We all know that TLC told us “don’t go chasing waterfalls,” but here at The Asia Collective we can’t help but to disagree!
Among the abundance of waterfalls in Southeast Asia, we have rounded up the most beautiful ones you cannot miss while exploring the islands in paradise!
ERAWAN FALLS, THAILAND
This emerald coloured waterfall is situated in the Erawan National park in West Thailand, in the Tenasserim Hills of Kanchanaburi Province. Soak in its enchanting atmosphere and explore its different tiers which all lead to ponds full of fish.
TIP: Venture there on your own, rather than on a guided tour. It’s accessible by public transport.
KUANG SI FALLS, LUANG PRABANG, LAOS
This three tiered waterfall with a bridge atop is located south of Luang Prabang, beautifully hidden amidst the jungle. Skip the tours, leave your valuables behind and climb all the way to the top for a spectacular view of the falls cascading over limestone formations.
TIP: Don’t forget to check out the nearby Asiatic Black Bear Rescue Centre, which is home to a few dozen bears rescued from poachers and traffickers.
KUANG PHAPHENG FALLS, DON KHONG, LAOS
Located in Champassak province is the Khone Phapheng Falls, the largest waterfall by volume in Southeast Asia. With just a 15 minute walk to the viewing platform, Khone Phapheng Falls is regarded as the Niagara Falls of Asia.
TIP: Allocate more time than you think you would need to soak up the view of these majestic falls.
Mae Ya Waterfall (Namtok Mae Ya), Thailand
Two hours from Chiang Mai City you’ll find the Mae Ya Waterfall located within the Doi Inthanon National Park. With freshwater cascading down 30 tiers of rocks and magical mist curtains, Mae Ya Waterfall is the perfect place to pack a picnic and enjoy a leisurely afternoon.
TIP: It’s easily accessible but sturdy footwear is still recommended!
Wachirathan Waterfall, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The second waterfall of Doi Inthanon National Park is also not to be missed! Comprising part of the Himalayan mountain rage in Northwestern Thailand, Wachirathan Waterfall is easily accessible by a short trail just off the car park.
TIP: Take a closer look at the falls, and you might see a rainbow produced by the waterfall mist on a clear sunny day.
Detian-Banyue Falls, China/Ban Gioc Falls, Vietnam
The Detian-Banyue Falls is not one, but actually two waterfalls located between the Karst Hills of Daxin County and Trung Khanh District. Sharing the international border between China and Vietnam, the Detian-Banyue Falls can sometimes form into one giant fall during rainy seasons.
TIP: Check out the nearby market too, where you’ll hear a mix of Vietnamese and Chinese language simultaneously!
Kawasan Waterfalls, Philippines
If you haven’t come across this Instagram highlight yet it is about time! Located on Cebu Island in the Philippines, it is easily accessible via public transport or scooter. The 15-30minutes hike starts at the Matutinao Church and runs along the Kawasan river through the villages.
TIP: Because it’s very popular with locals and tourists, try to avoid venturing there on the weekends to beat the crowds, and do not give in to “guides” showing you the way – you cannot miss it!
Jembong Waterfall, Bali
Located in Central Bali this gem is close to the more popular – and also more crowded – Gitgit waterfall. Commercial tour agencies haven’t added it to their schedule yet so get there while it’s hot! We love its mystic vibe and this Instagram-worthy photo-opp. Time to get your yogi on!
TIP: Beat fellow adventurers and get there early to get an undisturbed shot!
Sekumpul Waterfalls, Bali
The seven waterfalls (Sekumpul means ‘group’ in Indonesian) are located close to the village of Sekumpul in the Singaraja region. You might have discovered the joys and freedom of riding a scooter – but if not, you can book a return driver for the ride (which is usually approx. 50-75US$) which takes roughly two hours from Seminyak.
TIP: Again, do not give in to “guides” claiming it is compulsory to book a tour to get there!
Tukad Cepung Waterfall, Bangli, Bali
This fairytale-like waterfall is located 30 kilometres north-west of Ubud is close to the Pura Dalem Penida Klod temple. It is easily accessible walking down 100 steps towards the river.
TIP: Save the hassle of finding the right turn and book a driver when staying in Ubud!
TEGENUNGAN WATERFALL, BALI
Located only 30 minutes from Denpasar, this waterfall is the only one located not in the highlands or mountains. You can either climb down to the fall, cross the river and climb up the fall again if you are feeling very adventurous! Or simply watch the water crashing down from the distance!
TIP: The best light to take photos is in the afternoon or evening as the waterfall is facing west!
Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep Waterfalls, Lombok
These two waterfalls are located a 3-hour drive north of Lombok International airport. The first one – Sending Gile – is located only a 15 minutes descend by foot from the park entrance (ignore the fact that you have to ascend again afterwards!). When venturing on to the second fall Tiu Kelep, the hike turns less steep and you can freely soak in the breathtaking nature in Mount Rinjani National park during the remaining 30 minutes.
TIP: Wear shorts as you have to walk through shallow water to get to the second waterfall and bring a waterproof bag for your valuables!
Are you a Southeast Asia regular and your favourite waterfall didn’t make the list? We’d love to hear from you in our The Asia Collective – Luxe Travellers group on Facebook – join to share your travel tips and ask for advice from the like-minded travellers.