These must-visit waterfalls in mainland Southeast Asia or Indochina are breathtaking.
If you are a traveler in Southeast Asia, you know that the Indochina has a lot of things to offer, from beaches to temples, from bustling cities to exotic places, and many more.
I hope you can visit one of these waterfalls in your travels!
Popokvil Waterfall in Bokor National Park, Cambodia
The Popokvil Waterfall in Bokor National Park in Cambodia is definitely one of the country’s most beautiful waterfalls. A visit to the waterfall is a real experience, especially during the rainy season when the river is abundantly filled with water.
The Popokvil waterfall is located in the Bokor National Park in southern Cambodia. The easiest way to get there is on a day trip from the city of Kampot. You can either rent a scooter or a car or join a tour to visit the waterfall. Some even come here by bike, but you should be quite fit to drive up the mountain to the waterfall.
A small entrance fee will be required to reach the waterfall. But the entrance usually also contains a cup of juice.
As we explored the waterfall, we met loads of Cambodian monks who also went to see the waterfall, which was really impressive and added to the area’s calming atmosphere. But there is more to discover in Bokor National Park than just the waterfall. The old French casino on the top of the mountain is particularly popular. But there is also more great nature, temples, and a huge Buddha statue to see on the way up.
– Vicki, vickiviaja.com
Katieng falls in Cambodia
While at 10 meters Ka Tieng might not sound like the most breathtaking waterfall out there, if you are traveling in Cambodia, it’s definitely worth a visit. The best part about it is that it doesn’t get as crowded as the Kachang waterfall, the other waterfall on the same river, and it is in a serene forest setting.
During my stay as a digital nomad in Cambodia, I traveled to many off-the-beaten-path places in this beautiful country.
The name of Ka Tieng comes from the Kreung hill tribe in Ka Kieng village. At 7 kilometers south-west of Banlung Town in Ratanakiri province, it is surrounded by a big forest.
Ka Tieng falls and flows throughout the year. You can totally go up close crawling over the carved out rocks. However, the falls are best viewed from below. There is a huge pool below well worth a great swim. Oh, and there is an elephant living out there. You can feed it. And in case you are interested, there are elephant rides available from the elephant village of Phume Kateung, north of the falls.
To get there, you can take a tuk-tuk from Banlung. However, The road to the waterfall is muddy. You may need to walk the last 300m or so. You can also rent a motorbike to go there.
– Deb, thevisaproject.com
Kanching Waterfall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
After just a few moments at the Kanching Falls, it was a surprise that these falls rarely make it travel guides for Kuala Lumpur. It was in fact a coincidence that we found it, after searching for local rainforest areas to take a hike. The falls are situated in the heart of a small rainforest just outside the city. The park has footpaths that have been made to help you reach the beautiful falls. Reaching the falls is fairly easy via car or taxi and you will arrive at the start of the walkway within 30minutes of the main city. With a trip of about 25km, the taxi ride will cost you approximately $15.
Once you have arrived at the falls, the first level welcomes you with a crystal clear water pool. Shallow enough for all to swim in or just relax and do some sunbathing. The footpath has been made to take you the 3rd level of the falls, whilst hiking takes you to the 7th layer at the beginning of the falls.
Just spending your day walking through the rainforest is a great sensory and calming experience. Have your cameras ready, as you will encounter plenty of the resident monkeys, but keep your belongings safe as they are known to grab any loose bits of food in open bags.
– Manpreet, hellomanpreet.com
Ulu Geruntum Waterfall in Gopeng, Malaysia
Gopeng is a small town set only 20km south of Ipoh, West Malaysia’s third biggest city. Few people visit Ipoh, and even lesser go to Gopeng, regardless of the many adventure activities and things one can do there. The Ulu Geruntum waterfall is certainly one of the best: opened to tourism in 2005 by a pioneering local eco-tourism company called Nomad Adventure, this sloshing 10-meter-high waterfall has given local aborigines (orang asli) a way to earn an income as tourist guides. I recommend it because it not only is a very scenic place, but it also gives travelers a chance to understand that beyond its food culture and multi-ethnic cities, Malaysia hides tribal culture and a very beautiful nature.
Today Ulu Geruntum has become a famous site for abseiling and almost all tour operators in Gopeng offer this activity. You’ll descend from the falls tied to a rope as the water rushes all over you as you glide down. A tour is the easiest way to reach the falls, but you can also visit independently if you have your own wheels. The easiest way is renting a scooter or a car in Ipoh, and drive south along the Old Road 1 all the way to Gopeng. Make a stop at the local market for breakfast, and then drive into the interior along the scenic Jalan Sungai Itek. You’ll have to park your vehicle at the beginning of a 20-minutes-trek to reach the falls, where a nice swimming hole with a few natural water slides makes it worth visiting even if you are not interested in abseiling.
– Marco, marcoferrarese.com
Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang, Laos
With its azure waters cascading over limestone steps, Kuang Si Falls is easily one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Asia. Comprised of several different tiers of water, photos of Kuang Si Falls don’t quite do it justice. It’s one of those rare, incredible places that is actually better in person than in photos!
Located approximately 29 miles outside of Luang Prabang, Kuang Si Falls is easy to reach by tuk tuk, mini van, scooter or car. It is even possible to take a boat ride from Luang Prabang along the Mekong River to visit the falls, although this option is less popular.
The falls are open from 8am – 5pm daily and admission costs 20,000 LAK (approximately $2.20 USD). During wet season, particularly from July to August, the heavy rain fall can cause the falls to lose their vibrancy and become a muddy brown colour. Therefore, it’s best to visit during the drier season from December to April.
Try to arrive as early as possible to avoid the crowds, as this is a very popular waterfall. There are many parts of the falls where it is possible to swim. You may also get a free pedicure from the fish here that will take a gentle nibble at your feet! After making your way past many of the small tumbles and swimming holes, you will arrive at the main waterfalls; a spectacular 60m drop surrounded by lush jungle. There is also a small picnic area here so take a moment to enjoy some lunch with a view!
– Sophie, wedreamoftravel.com
Li Phi Falls in Don Khon, Laos
The Li Phi Falls-also known as Tat Somphamit- is a breathtaking Asian waterfall that you MUST visit whilst in the region.
The extremely powerful falls are located on Don Khon, one of the 4000 Islands in southern Laos. Unlike Laos’ popular Kuang Si Falls, Li Phi is virtually unknown- when we visited, we pretty much had the place to ourselves!
Li Phi falls can be easily reached via bicycle from Don Det, which is connected to Don Khon via a short bridge. The entrance to the falls area is close to the end of the bridge and can be found on any maps app. Aside from multiple sweet viewpoints, Li Phi also boasts a small beach, along with a few other swimming areas. Though it would be extremely dangerous to jump in the falls themselves, the designated areas are perfectly safe for cooling down.
The best time to visit Li Phi falls (and Don Det/Don Khon in general) would be from January- May when daily temperatures are at their best and rainfall at its most infrequent. During the rainy season, which spans from around June-November, the falls become notably stronger, but the water also becomes muddy. If you visit during peak season, you can expect to see the falls boasting an aquamarine color instead.
– Samantha, intentionaldetours.com
Dat Taw Gyaik waterfall in Pyin OO Lwin, Myanmar
Pyin OO Lwin is a former colonial town in central Myanmar. Whilst the town provides an interesting historical visit, the best natural site is located 9km south of the town, near Anisakan village. Anisakan is also the nickname given to Dat Taw Gyaik waterfall, which is hidden in the hills of a dense tropical forest.
The easiest way to reach the falls is by motorbike taxi from Pyin Oo Lwin. At the car park, you will be greeted by locals wishing to offer you their guiding services, but the walk to the base of the falls is very straightforward, albeit steep. Allow 45 minutes for the walk down and 1 hour for the hike back up.
At the bottom of the paved road, you will see the final cascade of this 3 tiered waterfall, which crashes into a plunge pool next to a small pagoda. After appreciating the full force of this thundering waterfall, trek up past the restaurants to the side of the falls and into the jungle above. Hiking shoes with a good grip is required for this diversion.
Follow the steep trails which lead to a viewpoint above the main falls and to secluded swimming pools of the upper tiers. It’s in these secluded pools where you can truly appreciate the turquoise waters which glimmer in the dappled sunlight of the forest. And it’s this tranquil spot that makes Anisakan one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.
– Lou, wanderingwelshgirl.com
Dee Doke waterfall in Myanmar
Dee Doke waterfall is located in Myanmar just over an hour’s drive southeast of Mandalay. What makes this waterfall so special is the creamy blue colour of the water in the surrounding lagoons. The lagoons get their colour from the limestone cliffs that run the length of the river in this region. If you’re feeling adventurous you can climb up the rocks and around the falls until you reach a small cave at the back of one of the swimming pools.
It’s best to get here early in the morning as the later into the day and the busier they get the water gets stirred up and you won’t get a chance to see their brilliant blue.
There are a couple of ways to get here, you can either hire a private guide which is quite costly, rent a scooter yourself or join a group tour. Renting a scooter is a good budget option if you are confident driving them in Asia and know the way (there are no signs). Otherwise do what I did and join a tour. The tours to the waterfall aren’t very popular (yet) but the Ostello Bello Hostel runs them daily. Even if you aren’t staying here the hostel will allow you to join the small groups they send out.
– Erin, curiouslyerin.com
Wachirathan Waterfall in Chiang Mai, Thailand
There are several waterfalls in Asia that capture your imagination but the Wachirathan waterfall in Chiang Mai, Thailand, takes the cake, the baker, and the bakery when it comes to natural beauty. It is one of the most breathtaking waterfalls that you’ll ever see and one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai.
Located in the Chom Thong district of Chiang Mai, the waterfall is situated next to Highway 1009 in the Ban Luang district. You can visit this attraction by car as part of your day trip to the famous Doi Inthanon National Park. Just purchase the tickets to the National Park and you can visit this waterfall for free. Entry fee is 300 Baht for an adult and 150 Baht for a child.
A small concrete path from the parking area leads you to the waterfall. The best part about this waterfall is that it ensures you have a shower since the sprays of water resulting from it’s strong flow start reaching you while on your way to the waterfall.
The Wachirathan waterfall, at a height of 80 metres, paints a stunning picture as it cascades over the cliff rocks like an organized white velvet curtain. The best part of the waterfall that makes it worthy of being on your bucket list is a rainbow that forms at the base of the waterfall.
Wachirathan, in the local language, means ‘Diamond Creek’, and the visual you get to see certainly justifies it’s name. There is a small hiking path near the waterfall that you can walk if you want to get close to the water pool below and get a feel of the place. Since the path is slippery, make sure you are wearing proper hiking shoes.
There are toilets and a small cafe near the parking area where you can relish a refreshing drink post enjoying your time at the waterfall.
– Vaibhav thewanderingvegetable.com
Erawan Waterfall in Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Erawan Waterfall is located in Kanchanaburi, Thailand – toward the western border of Myanmar. This was one of the most impressive waterfalls I’ve seen in all of Thailand, because this waterfall actually flows over seven different tiers of rocks and cliffs, creating seven different waterfalls within the one stretch of water. Every tier has its own unique shape and character, and as you hike farther upwards into the forest, you can keep count of which tier you have reached.
The pools created under the waterfalls are stunning, having a milky blue appearance and are home to tons of small fish. Swimming is allowed in the pools; be aware that you will definitely feel the fish on your feet and legs as they search for something to eat! The blue pools contrast beautifully against the green forest. This lush forest covers over 80% of the park.
Erawan Waterfall is located in the Tenasserim Hills and does require an entrance fee. Visitors must be able to endure a fairly easy hike up to see each tier. The heat and humidity make it slightly difficult but the hike itself is manageable. It is a beautiful place to spend a day exploring, combining lush forest, beautiful pools, and a nice hike.