Thararak Waterfall (Nam tok Thararak)

Mae Sot District / Phop Phra District, Tak, Thailand

About Thararak Waterfall (Nam tok Thararak)

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2009-01-02
Date last visited: 2009-01-02

Waterfall Latitude: 16.5701
Waterfall Longitude: 98.6944

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The Thararak Waterfall (pronounced “tah-rah-RAHK”; though I’ve also seen it spelled Taralak) was one of the rare waterfalls where we saw it juxtaposed with a chedi (a particular style of Thai temple with a pointy top). I believe that golden chedi was called the Chedi Kho. And while the falls itself wasn’t all that tall nor all that impressive (especially given its diminished flow during our visit), I still thought it was memorable. After all, how many waterfalls are there in Thailand (or southeast Asia for that matter) where you can see a chedi with it?

We thought of this waterfall as more of a locals waterfall because it was poorly signposted. Our guide and driver had trouble finding it even though we were able to see the golden chedi from the Death Highway (Hwy 1090). It wasn’t until after a couple times of doubling back along the Death Highway in the general vicinity did I finally notice part of the waterfall (it’s quite easy to miss) and alert our guide and driver.

Once at the base of the falls, we got our best views from the end of some kind of man-modified pool directly opposite the falls. It was from this vantage point that we were able to photograph the falls with the Chedi Kho. There was also a short but steep scrambling path right up to the rushing water at the base of the falls. I guess the point of that path was to get a little wet and cool off, which we saw quite a few locals do. However, this path wasn’t for improving nor getting a different view.

Given its relatively light flow, it’s conceivable that this waterfall can go dry deep into the dry season.

Thararak_003_01012009 - View of chedi and waterfall but from too far along the incorrect road
Thararak_011_01012009 - At the car park right in front of the Thararak Waterfall
Thararak_006_01012009 - View of the Thararak Waterfall as we were scrambling around looking to improve our view
Thararak_028_01012009 - As much of the Thararak Waterfall as I can see from the car park area
Thararak_029_01012009 - People getting wet and playing by a stream right beneath the Thararak Waterfall
Thararak_031_01012009 - More of the stream beneath the Thararak Waterfall
Death_Hwy_to_Umphang_004_01012009 - South of Namtok Thararak, the Death Highway weaved its way through mountain terrain mixed with pockets of forests amongst denuded slash and burn areas


We spent about 25 minutes looking for the Thararak Waterfall after visiting Namtok Pha Charoen. The key was that the turnoff for Namtok Thararak was just one turnoff south of the one for Chedi Kho (the chedi’s turnoff was signposted).

If you’re looking for this waterfall, I’d start by looking for a golden chedi on the left as you’re heading south along the Death Highway probably about 30-40 minutes south of Mae Sot. Then, start looking for the turnoff to Chedi Ko, but take the next turnoff instead to get to the falls.

For geographical context, Mae Sot was 351km (5 hours drive) south of Chiang Mai. 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.

Sweep from bottom to top of the falls

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Tagged with: mae sot, phop phra, tak, death highway, death hwy, burmese refugees, burma, central thailand, thailand, waterfall, chedi, kho, taralak

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