Jungle Trekking in Thailand Solo
Jungle trekking in Thailand has always been a fascination to me. The thought of taking an Indiana Jones style adventure. Cutting away hanging vines with a machete while slowly working through the jungle to reveal the hidden Temple of Doom.
Now the trek to Kratengjeng Waterfall isn’t quite as extreme, but it isn’t very far off.
Kratengjeng Waterfall is located about 49 kilometers from Sangkhlaburi in the Khao Laem National Park. This is the far west of Kanchanaburi Province, past the floating Sai Yok Jungle Rafts but before the Three Pagodas Pass leading to Myanmar. The road signs for the waterfall are nothing obvious to be looking out for, so it’s best that you know where you’re going.
Make sure you know where to go by downloading your google maps pin here!
Driving through the national park headquarters on the back road we discreetly avoid the 200 THB foreigner entry fee. We head up the narrow dirt trail to the starting point of the jungle trek where the distances to various levels are marked out.
Heading Deep Into the Jungle
The jungle trek is 4.8 kilometers in total and should take at least 3 hours. This allows plenty of time to catch your breath, take a few photos and just enjoy the nature.
Getting this far off the track and into the jungle is an amazing experience in Thailand. The last time I’d been this deep into the jungle unguided was at the Phu Kaeng Waterfall in Chiang Rai.
After the first 50 meters the trail becomes so thick and overgrown that we realize this jungle trek is best done with closed shoes and long pants. There seems like plenty of chances for snake and spiders in here with no one to help if things turn bad.
The lower part of the jungle trek consists of a fairly flat trail winding through wild banana trees. The air is dense and humid, mosquitoes are rife in a place where Malaria is common, and the surrounding screeching of insects is almost deafening. This is the easy part.
About 1 kilometer into the trek the level of difficulty increases. The trail takes a sharp turn up a slippery mud slope. We reach the top using jungle vines in an abseiling like technique.
“if elephants come, I hide in there”
In multiple locations we pass by piles of elephant droppings. My Thai travel companion warns me “jungle elephants, if he comes I hide in there,” as he point to a tree that looks reasonably climbable. This adds to the anxiety of jungle trekking in Thailand, solo and un-contactable.
Reaching level three of the trek is a great relief. Finally some cool running water to wash away the sweat and mud accumulated. This is also a beautiful place to relax out in the middle of the jungle.
We continue deeper into the midst of Thailand’s dense jungle. From here the trail crosses back and forth over the river multiple times and seems to vanish. In some places the route markers are so hidden that we are only guided by distant wooden ladders hiding among the over growth. Where the trail disappears completely we choose to walk directly upstream.
where the trail disappears completely we walk upstream.
Getting to the top the upper levels of Kratengjeng Waterfall are in one word, amazing.
The cool water streams though the dense jungle growth accumulating into waist deep swimming ponds.
The nearby Erawan National Park and Waterfall is crowded on weekends. Here there is absolutely no one around, we have the entire place to ourselves.
After enjoying the tranquil settings for a good hour we notice the dark clouds rolling overhead. This is the wet season, a dangerous time to be stranded out jungle trekking in Thailand alone when the rain comes down full force.
We decide to make a quick retreat back to the car before the stream becomes a flash flood and the trail becomes totally unrecognizable.
Tips on Trekking Kratengjeng Waterfall
- Pack some sturdy closed shoes, flip flops will fail quick
- The hardest part is getting to the start of the trail. Get the exact location with your google maps pin here
- Allow at least 3 hours for the full trail
- Bring plenty of water and some snacks, the last shops are in Sangkhlaburi almost 50km away
- Take only photos and leave only footprints. One of the most beautiful things about Kratengjeng Waterfall is that there’s no rubbish lying around, please don’t change this!
If you have any more questions on how to go jungle trekking in Thailand solo, just drop a comment in the section below.