Khlong Jaak waterfall is about a 20 minute scooter ride south from long beach and is an easy hike that can be done in about two hours. The place was easy to find, since there are so many signs near the road that advertise tours for the waterfall. However, by now we are experienced travelers and know if you take some time to research things yourself you don’t need a guide to show you the sights!
The waterfalls are free to enter and the only thing you have to pay for is parking for your motorbike (20 baht) or car (40 baht). The young woman who was behind the car took our 20 baht and told us to follow the signs and watch out for animals on the ground because “it is a jungle out there”. Since I had been living only in sandals since stepping foot in Thailand, I spent the entire hike nervously watching my step so I didn’t step on a snake, thanks young Thai woman!
The signs were handmade and pretty easy to follow. We followed a dirt road away from the parking lot, walked past a elephant trekking company, and a Rastafarian bar that was closed up for the season before seeing the first waterfall sign. Shortly after climbing the steps below, we saw a lizard the length of my body crawling up the side of the hill in a hurry. Holy hell, we were legit in the jungle.
We followed the paths in the jungle, which were really just dirt paths that had been walked over numerous times and rocks across the river stream that we had to guess was the right direction. I tried to use my outdoor knowledge that I had acquired over the years of canoeing with my family in the midwest, which is pretty much just follow the flow of the river. Or, in our case…follow the opposite of the flow of the river, which will lead you to the waterfall!
The hike was beautiful and filled with insects and animals every step of the way; with each turn there was a butterfly flying away and lizards slithering up trees and gliding over our heads. The jungle was so quiet that it was almost eerie to hear a leaf fall or insect move around you. At any moment, I was expecting a monkey to jump out and try to steal the Gatorade I was holding (it wouldn’t have been the first time on the trip we have been a witness to that)! At one point in the hike, we came across a fork in the road and had to make a decision since there were no signs. For any of you doing this hike in the future, GO LEFT.
After we turned left here (out of pure luck I might add), we crossed the river and found the bat caves! No really, you can hear the bats in there if you stand there long enough. I personally was a bit freaked out, especially after having bats fly less than one inch above my head in Guatemala, so I did not venture too far into the caves. However, even just standing a few feet back from them and taking in the beauty of the caves is enough for me. I was amazed at how the trees and rocks had formed together and created something so beautiful. It was also super creepy to be in a jungle alone and coming upon a cave, I legit felt like I was Indiana Jones and I was loving it!
After leaving the caves behind, we continued on our adventure in the jungle and continued to follow our way along the river. At this point, there were so many different trails along the river that in order to not get lost, we just followed the bank of the river until we came across the waterfall. Now, being as we did the hike in early May and the beginning of the dry season was well on its way there was absolutely no waterfall to be found. Well, there were a few droplets of water coming from the bottom of the rock, but we definitely came at the wrong time of the year for this. Nevertheless, it was a great hike and if you are looking for an adventure in the jungle I would recommend it (plus its free). For those of you that are smart enough and have the wallets and patience for coming to Thailand during the wet season (aka busy season of Nov-Feb), I would check it out as well because I hear from other travelers that taking a dip in this waterfall feels amazing!
Happy travels in Thailand!