Authored ArticleTravel

Rock climbing at Kaeng Krachan National Park, By Murli Menon

The mystery of traveling to an unknown destination is like learning to scuba-dive. One reads the training manuals of diving and don the diving attire and sits at the boat's edge, watching other divers effortlessly exploring the deep.

Murli Menon in conversation with Prittle Prattle News

Rock climbing at Kaeng Krachan National Park, By Murli Menon. The mystery of traveling to an unknown destination is like learning to scuba-dive. One reads the training manuals of diving and don the diving attire and sits at the boat’s edge, watching other divers effortlessly exploring the deep. You shiver in anticipation as you don the diving suit, the oxygen tanks, and the mouthpiece. Sitting at the edge of the water, you can feel the butterflies in one’s stomach. As you tumble into the water, you do not know how your maiden dive will turn out to be. A perfect dive and return to safety, a hair-raising experience, and being rescued to safety or after all the preparation and practice, there is just no thrill.

One is writing this from the cool confines of one’s lake facing room at the picturesque Anantara Resort and Spa at Hua Hin near Bangkok after returning from an exciting climb to P Lau waterfall inside the Kaeng Krachan National Park, which is one of Thailand’s largest national parks. One wakes up at 6 a.m. and gets ready for the two-hour drive from Hua Hin to the Kaeng Krachan National park’s headquarters with a brief stopover at a pineapple farm to observe the intricacies of pineapple farming. One is surprised to know that each pineapple tree fruits just once in a year, and we take a few minutes to eat a pineapple! One enjoys freshly picked sliced pineapples with black tea before restarting the journey. After paying the Kaeng Krachan park headquarters entrance fee, one starts the five-kilometer trek to the third tier of this seven-tiered waterfall. The trek to the first tier of this waterfall is attempted only by forest rangers as it means a two-day trek, and one must be prepared to camp inside the forest overnight.


The third tier trek is no less arduous though the jungle is not as dense as the core area bordering Burma. The forest was home to many different tribes before it was declared a protected area by the authorities. Many of these tribes have settled on the forest’s foothills and can be seen going about their chores in the villages that dot the countryside. Many of these tribes migrated to Thailand from Burma and were given temporary permits by the Thai Government. After entering the park, it makes one’s way uphill on foot through a broad mud road. Spectacular colorful butterflies with intricate freehand designs etched on their wings begin to appear in droves as soon as one climbs to the banks of the mountain stream that crosses our path. The river has to be struck with caution as large boulders are strewn across the tiny mountain stream. Two planks of wood six inches broad are placed strategically over the boulders to enable one to reach the other side. One needs a tightrope walker’s skill to cross and heaves a sigh of relief after having successfully reached the other side. The next few kilometers are over hard rocks and huge boulders, slippery in the drizzles that are a common feature of rainforests. 

One carefully plants one’s feet to get a firm grip before stepping on the next rock. This trek’s advantage alongside the stream can watch each tier of the seven-tiered waterfall at close quarters. The first tier is small and drops two feet, but as one progresses further, the path gets stonier and steeper, and the size of the fall increases at every tier. The second tier is about four feet, but the falls’ breadth is more than the first tier. After the second tier, the rock gives way to the forest, and one now climbs along a forest trail winding its way through dense jungle. Now, the obstacles are the thorny palms that are scattered on the forest floor. The vines that cross the path and fallen trees also prove formidable hurdles in one’s attempt to progress. After ninety minutes of non-stop trekking, one can hear the waterfall’s cascading sound at a distance. This is a great motivator, and with a wearied body and tired mind, one keeps climbing higher and higher in an attempt to have the first glimpse of the white water. The first glimpse od Pa Lau falls is nothing short of a miracle, Snow-white water vertically falling over six feet into a transparent pool. Innumerable fishes can be seen swimming in the waters of the pool. One later learns that these are freshwater carps safe in this sanctuary, as hunting or fishing is illegal inside the national park.

One enters the ice-cold waters for a refreshing swim, taking time to soak in the beauty of the environment. Butterflies float around these falls, enjoying the soaked oxygen atmosphere. The sound of the water, the green cover of the jungle, the tranquilness, and peace of the moment are unforgettable. One can feel the cosmos’ unity seeing the butterflies in the air, fishes in theater, and the gibbons on the trees around Pa Lau. The word Pa in the tribal dialect means water, and the phrase lau is a type of tree that abundantly grows in the jungles that stretch across the borders between Thailand and Burma. Swimming in these waters surrounded by hundreds of fishes is a religious experience. After spending a few hours experiencing the miracles of nature, one reluctantly prepares for the serious trek back to the park headquarters. It’s a slight consolation that the return trek is not as slippery as the uphill one as the sun is out in all its glory, and the rocks have dried. 

The nearest international airport to reach Hua Hin is the Suvarnabhoomi International Airport in Bangkok. There are several options for Indian tourists to get to Hua Hin from Bangkok.

By bus: The easiest and most popular way to get to Hua Hin from Bangkok is by bus. This 225 km. The trip takes 3 hours. There are three bus terminals in Bangkok, namely Northern, Southern, and Eastern. All buses are first-class air-conditioned with pushback seats. The bus fare from Bangkok to Hua Hin costs 120 Baht for ordinary buses to 200 Baht for super-deluxe buses. Airconditioned buses with pushback seats leave Bangkok’s Southern bus terminal for Hua Hin at half-hourly intervals. The first bus leaves at 6:00 a.m., and the last bus leaves at 6:00 p.m. The one-way ticket is priced at 177 Baht. Anantara Resort Hua Hin is a value for money proposition that offers five-star comforts at three-star rates during low season (July to October) and is a value for Indian standards’ money proposition. A standard double room costs approximately 3000/- Baht inclusive of American breakfast. Budget-conscious, middle-class Europeans frequent this eco-friendly property at this time of the year, many small restaurants serving Thai cuisine dot Hua Hin. Grated coconut with sticky rice is a local dish, which vegans will relish. The food at the high profile hotels is only for the gastronomically adventurous who like greasy food. Fresh tropical fruits, including pineapples, tender coconuts, and pomelos, are available at the local market. 

About the Author :

Murli Menon

Murli Menon, is a travel writer, stress management consultant and author  based at Ahmedabad, India. He is the author of “ZeNLP-Learning through stories” published by The Written Word Publications, “ZeNLP-the power to succeed” published by Sage publications and “ZeNLP-the power to relax” by New Dawn Press. He can be reached at

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