With all the different and popular activities you could do in Thailand, camping may not be high up on your list. If you love the outdoors and beautiful scenery, then it definitely should do, and there is no better place to camp than at Huai Khamin Waterfalls, Kanchanaburi.
Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall is a hidden gem located in the Khuean Srinagarindra National Park in the Kanchanaburi province about 3 hours away from Bangkok. When most tourists visit Kanchanaburi, they all flock to Erawan Waterfalls. This is the most popular waterfalls in the area, and quite rightly too as it is stunning and easy to get to! If you are looking for something even more beautiful without the packs of tourists then head to Huai Mae Khamin.
How to get to Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall?
The best way to get to Huai Mae Khamin is to drive or take a taxi, it is just under a two-hour drive from the main road in Kanchanaburi town. Drive as you would to Erawan but instead of entering the national park, head up the mountain. The roads along the way are well signposted and you will have an internet connection for the majority of the way. You will lose signal at the top of the mountain but it’s one straight road so you can’t get lost! If you are camping one night I would suggest leaving at 6 am to arrive around 8/9am, this will give you time to stop for gas and breakfast along the way.
What to do when you arrive?
Once you arrive at the entrance to Huai Mae Khamin you will have to stop at a manned booth. Here you will need to pay the entrance fee to the national park. The prices for a foreign adult is 300 Baht, 100 for a Thai national. I’m not too sure on the child price but it is less than an adult. There is also a 30 baht fee per car or bike. This fee goes to keeping the national park clean and intact. A lot of tourists moan about the fee but it is worth the money! Once you are inside the national park, follow the road up to the hill until you reach the campsite. Once there you can park your car outside the camp office next to the restaurant.
Once you have parked your car if your wanting to rent a tent, walk over to the tents on the campsite. They have pre-set up tents put up ready if the tent is available it will have a number card on it. Pick the tent you want and take the numbered card to the camp office by the car park. Here you can pay for your tent, we also rented blankets and pillows. All of this came to just under 1000 Baht. You will need to hand in your ID or passport and then you will have it returned to you the next day once you hand the equipment back before you leave. If camping in a tent isn’t really for you but you would still like the experience of staying at the waterfalls, there are bungalows available to rent. I have never rented these before so I am unsure of the price but I don’t Imagine they would be too expensive.
What is available on-site?
There are toilets, showers, a small gift shop and an open restaurant with different stalls on site. Outside the gift shop or in the restaurant there are plugs you can use to charge your phone. You can take food or a BBQ with you but you are not allowed to make an open fire on the campsite. The restaurant is open early until about 6:00/7:00 p.m. so food and drinks will be available. It’s a good idea to bring an ice cooler to store water and drinks in for the evening/nighttime after the restaurant has closed. I would recommend taking your own entertainment as there isn’t much to do after the waterfall is closed off at 17:00. Take a board game, take your laptop and watch a movie or simply have a nice chat with a loved one, relax and listen to the waterfall in the distance.
The gift shop sells basic products like shampoo, soap, crisps, bug spray, and some souvenirs but not a lot. I would recommend bringing toilet roll as sometimes the bathroom will run out. I also would bring your own shampoo, soap, and towel, as well as a flash flight. Once you have your tent and equipment you can set your tent up ready and leave your stuff inside. There are no locks on the tents so take any valuables with you while exploring the waterfalls.
Time to explore!
Similar to Erawan Waterfalls, Huai Mae Khamin has 7 levels of the waterfall, each more strikingly beautiful than the last. If you are looking for a quiet time to visit, go on a weekday. Any Thai holidays or weekends will get busy with campers. The first time we visited was during Songkran, the Thai new year and the campsite was packed! The second time we stayed we went mid-week and there were maybe only three other tents, it was amazing!
When standing at the camp you can either walk up the waterfall to the left or down the waterfall to the right. Right in the middle next to the campsite is the most beautiful level by far! A huge drop in the waterfall with a canopy of tree’s hanging over the top. This level you can not swim in as it is very dangerous and a huge drop but there are lookout points from the campsite. Going up the waterfall to the left is a long and beautiful walk that will take you to two of the higher levels. These are quite small but very pretty and it is a pleasant walk.
If you walk to the right down the waterfalls you will find several jaw-dropping waterfalls and pools of water. There are some steep wooden steps to walk down but after that, the path is more of a wooded slope and walkway. Take a walk to the bottom of the waterfall and behold the beauty before you. If you go on a quiet day you might have a whole section of the waterfall to yourself, we did! This waterfall is very much untouched by natural and natural compared to Erawan that has water pipes all around the place to keep water available for tourists. In my opinion, Huai Mae Khamin is much more beautiful than Erawan and is definitely worth the extra drive!