I always love exploring Krabi to find places where very few people tread. In these pockets, life is flourishing and pulsating at the same rhythm it has since many ages. One of these pockets is in the jungle behind Hoi Toh waterfall in Krabi, which is inside the Khao Phanom Bencha national park.
Khao Phanom Bencha is large 50 km² national park that few visit when exploring Krabi, and even fewer who take the time to explore it properly. The main attraction is the lower waterfall. The waterfall at this point is spread over 5 steps cascading 80m. This is what most see when they come here. Beyond the main 4 waterfall-steps there are actually 10 more steps nearby, and many more deeper in the jungle
“the dog slide” trail
Starting near the waterfall is the “Nature Trail” and at the visitor center is a small trail “the dog slide”. They will lead you around the jungle and bring you to a small viewpoint. At some point the two trails connect, there are signs so don’t worry. Beware though, on some parts of the trail there are fallen trees which you need to navigate around.
The length of the trail including viewpoint is about 2.7km one way, with a max altitude of 540m. So it’s only recommended if you are in fairly good shape and have hiking experience. Very few, if any people will be on the trail with you, so if something happens, it could be problematic.
The trail is great, but even more I love exploring the area around the trail and following the river deep into the jungle. Though to get to them you need to be comfortable going off the trail and be able to do some easy climbing/ scrambling. If you walk in the river there are actually no mosquito’s, though as soon as you go into the jungle there will be plenty, especially in the monsoon season.
Just before you reach the 4th step at the main waterfall the Nature Trail goes up into the jungle. This connects with the dog slide trail higher up. To go to the view point you must go left. This will take you to the 12th step of the waterfall, where you have to cross the river to get to the view point. I like following the river from this point deep into the jungle.
the hidden waterfall
If you want to see the hidden waterfall (step 6 through to 11), then don’t follow the trail at first. On top of the 4th step there is a small pool with another waterfall, here you need to stay on the left side of the river and scramble up the rocks, Then you cross the river again, and scramble some more until you reach the hidden waterfall. From here you need to go up into the jungle to reconnect with the Nature Trail going to the viewpoint.
When exploring Krabi this is an awesome way to spend the day, especially since you will be cooled by walking in the river, and there are plenty of places to take a break. Also there are many great places to refresh yourself with a swim and a shower under a waterfall.
It’s almost hypnotic when treading through the water, hoping from rock to rock, your mind immersed and serenaded by the sounds of the cicadas and the sound of the river. Check the time when u start walking, and then make sure you have enough time to return. Enjoy exploring Krabi !!!.
what to bring
You need a decent pair of walking shoes plus another pair for the river. Like dive or beach booties, if you don’t have that, then a pair if old trainers will do. Also: waterproof bag, extra clothes (packed in a plastic bag), lots to drink, food and snacks, rain poncho in monsoon season, walking stick (very important because the river bottom is uneven and slippery), and a First aid kit.
when to go exploring Krabi
You can come here all year and go exploring Krabi, but you must be careful in monsoon season because of flash floods. Sometimes the national park will close the waterfall when water levels are too high. Best time is probably Oct-June, but end of the high season water levels will be quite low, which is also not so nice. In general seasons have become very irregular in recent years and you can’t count on them anymore. To visit the waterfall best come early in the morning Mon-Fri, be here like at 9am. Also try and avoid national holidays.
It’s the jungle!!!, so there are a few dangers. As mentioned above the flash floods. Always be careful on the rocks as you can slip and sprain or twist something. Last is wildlife, such as Poisonous snakes. There are cobras, vipers, and Kraits to be found. I have seen a cobra next to the river here!!!. Just walk slowly and carefully, nothing wants to bite you, it’s just self-defense. Make lots of noise when you walk. Also there are leeches in the monsoon season. Remember to always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
how to get here
The best way to get here and go exploring Krabi in general is to rent a motorbike. If you cant do this then you have to rent a taxi to bring you and pick you up.
national park info
- Opening times are 8:30am to 4:30 pm daily and all year round including holidays.
- The entrance fees for foreigners are 100 THB for adults and 50 THB for children, cars to be charged with 30 THB.
- There are tents available for rent from 225 THB for 3 people or 810 THB for 8 a person tent. Sleeping sets costs 60 THB per person. There are no proper showers in the bathrooms, but there is a big basin with bowls to take a bath from the old way. There are also few bungalows available for rent with fan or a/c; fan alternative for 2 people 600 THB, fan alternative for 4 people 1,200 THB, a/c alternative for 2 people 1,000 THB, a/c alternative for 4 people 2,000 THB. A significant discount will apply when booked for Mon-Thu.