where to go from paradise city ...
This cascade is found on the south side of Kaeng Krachan National Park, some 60kms west of Hua Hin. The park is one of the largest in Thailand and sits right next to the Burmese (Myanmar) border.
It is a beautiful spot to visit. You will pass through stunning countryside and hills on your drive there that will only take 1.5 hours or so.
The waterfall has 16 steps, making it one of the highest in Thailand and those who make it to the top will be rewarded by superb views over Thailand and towards Burma. It should be noted, however, that progressing further than the third stage will be arduous and should only be attempted by those fit enough to do so.
The third stage itself has a large, deep pool and most visitors will be happy to spend their time here. The water is always cool and refreshing and there are plenty of large fish swimming in it that are friendly, but please don't try to catch them - you are in a National Park and this is forbidden.
The surrounding forest is over 1,000 years old and there is a good chance of seeing wildlife, particularly gibbons (which will certainly be heard, if not seen) and many rare species of bird-life.
The falls can be visited at any time of the year, but will be in their prime during and just after the rainy season, between July-November. At all times of year, it is wise to be careful of slippery stones, although the path to the third level is well taken care of and relatively safe. Higher up can get dangerous.
These fees last amended on December 1st 2007. There are now four categories of National Park. The first and most expensive will cost a foreign adult THB 400 and a foreign child 200, whereas a Thai adult gains entry for THB 80 and a Thai child 40. These parks are mainly found in southern Thailand around Phuket and the north.
Category 2 will cost THB 200/100/40/20 repectively.
Category 3 will cost THB 100/50/20/10 respectively.
Category 4 are free for all.
In the past, foreigners holding Permanent Residency, a Work Permit, a Thai driving licence or on foreign exchange student status were able to gain entry at Thai prices. If you have one of the above, it will be worth while discussing it with the rangers.
If you visit more than one National Park in a day, there is no additional charge unless any are more expensive than the first, in which case you will pay the difference. The above prices are still current as of January 1st 2011.
Trips to the waterfall can be easily arranged and will normally include the following: transfers to and from Pala-U, entrance fee, treking up to the third level with time spent there for swimming and taking in the surroundings, an English speaking guide, lunch and soft drinks.
Smaller operators will be able to tailor your excursion and you might want to also take in a visit to a local Karen village.