First stop, Khao Yai National Park where we had seen photo’s of a handful of potential sweet waterfalls. Jackpot, our first stop was at Heaw Suwat Waterfall (‘Nam tok’ in Thai). The 50ft drop was at a decent level and there were more waterfalls that looked good to go in the photos we’d seen above those falls.
We unloaded our boats all excited to finally be kayaking and on a good drop at that. That was until we got told off by the park police….we tried our best yarns but they weren’t having it and we had to leave mega disappointed.
But it wasn’t over, we’d be back and while we plotted our return we checked out some of the biggest Thailand had to offer.
Like a bad horror movie, we ignored the signs across the trail that said no entry, due to presence of wild animals, and holding our tripods and umbrellas as weapons, we made our way down the trail at dusk in a deserted park , eyes peeled for tigers , elephants and snakes and found a mega huge waterfall at the top. Again we skirted round a sign written in Thai and walked through the barbed wire pillars down another trail to Heaw Narok Waterfall, a two-stage 100 to 100ftr with a transition –of death between them.
So, we had wondered why people we had seen earlier were wearing Gators and long pants while we were in boardies and Jandals, turns out it was for the leeches, when we got to the waterfall, we discovered leeches and worms had attached themselves to our feet and naturally freaked. The waterfall was beautiful but we would have to set our sights on the drop below these, hard to gauge from where we were but was getting dark so have to leave that for another day when we found a way to paddle in the park. By the time we made it back to the car, peeling leeches and worms off us, slipping in the mud, and the fear of wild animals (especially cause the scent of blood was now on us from the leeches) freaking us out, it was almost dark. No paddling today…but we might have got just as much of an adrenalin rush from the walk….here’s hoping for better luck tomorrow…stupid park rules.
After a night in a sketchy guest house with plastic sheets and a complimentary condom, we left Petcha Buri optimistic that today we would have more luck.
We avoided the national park since it costs us $50/day to enter and they won’t let us kayak anyway and checked out some other drops. Luckily Thailand loves their waterfalls and they are often marked on the road map and there are heaps of signs (with pictures so we can read them). It wasn’t long before we found a stretch we could paddle. Thanthip waterfall and rapids, not huge but still fun and we were all really glad to finally get in our boats. The shores were lined with locals, swimming and we had a big crowd including some dudes in uniform. Unfortunately I found a rock in the main drop and put a dent in the front of my boat, should pop out easy but was a bit of a surprise landing, lucky it wasn’t higher. The rest of the afternoon we spent driving round looking for more drops, plenty to look at but nothing more to paddle yet. They have foreigners rates to view a lot of the drops which is about $9pp so is getting a bit frustrating but we have a lot more to look at, it’s part of exploring, we’ve just gotta find those gems.