About Khlong Lan Waterfall (Nam tok Khlong Lan)
The Khlong Lan Waterfall was the last major waterfall we saw on our trip to Thailand. It was a 100m tall by 40m wide giant that was said to have good flow all year long. There were many trees that had grown near its base which made the waterfall a little difficult to photograph without a bit of creativity so that kind of kept this waterfall from being rated higher by us. However, with the falls’ easy accessibility, it was an understatedly popular place as we didn’t encounter some of the crazier crowds like in many of the country’s other waterfalls that we visited.
The area around the falls contained pretty obvious walks leading to both sides of the stream each affording close-up views. The path on the right side of the waterfall’s stream allowed us to get almost besides the waterfall itself, which was probably as close to it as safely possible. From there, the falls took on an almost split appearance as a large protrusion in the cliff (possibly a huge fallen rock) split part of the falls on its way down. With the amount of mist swirling about the plunge pool here, only a few daring types braved the turbulence of the plunge pool with the bombardment of water overhead.
Meanwhile, the path on the left crossed a bridge before meandering amongst trees. Some of these trees were wrapped with colorful fabrics fronted by makeshift shrines for some spiritual purpose. Speaking of spirituality, we happened to be sharing the waterfall with a group of orange-robed monks who were also enjoying the falls as most tourists would taking photos, posing, and just sharing the experience as a group. I don’t think in all of our travels that Julie and I have ever encountered monks at legitimate waterfalls before.
All in all, Julie and I spent about 90 minutes enjoying this waterfall from both its sides. The walkway to get closer was well-developed, but we didn’t swim here like some of the locals did (none of the monks did).
Even though we didn’t do it, we knew there was also a 2-hour return walk (said to be 0.9 miles in each direction) from the entrance gate to the Khao Hua Chang viewpoint where supposedly we could get a distant view of the waterfall surrounded by the forest as well as its mountainous backdrop. The park literature said this was actually a good spot to see the sunrise and sunset. Maybe next time, we’ll spend a bit more time and give that option a go.
Khlong Lan National Park is roughly an hour’s drive southwest of the (fairly-off-the-beaten-path) town of Kamphaeng Phet (pronounced “kahm-PANG pet”). Since we were on an escorted tour, we could only provide the sense of time and logistics but not specifics in terms of driving directions.
For general context, Chiang Mai was roughly 700km north of Bangkok. It would take around 9 hours to drive or a little over an hour to fly between the cities. Had we continued driving south from Kamphaeng Phet, we might have returned to Bangkok in over 4 hours after traversing the 360km distance between the cities.
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