turquoise in color. The path up to the last fall is quite demanding and takes a bit of time but it is sure worth it. You can swim in each one of the waterfalls but beware of the fish – they actually bite and nibble on your feet. And these species are bigger than the ones in those fancy fish spa aquariums. Make sure to take your hiking boots and set out early as this place can get pretty busy.

Erawan Falls-Thailand

Like taken out of a fairy tale. Erawan Falls.

Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi-Thailand

One of the rock pools … can you spot the fish?

Wachirathan Falls, Inathon National Park – Thailand

Doi Inathon National Park is located in the North of Thailand, not too far away from Chiang Mai and it is named after the highest peak of Thailand, Doi Inathon. The park is home to several waterfalls and one of them is Wachirathan Falls. It is segmented but has an overall height of 80 meters. In the wet season it becomes a roaring monster, covering the whole area in its mists. But even in dry season, when I was there, it makes for a very impressive sight.

Wachirathan Falls-Inathon National Park

Wachirathan Falls in Inathon National Park, Thailand.

Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang – Laos

Kunag Si Falls, or sometimes spelled Kuang Xi, is a three tier waterfall about 30km outside of Luang Prabang. Shallow pools form at the lower part which then leads to the main fall with a 60 meter cascade. You can climb to the top and actually cross over but it is steep and quite slippery. You can swim in most of the pools and one even features a swing which of course draws the biggest crowds. Same as with Erawan, this place gets busy. Make sure to be there as early as possible to enjoy a few moments of silence before the tours arrive.

Kuang Si Fall-Luang Prabang

Beautiful rock pool at Kuang Si Falls

Kuang Si Fall-Luang Prabang

Mellow and relaxed. You wouldn’t expect the crowds this place sees daily

Tappiya Falls, Batad – Philippines

Tappiya Falls was probably one of the heaviest waterfalls I swam in. This massive fall is tugged away behind the Batad Ifugao Rice Terraces. Once in Batad, you can hike there on your own but be aware that the trail is very steep and can be treacherous. Before you can even see Tappiya Falls, you can already hear its roaring sound as massive amounts of water drop down from 30 meters above. The brute force of the waterfall creates a weather of its own. Wind and mist blowing everywhere. The current it creates is so strong that there is no way to make it close. With all that and its chilly waters, Tappiya Falls is a grim beauty of a waterfall which you won’t forget.

Scott Rotzoll_Tappiya Falls

Grim and beautiful. Tappiya Falls close to Batad | Credit: Flickr CC. Scott Rozoll

You can easily get to Batad from Banaue. Get a jeepney which will take you to Batad Junction where you have to get off. You walk up to the so called saddle and from there down into the valley. Make sure to pack light as it is quite a walk and especially walking back up can be strenuous.

Tad Alang Waterfall, Bolaven Plateau – Laos

The Bolaven Plateau is located in Central Laos, not too far away from Pakse and  is famous for its natural beauty and its large coffee plantations. It features a number of waterfalls and Tad Alang is one of them. The mist it created actually formed a nice and clear rainbow and the great thing about it was that you can actually get behind it. This unusual perspective made it a highlight for us. The Bolaven Plateau offers a nice motorbike loop which will take you to a lot of interesting sites and of course the major waterfalls of the area.

Tad Alang-Bolaven Plateau

Tad Alang. One of the many waterfalls along the Bolaven Plateau Loop

Khone Phapheng Falls, Don Khong – Laos

Khon Phapheng Falls is the largest waterfall along the Mekong river and the largest in all of Southeast Asia. It is also the reason why the Mekong isn’t navigable all the way into China. This waterfall isn’t as pretty or fairytale like as for example Erawan Falls. But Khon Phapheng is pure, unrestrained and aggressive as millions of liters of water gush down into Cambodia every second.  We were there during dry season and it still was an impressive sight. I can’t imagine how it must be like during wet season when the falls swell up to their maximum power.

Khone Phapheng Falls

Khone Phapheng Falls, the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia. A raging beauty.

Cambugahay Falls, Siquijor Island – Philippines

Cambugahay Falls is a small and relaxed waterfall on the small island of Siquijor which is located in the Central Visayas Region.  It consists of several mellow, cascading multi-tiered waterfalls which form a number of small pools and lagoons to relax in. Up on the road you can buy snacks and beer to enjoy at the falls. What I liked about the falls was that even the locals, kids and families alike, enjoyed spending their time around the falls. Very different from the sometimes over-touristic affairs in Thailand and Laos.

Last thoughts …

I have passed many other waterfalls and I am sure there are many more out there which I have missed. But these here made for great memories which I wouldn’t want to miss. Waterfalls are not so common here in Europe. That’s why it fills me with amazement everytime I see one of these natural wonders. And as I said before, I can appreciate each and every one of them, even if I have seen lots of them before. There is just no getting tired of it.
What about you guys? I bet some of you have also discovered a nice waterfall… What is your favorite waterfall? Feel free to share your waterfall-story and your experiences in the comment section below.  Philipp

Categories: Inspiration, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

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32 thoughts on “My top 7 Waterfalls in Southeast Asia

  1. I have been lucky enough to see those at Luang Prabang and they were very beautiful and impressive. If you haven’t yet been, Iquazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil is the best. Another spectacular place is Jiuzhaigou in central China. Google it and thank me sometime later when you go there.

    I bet those falls on the Mekong were impressive. That is a huge river so I am sure that was a violent falls.

  2. super nice. I hope someday I can visit one of those water falls.

  3. You must check out Tinago Falls (in Iligan, Lanao del Norte), Tinuy-an Falls (in Bislig, Surigao del Sur), Pyalitan Falls (in Maragusan, Compostella Valley), Aliwawag Falls (in Cateel, Davao Oriental), and the 7 Falls (in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato). If you’ll get another chance to come here.

    Erawan Falls looks lovely. I’ll think about it when I plan my next visit to Thailand.

    • HI Baba, thanks for all those tips. Have you been to all these places? Sounds amazing. I have already so many good things about Tinuy-An Falls..that’s one I really want to see one day. Tinago must also be a great sight. And yes, I really want to come back and when I do, I will sure check out some of these falls you mentioned. Thanks again!

    • hi babalugats. it seems tinuy-an falls in mindanao is really great. i’ve seen many good comments about this. i’ll be going to mindanao (davao) next month for “work” and i might as well put “pleasure” by going to that falls. hope i can make it. thanks again Phil (pipoy) for this article. God bless all.

      • For sure…. try to combine the necessary with the fun. Let me know how it was if you manage to hit Tinuy-An Falls……

  4. Thanks for the inspiration…from this list I had only seen Kuang Si. I guess the highest I saw on my trip was Silver Falls close to Sapa.

    • Hi Jeff, thanks for stopping by. Great that you also had the chance to Kuang Si Falls. I haven’t been to Sapa when I traveled Vietnam. I went a bit further Northeast..up to Ha Giang. That was a great trip I have to say….

  5. Looks like you had a blast! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the sights spectacular!

    • Hi Uncle Tree..thanks for stopping by and your feedback. Swimming in waterfalls is always fun. And for a European definitely somewhat exotic… I enjoy it every time. Thanks again and all the best ….

  6. Rio

    Ive seen Cambugahay Waterfalls coz I’m from the Philippines and Ive seen other waterfalls too in there. Ive seen Gulfoss waterfall and other waterfalls in Iceland too and some waterfalls in Switzerland. But my fave really is Niagara Falls.

  7. rj

    im a waterfall lover myself and there’s this recently discovered unique waterfall in Alamada, North Cotabato named Asik Asik, which i havent been to yet.You may google the pictures and you’ll see why it’s considered unique. 🙂

  8. I am yet to visit that waterfalls in Batad. Looks so enchanting.

  9. owengthegreat

    Amazing Photos. Now i believe that YOLO (You Only Lived Once), so better enjoy all the things. I adore you for enjoying every single seconds of your life. Hope i can do that despite of my busy and stress work daily routine.

    Anyway, do you have any blog for Singapore travel?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Owen, we should enjoy. But I also am busy working these days …. same as you. So we share the same fate. Hope we can both pursue our dreams soon ;). All the best!

  10. Reblogged this on DANVENTURES and commented:
    I think, its time for me to chase some Waterfalls! Awesome article!

  11. JR

    A lot of water falls in negros occidental, Philippines.
    Guintubdan Falls, Kipot Twin Waterfalls, 7 Waterfalls in Mambukal Resorts and some more I dont know the name. We just went there. It’s amazing how this province in the Philippines is gifted with such bodies of water

    • HI JR, I never made it to Negros….but your report sure makes me wanna go. Seems like a great place to go exploring. Thanks for the tip …

  12. Laurence

    Wow, thank you for sharing!! We’re planning a trip in SE Asia in Jan-Feb-March-April and we do want to see as much nature as we can… I’m just worried that we won’t be able to enjoy the waterfalls and cascades as much since it’s the dry season. Can you still swim in them (the safe ones of course) or is it mostly dried out? Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Laurence, don’t worry…they will carry less water but we were there during dry season and all the pics were taken during that time… the exact same time that you will be traveling the region…. still good to go ….

  13. These are lovely! Thanks for sharing this list. Cambugahay Falls is also one of my fave and just recently, Tinuy-an Falls. I would love to see Erawan but the traffic in Bangkok is terrible, I don’t want to come back ever. Not that I’m saying it wasn’t bad in Manila, but when I go back home I don’t have a choice but to pass Manila. Maybe i’ll ask for an autograph when I see you on one our trips! 😛 And wow its accommodating of you to reply to almost all of the comments here in your blog. Happy travels!

    • HI Kathero….. I heard about Tinuay-An Falls. It must be great and I hope to get to see it some day. Too bad you don’t like Bangkok… I don’t mind it actually and I stay there often since it is a popular stop over. Thanks again for stopping by and best regards, Phil

  14. Hi Phil,
    How aboout Katibawasan Falls? Will be in Camiguin this January 2015. Thanks to your article in one of the magazines available that I accidentally browsed while I was in Seattle’s Best 🙂

    • Hi Marlou, thanks for stopping and your kind feedback. I am happy that you found the article and that it actually provided a bit of inspiration for you. I am sure you will love is an amazing place…. probably one of my favs in the Philippines. Let me know how it was.. Cheers, a happy New Year and happy travels.

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