Last Saturday we spent the day at Pala-U waterfalls with a friend, our wives and kids and enough food in our picnic baskets to survive several days in the jungle.
Pala-U is a 15 tier waterfall, located about 60 km west of Hua Hin, at the south end of Kaeng Krachan national park. Going there is easy, as there are signs all along the way. From Cha-am, you can either go to Hua Hin or take the bypass road (the branch of Phetkasem that goes to Pranburi), then turn right on road 3218 (in the direction of Huay Mongkon temple) and then follow the signs along roads 3219 and 4038.
As the waterfall is located in a national park, there is an entrance fee. Only 40 baht for the Thais, but 200 baht if you are a foreigner, as you are obviously so rich that you can afford to pay 5 times more than the locals. I showed my work permit and my friend his Thai driving licence, which got us the Thai price. They made it clear that they were making a generous exception just for us, and that we shouldn’t tell anyone or report to their bosses. Yes, sure, whatever… Entrance for kids is free, but they charged 30 baht for each car.
The waterfall boasts 15 levels, but only very few people go to the top, as it is quite physical and you have to know what you are doing. The kids went up to the second level, and my friend and I reached the 4th level. The path can be steep and slippery, and sometimes you have to cling to a rope to keep on progressing. So it’s better to wear proper shoes or good sandals, not flip-flops, and you have to be in good physical shape.
There is no restaurant or shop at the bottom of the waterfall, but there are tables and a sala close to the parking lot, so you can have a picnic there and that’s what we did, laying out mats on the floor and taking out all our stuff. For once we hadn’t forgotten anything, so we had a good time. No dogs and no monkeys to bother us (though some monkeys can be seen along the road), only wasps were a bit of a problem. My wife said she saw a sign saying that you’re not supposed to bring alcohol on the premises, but I didn’t fall into that obvious trap and I had a nice cold beer anyway, while the kids were feeding fish and chasing butterflies.
We saw a few people swimming, but we didn’t find a real quiet spot for the kids, so we gave it a miss. Don’t look for signs allowing or forbidding swimming, as there are none.
On the way back we had planned to visit Hua Hin Hills vineyard, but my friend ran short of gas and we lost some time looking for a station, so eventually we had to give up the idea. My wife switched on ranting mode until we ended up at Market Village where I bought her the new phone I had promised her. It cost me an arm and a leg, but I haven’t heard about the vineyard since!