Are Phuket waterfalls worth visiting?
The waterfalls of Phuket are not impressive, especially during high season when the lack of rain reduces the stream to a trickle, and only three waterfalls are significant. But like anywhere in the world, even a small stream of water never fails to attract kids, families and couples during the weekend.
You should also know that the two largest waterfalls are inside national parks, and therefore an entry fee of 200 baht per person (plus car fee) will be required at the gate. Not everyone is happy about this fee and some consider it rather high, but that is the law. Those waterfalls are Bang Pae, on the eastern part of Phuket, and Ton Sai Waterfall located further north, not far from Thalang Town on the way to Phuket airport.
Kathu Waterfall is well-known and is relatively small, but at least you don’t have to pay anything to enjoy it. If you go during the raining season and you find the path to the upper levels, it can be quite charming. A very small and not well-known cascade can be reached just past Panwa beach, but it’s not worth going. Outside Phuket, things get a lot nicer, and we’ll add more waterfalls as we discover them.
Bang Pae, the largest and most popular Waterfall in Phuket, is 18 meters high and many locals come on weekends with their kids to cool down in the stream. Teenagers come for a romantic escape and often enjoy jumping from the rocks above into the water – something to avoid as accidents are not uncommon. You’ll find local shops selling snacks and soft drinks past the entrance of the park but remember that alcohol is not allowed inside the park. Don’t miss Piang Prai, an excellent local restaurant in front of the park!
Bang Pae is near the east coast, in the central part of Phuket, about 20 kilometres from Phuket Town. As it is part of the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, a 200 Baht fee per person is required on arrival. Bang Pae is also home to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project.
Kathu waterfall is actually quite lovely during rainy season as water cascades down four levels through the green jungle. This waterfall is on every Phuket map and very well indicated on the road when approaching Patong. It’s very popular with kids and parents who love to play in the stream while enjoying some local food sold in street carts and small stalls around.
There is no entrance fee as Kathu Waterfalls are not in a national park. If you visit during high season, don’t be surprised if the stream has become small. If you are in the area you can also try the Phuket Wake Park Cable Ski, and the very popular Flying Hanuman zipline.
Tonsai is the second largest waterfall on the island, part of the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. This once again means that you will have to pay a 200 baht fee per person to enter. Tonsai has a decent stream during the rainy season but it becomes tiny during high season. Overall, it’s not very impressive and may not really worth the 200 baht entry fee.
✳️ Ao Yon Waterfall (Ton Ao Yon)
Not very well known and rather hard to find, Ao Yon waterfall is only visited by a few locals who seem to enjoy drinking and dating by the water on weekends. To get there drive along Panwa beach, then pass Ao Yon Beach and you will reach a small rocky bay. The road leading to the waterfall is on the opposite side of this bay, follow it for a few kilometres.
Waterfalls outside Phuket
✳️ Ton Phrai Waterfall
Ton Phrai is one of the nicest waterfalls outside Phuket island and it’s not too far if you have a car to drive there. Spending a hot afternoon bathing here with a beer or cold drink is a fun way to end the day, and take some nice selfies to share with friends.
To get there, drive out of Phuket and drive about 50 km to the Khao Lampee Thai Muang National Park. A short walk then leads to the large pool and magnificent waterfalls. Alternatively, some Eco-tours and bike tours include Ton Phrai in their itinerary.