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.
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.
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