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Erawan National Park/Thailand

Introducing Erawan National Park

Best known for its stunning seven-tiered water­fall, this 550-sq-km park (0 3457 4222; www.dnp.go.th; admission 400B; 8am-4.30pm) is easily accessed by public bus from Kanchanaburi.

The cascading and pooling waterfall feeds into Mae Nam Khwae Yai, and it’s a 2km hike to the top pool. The uppermost fall is said to resemble Erawan, the three-headed elephant of Hindu mythology.

The trail can be steep, slippery and non-existent from place to place, so wear good walking shoes or sneakers. Also bring a bathing suit as several of the pools are great for swimming.

On weekends and holidays, the falls are very crowded, and are a favourite destination during Songkran (Thai New Year).

The rest of the park is not as popular, especially for people without their own transport. If you have your own transport, check out Tham Phra That (off Hwy 323, 12km northwest of the turn-off to the park) and Tham Wang Badan (off Hwy 32, 30km northwest of the turn-off to the park).

Park bungalows (0 3457 4222, in Bangkok 0 2562 0760; bungalows 800-4000B) sleep between two and 50 people. Camping is also available for 90B to 150B; park offices rent out camping equipment. Advance reservations are necessary.

There are run-down hotels outside of the park entrance, but options near Kanchanaburi are better. There are food stalls near the bus station, which is 800m from the falls. To cut down on rubbish, food is not allowed beyond this point.

Buses run from Kanchanaburi all the way to the entrance of the Erawan waterfall (40B, 1½ hours, every hour from 8am to 5.20pm). The last bus back to Kanchanaburi is at 4pm. Within the park, you can rent bicycles for 20B per day and a pick-up truck for 500B for one hour.