Thailand is well known for its natural beauty in terms of beaches, mountains and gorgeous waterfalls. Yet many of these popular pretty spots can be overflowing with tourists. These crowds can ruin your experience but of course, many of these honeypots are popular for a reason. Yet there are still some incredible hidden gems in Thailand to discover. Whilst this waterfall is not completely unknown, nor is it the tallest in the region, this natural beauty had a special quality to it. This particular waterfall took our breath away and we barely saw anyone else during our visit! Read on to see why we fell in love with the Khun Korn Waterfalls just outside of Chiang Rai.
Getting to the Khun Korn Waterfall
The Khun Korn waterfalls are just 30 km outside the northern city of Chiang Rai. We combined our visit to the falls with a trip to the incredible White Temple, Wat Rong Khun, beforehand. Whilst you could hire a taxi from the city centre, a scooter is the best way to get there. Expect to pay around 150-200 Baht for the day plus fuel for a scooter from the city centre.
In order to drive in Thailand, you need to obtain an international driving permit (IDP 1949) before you leave. This allows you to drive legally in Thailand. You can be fined, like we were in Chiang Mai, for not having this.
Weave your way into the narrow valleys after your trip to the White Temple. The start of the waterfall trail is well signposted from the roads and can be found on maps.me. As the tarmac road snakes through the mountain it abruptly stops. You have now arrived at the start of your adventure!
Park your bike in the car park and leave anything you don’t need in the scooter. Cover bare limbs with mosquito spray to protect yourself from the hungry insects and enter the jungle.
Once you park your scooter, follow the river until you reach the falls. This map shows you where the Khun Korn Waterfall is.
How much does it cost to visit the Khun Korn Waterfalls?
Smile as you realise that there is no entrance fee required to visit the Khun Korn waterfall!
How difficult is the hike to the waterfall?
A small hike is required to reach the majestic falls. The entire route from the car park to the falls is just 1.4km. There is something very rewarding about having to work to reach your goal. Whilst the hike is not particularly difficult there are certain factors that can make walking in this part of the world more demanding. The oppressive humidity can take its toll. The monsoon rains cause the sandy path to turn to mud creating interesting conditions for your sandals to battle. I would very much recommend hiking sandals, trainers or hiking boots. Flip flops would not fair well on this route. Also, the constant swatting of bugs can be an annoyance.
Yet the walk through the lush and exotic wilderness banishes all feelings of negativity. The muddy path leads you through beautiful jungle. Gigantic bamboo trees soar into the sky and create leafy green arches protecting hikers from the fierce sun or sheltering them from the heavy rains. Our visit coincided with the end of monsoon season meaning we were grateful of the latter! Yet the rains kept other visitors away as we saw only one other couple whilst walking through the squelching mud and over the many streams. I enjoyed the shallow streams as I could stand in the clear water and wash
We not only saw gorgeous bamboo groves and pretty streams but various other forms of flora and fauna. We saw leaves far bigger than either of our heads! Furthermore, the ancient trees made us feel as if we had entered the world of Jurassic
The mighty Khun Korn Waterfalls
Alex and I could hear the Khun Korn falls long before we could see it. The thunderous torrent grew louder as we reached the end of the 1.4km hike through the jungle. When you reach the first viewing platform of the falls you are left in sheer amazement.
Our visit was in early October which is still monsoon season in the north of Thailand. None of the photos I had seen online of the falls resembled the majestic white-water spectacle that awaited us in the jungle. The seasonal rains rushed over the rocky precipice and dived 70m into the shallow pool below. The shower above us had ceased. As if by magic the sunrays appeared and shone brightly onto the waterfall. The cool waters glistened in the light and we were left quite breathless. Our walk was well and truly worth the reward of this view.
Whilst the rain above us had stopped, we could still feel droplets on our skin. The spray could be felt from this viewpoint. We attempted to get closer to this beauty and the misty spray only intensified. After a few photos, we quickly dried the DSLR camera and cursed ourselves at forgetting our GoPro! The backpack was placed in a reasonably dry spot to try and protect it. I choose to take off my shirt in an attempt to keep it reasonably dry. The cool water was embraced and allowed to brush against my freckles. I smiled as the fresh water was a delightful relief from the tyrannical humidity. Gingerly we tried to make our way closer. The spray was too much for Alex who was already completely soaked. I carried on down as far as I dared.
I did not go all the way down to the pool at the bottom of the falls but instead stood at a relatively flat section a little way down and faced the ferocious spray. It was as if I was standing in front of a giant horizontal shower and was drenched from head to toe. Buckets of water were being thrown at me. This traveller laughed
I climbed back up to Alex and looked around. No one else at the falls. We kissed and giggled. The walk had been worth it.
Soon afterwards a few more hikers arrived and were equally as stunned. After a few more photos and videos we knew we had to leave this incredible place. Yet we will always remember the awesomeness of the Khun Korn Falls.
When is the best time to visit the Khun Korn Waterfall?
We would highly recommend a visit to the Khun Korn Falls. Go as early as you can and preferably on a weekday as this place is very popular with both tourists and locals at weekends. I believe the falls must be incredible in any season. Whilst swimming would have been potentially dangerous given the strength of the water at the time of year we visited it must be amazing to swim there. Yet I was happy we had visited during monsoon season as the falls were at the fullest and most beautiful.
Would you like to visit these falls? Let us know in the comments below!