Haew Narok Waterfall (Namtok Haeo Narok)

Khao Yai National Park / Khorat Plateau, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 2
The uppermost tier of the Haew Narok Waterfall
In our minds, the Haew Narok Waterfall was Khao Yai National Park's most impressive waterfall. It was said to tumble in three drops combining for a total of over 150m in height. However, we were only able to see the uppermost leap from an overlook at the end of a 1km (each way) trail. Despite our attempts to get a more comprehensive view of the falls, we ultimately had to settle for a view of just one of the three drops, which you can see in the photo at the top of this page.

From the official car park, the walk started off flat and relatively wide through a dense jungle area. It eventually crossed over a bridge spanning a gorge and stream containing what would ultimately feed the waterfall.

Beyond the bridge, we eventually reached a section with a lot of steep stairs, which descended towards the overlook of the uppermost waterfall. That was where the trail stopped. Some of the steps were so steep that it kind of reminded Julie and I of some of the temple steps (e.g. the Wat Arun in Bangkok) where we could literally use all four of our limbs to climb up while sitting and scooting on our bums on the way down (sort of).

The full view of Haew Narok courtesy of TAT Yet despite these obstacles, the trail was popular (i.e. very busy). A concrete path lined almost the entire way so just about anyone who could handle the stairs could visit the falls. We even noticed some women do the walk in bedroom slippers or even high heels. Nonetheless, we weren't sure how they were confident enough to do the steep steps, but I guess different strokes for different folks, as they say.

The uppermost drop of the Haew Narok Waterfall was said to drop some 50-60m, but I tend to think this might be exaggerated. It was still an attractive waterfall regardless of what the height figure might end up being.

In our attempts to get that better view (like the one that the Tourism Authority of Thailand [TAT] showed; photo on the right), we talked with staff with the help of our guide to speak the local language. I somehow got the feeling that there really was a way to see it, but neither our guides nor staff were willing nor able to let us get that view. I guess that's the way it rolls sometimes even though I was bumming we couldn't see the falls in its entirety.

Finally, you might see the name of the falls spelled in many different ways. In addition to the way we've shown it above, we also saw the falls spelled Haeo Narok, Heo Narok, or Hew Narok. I suspect that these variations in the spelling had to do with the inexact way of Thai pronunciations being romanized into English text.

We weren't sure if there was even a standard or consensus phonetic conversion between Thai and English similar to the way pinyin would be used for romanizing Mandarin Chinese.

All in all, the walk was probably a little over 1km in each direction. We spent about an hour, which encompassed the hiking and all the picture taking.

Directions: This waterfall sits in Khao Yai National Park, which apparently is more known for wildlife and is one of the few places in the country to possibly get lucky and see a rare endangered tiger (obviously that wasn't the case for us).

The exact directions are sketchy since we were driven here on an escorted tour. However, we can say that it took us 2 hours to drive east from Ayutthaya ("aye-OO-tay-uh") towards the Khao Yai Visitor Center area, then another 30 minutes to get from there to the official car park for the Haew Narok Waterfall.

It was roughly a three-hour drive between Khao Yai National Park and Bangkok.

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Closer look at the Haew Narok waterfall
About 2 hours drive west of Khao Yai are the ruins of Ayutthaya
About 3 hours drive southwest of Khao Yai is Bangkok, where temples like Wat Arun featured steep steps like the steps we saw descending to the Haew Narok viewpoint
Monkeys on the road as we were driving to the fallsMonkeys on the road as we were driving to the falls

Sign indicating the waterfall was about 1km awaySign indicating the waterfall was about 1km away

Julie and Pang on the concrete trailJulie and Pang on the concrete trail

Crossing the bridgeCrossing the bridge

Looking upstream from the bridge at the reflections in the waterLooking upstream from the bridge at the reflections in the water

Descending steep steps towards the overlookDescending steep steps towards the overlook

It can get quite busy at this overlook of Haew NarokIt can get quite busy at this overlook of Haew Narok Waterfall

With all the descending that we had to do, we now had to go back up those same steep stepsWith all the descending that we had to do, we now had to go back up those same steep steps

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Sweep from right to left of the uppermost tier of the waterfall

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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