But before we hopped in the car to drive there, Mellow Adventures treated us to an amazing Thai lunch.
Back when I had been planning our tours with Steffen, the owner of Mellow Adventures, he had added a restaurant stop for lunch as part of our itinerary. However, I wasn’t keen on giving up precious time at the waterfalls to sit down for lunch at a restaurant.
“We can grab something on the run,” I said, explaining that we aren’t foodies and we wanted to maximize our time at the waterfalls.
However, Steffen insisted that food is an important aspect of Thai culture, almost to the point of being a national pastime, and he wanted to give us a proper in introduction to Thai cooking. So, as soon as we finished hiking, he took us to his favorite place tucked into a row of informal restaurants that line the edge of the parking lot at Erawan National Park.
Steffen started eagerly going back and forth in Thai with our guide Mai about what to order, and in no time Mai had written out a whole slew of beautiful Thai letters on a piece of paper. She handed it to the waitress, and in minutes, the most delicious array of platters arrived at our table.
With fried rice as a base, we had several yummy dishes that were so tasty we asked Mai to write them down for us in Thai so we could order them easily on our own during the rest of our stay in Thailand! Thai food connoisseurs might laugh, but this was a godsend for us!
Back on the road, we headed deeper into the jungle to our next destination: Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall in Sri Nakarin National Park.
This part of Thailand is very hilly, and we were soon driving up and down very steep grades. Unlike America, where the Department of Transportation places signs for steep inclines only at the tops of mountains to warn drivers about the descent ahead, we saw signs warning about steepness going both up and downhill.
And no wonder. At 12% and 14%, these hills were very steep!
At last we arrived at Sri Nakarin Dam National Park, home of Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall.
Because the Thai language has its own alphabet, words often end up with multiple spellings when the Roman alphabet is used instead. Sure enough, the waterfall had different spellings on the different signs out front: “Huay Maekamin” and “Huay Maekhamin” (with an “h” in there). The waterfall is often written as three words too: Huay Mae Khamin.
When we pulled up to the entrance gate, Steffen asked the rangers if the National Park was busy. It was midday, afterall, which is the peak time for tourists.
“No,” the ranger replied, “There is no one here.”
What a difference from Erawan Waterfall where we had to arrive super early in the morning to beat the crowds!
Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall is a gem of a waterfall that hasn’t yet made it onto Thailand’s tourism radar.
Steffen explained to me that he often combines a visit to Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall with a camping trip in the jungle as part of a multi-day trek to the Burmese border that goes through tiny rural villages that are quintessentially Thai and have no tourism whatsoever.
As he described that experience, I suddenly wished we’d arranged for a multi-day camping tour with Mellow Adventures. Next time!!
The hike to the waterfall took us past wonderfully long and thick vines and a hollowed out tree that Mark couldn’t resist climbing into.
All around us were dense clumps of very thick bamboo stalks. Bamboo is technically a grass, and it grows easily and densely in the Kanchanaburi jungle
As I stood close to the bamboo stalks, I discovered they all had graffiti on them, most of it in Thai lettering! How cool is that?!
The beautiful and ornate Thai letters were carved onto the stalks and painted on as well.
I guess lovers declare their affection for each other on all kinds of trees all over the world in every language.
Soon we heard the tell-tale sound of rushing water, and in moments we arrived at the first set of falls. Wow!
Unlike Erawan Falls, which is a hike from the lowest cascade to the highest, the hiking trail to Huay Maekhamin Waterfall brings you directly to the fourth of its seven tiers.
The water rushed over the flat slabs of limestone creating exquisite mini waterfalls.
We were mesmerized by the shapes of the falls and the trees surrounding them.
We had the place to ourselves, and we wandered all over the rocks and between the trees getting pics of each other in this glorious spot.
Huay Maekhamin Waterfall has seven tiers, and we had hiked direclty from the parknig lot to the 4th tier. From there we could hike down to see levels 3, 2 and 1 or we could drive around to another entrance area to see the top levels.
Our guide Mai felt that the seventh tier at the top of Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall was the most picturesque, so we decided to go straight there. How right she was!
The waterfall images were framed by rich green jungle trees, and sprays of water fell from ledge to ledge and from pool to pool.
As much as we loved Erawan Waterfall, for me, this spot at the top of Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall was even more magnificent. I half expected fairies to emerge on the waterfall ledges or for angels to start singing!
At that moment a jungle bird landed on a branch right in front of me and began to sing his heart out.
I listened for a while, mesmerized by his bright colors and vibrant song as his warbling and sweet songs filled the forest. I found out later he was a White Rumped Shama.
Tucked between the leaves we spotted a beautiful wildflower.
But it was the lush jungle pools and delicate sprays of waterfalls that will forever stay in our memory from our visit to Huay Maekhamin Waterfall.
Thailand has many stunning waterfalls, and lots of pre-packaged commercial tours take bus loads of tourists to visit them, especially the nearby Sai Yok Yai waterfall in Sai Yok National Park.
But the most beautiful waterfall in all of Thailand could easily be Huay Maekamin Waterfall, and amazingly, it isn’t promoted or dominated by the big commercial tour companies.
What a thrill it was to work with Mellow Adventures to create a personalized waterfall tour and experience two of Thailand’s best waterfalls, Erawan Waterfall and Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall, and have them all to ourselves!!
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More info about Huay Maekamin Waterfall and Mellow Adventures:
- Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall – Local website
- Mellow Adventures – Personalized, custom tours of Kanchanaburi, Thailand
(email Mellow Adventures here and see Tripadvisor reviews of Mellow Adventures here)
- Location of Huay Maekhamin Waterfall, Erawan Waterfall and Mellow Adventures
Other blog posts from our travels in Thailand:
- Snorkeling Ko Rok with Dive & Relax – Underwater Magic in Thailand!
- Cheow Lan Lake Tour in Khao Sok with Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House
- Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House – Khao Sok National Park… Wow!
- Kanchanaburi, Thailand – History, Caves, Monkeys & Exotic Fruit!
- Erawan Falls – Jewel of Erawan National Park – with Mellow Adventures
- Train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi – A Ride Through Thailand’s Countryside
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market – Bangkok or Disney’s Epcot Center?
- One Day in Bangkok – A trip on the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat!
Other blog posts from our travels with waterfalls, interesting trees and unique graffiti:
- Kootenai Falls and Ross Creek Cedars in Montana – Montana’s answer to California’s Giant Sequoias
- Colorado National Monument – Names and initials pecked on the edge of Lover’s Leap
- Montezuma’s Well in Arizona – Antique graffiti advertisements!
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