(Click here for more posts about Huai Luang)
As promised, this is the first in a long series of posts about waterfalls in Ubon Ratchathani and surrounding areas. Huai Luang Waterfall (น้ำตกห้วยหลวง, Royal Stream), also known as Bak Tew Waterfall (น้ำตกบักเตว), is a 40 meter waterfall in Phu Jong Na Yoi National Park of Southern Ubon. Whenever I mention Huai Luang to local friends, they usually respond with “oh, you mean Bak Tew.” Bak Tew is Khmer for “Beautiful Room” and when you’re down by the waterfall that description makes a lot of sense. Bak Tew is also the name of a man who supposedly committed suicide by jumping off the waterfall due to a broken heart. Poor guy. Call it what you will, it’s still a spectacular place to visit even when it’s just a trickle in dry season. From downtown Ubon it takes around 2 hours to get there (less if the traffic is good or you drive fast). It is 128 kilometers from the intersection on the ring road that heads South to Det Udom. If possible, go on a weekday and leave early in the morning so that when you arrive, the sun is shining on the waterfall. If you wait until afternoon, the sun goes behind the cliff and it’s not quite as spectacular and the water feels colder.
Even when the falls are larger than pictured above, you can easily climb up on the rocks close to the waterfall itself. Yes, there is a sandy beach in that picture.
When you arrive at the entrance to the hike, there is a large area for parking, decent bathrooms, a few food stalls and a park building with pictures of the national park. There used to be a topographical model of the area but it wasn’t there recently. After you enter through the park building you’ll come to a viewpoint overlooking the waterfall.
The hike down isn’t too bad. It’s 232 steps and only takes about 10-15 minutes. If it’s wet, be very careful as the stairs get slippery. I learned the hard way and have since ordered a new pair of waterproof hiking shoes that actually have traction.
The rock in the middle is ok for jumping off this time of year but make sure you swim down below and all around the area you intend to jump to make sure there are no rocks!
I’ve seen quite a variety of insects in this area; especially a lot of butterflies. There is also a large number of small fish in the shallow areas that like to nibble at your toes. Bring a little bread with you if you want to feed the fish.
There is a trail off to the right of the entrance to the waterfall but unfortunately a big rain storm came through and my company wasn’t interested in doing anymore hiking. I guess this is just another trip on my list of places to hike. You can see some of the hike in this video. It goes up behind the waterfall and according to the map there is even a route that goes all the way to the border. I don’t know how possible this is or if it’s maintained though. Maybe I can snag MeMock away from his family later this year and hike the whole thing!
The price at all national parks is as follows per person. The vehicle is an additional charge as well. I always complain about the high price and get 100b. Only once have I paid the 30b car fee on top of it. Prices are supposed to be as follows.
40b – THAI adult
20b – THAI child
200b – Foreigner adult
100b – Foreigner child
10b – Bicycle
20b – Motorcycle
30b – 4 Wheel Vehicle
100b – 6 Wheel Vehicle
200b – 10 Wheel Vehicle
My video and pictures and links to other pages are below. Click here to download the latest map of Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park for viewing in Google Earth.
View Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park อุทยานแห่งชาติภูจองนายอย in a larger map