Wachirathan Waterfall in Doi Inthanon, Thailand

Wachirathan Waterfall is a very accessible cascade within Doi Inthanon National Park in Northern Thailand.

I visited Wachirathan, also locally named Nam tok Vachirathan on an epic Chiang Mai day trip to Doi Inthanon National Park and highly recommend making a stop here. Even though it can be quite a busy waterfall since it is easy to reach via a short detour from the main road leading up to Doi Inthanon, the highest point in Thailand.

In this blog post, I’ll detail the options for how to get here and what to expect once you arrive based on my experience.

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By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

Where Is Wachirathan Waterfall

Wachirathan Waterfall flows on the “Klang River” which is the same river as the popular Sirithan Waterfall. The falls are situated within Doi Inthanon National Park and accessible via a short detour from the route to the summit of Doi Inthanon.

The waterfall is located approximately 83 kilometers (about 51 miles) southwest of Chiang Mai Old Town. For those starting their journey from the historical Tha Phae Gate, expect a travel time of around 1.5 to 2 hours via Highway 1009 (Chom Thong-Inthanon Road).

How To Get To Wachirathan Waterfall

The best way to get to Wachirathan Waterfall is to book the popular Doi Inthanon day trip from Chiang Mai. This tour is how I visited this waterfall from Chiang Mai since it provided convenient transport and a local knowledgeable guide that took us to many other attractions in the park.

How to Visit the Doi Inthanon Waterfalls Independently

If you don’t want to book a tour and would prefer to visit Wachirathan Waterfall independently, then I recommend renting a car or motorbike in Chiang Mai and drive in around 1.5 hours.

Car rentals in Chiang Mai cost between 1,000- 1,500 THB a day, and motorbikes are slightly more affordable at around 200-300 THB per day.

From Chiang Mai, you can expect an 83 km (36 miles) drive southwest following Highway 108 towards Chom Thong, then switch to Highway 1009 (Chom Thong-Inthanon Road). Continue up the road, passing the National Park Entrance and Mae Klang Waterfall. 13 kilometers past this first waterfall, you’ll see the sign and a turn-off to your right.

Continue down this road for 100 meters or so and you’ll arrive at the large parking lot for Wachirathan Waterfall.

My Experience Visiting Wachirathan Waterfall

Wachirathan Waterfall was the second waterfall that we visited on the day trip from Chiang Mai. Luckily, our tour left early in the morning from the city, which meant that the parking lot and falls were quiet with only a few other groups when we arrived.

This waterfall is very accessible and requires only a short walk of 50 meters or so to reach the main viewpoint. Wachirathan translates to “Diamond Creek” in Thai and it’s obvious why when you see the sunlight hitting the mist created by the powerful flow.

This cascade is the most powerful waterfall we visited in Doi Inthanon National Park. It drops roughly 80 meters in multiple streams down a scenic granite escarpment surrounded by lush, green jungle. There is a primary stream on the left side of the waterfall with some beautiful streams on the right side.

Below it, there is a permanent rainbow that creates a magnificent scene that is great for photos.

From the main viewpoint area leading up from the parking lot, you can walk left to the upper viewpoint beside the falls, or right to continue on a short walking loop down along the river and back to the parking lot.

Upper Viewpoint

We decided to walk up to the left viewpoint first. This is very close but provides a unique perspective of the falls. We spent about 10 minutes here admiring the flow and taking photos.

Wachirathan Waterfall Trail

To make the most of this visit, we took the scenic walking trail down to the river. This leads right from the main viewpoint and drops down a steep set of steps to the rocky banks directly below the waterfall.

This first section offers a great vantage point of the waterfall since you’ll be directly below it.

From here, the trail turns downstream away from the falls for roughly 500 meters before finishing at a small undercover cafe near the parking lot. Along the way there are great opportunities for photos and we had the trail basically to ourselves since most other visitors were sitting in the cafe or posing for photos at the main viewpoint.

FAQ About Wachirathan Waterfall

Can I swim at the waterfall?

No, you cannot swim at Wachirathan Waterfall. There are several signs indicating no swimming and a rope that you are not allowed to cross.

Are there facilities at the falls?

Yes, there is a large parking lot as well as ample male and female toilets. At the parking lot, you’ll also find many food stalls selling everything from local snacks to fruit shakes.

How long should I spend at Wachirathan Waterfall?

Typically, most travelers and tours from Chiang Mai spend around 30 minutes to 1 hour at the waterfall. This allows time to view the waterfall from the main viewpoint, explore the upper viewpoint, and perhaps take a short walk along the river. We spent about 45 minutes here before continuing on.

What is the best time to visit Wachirathan Waterfall?

The best time to visit is during the early morning to avoid crowds, especially if you are visiting independently. The lighting is also great for photography at this time since the soft light rises over the tree canopies casting a golden glow on the falls. In terms of the time of year, I recommend visiting in October or November, around the end of the wet season as the jungle is green and the water is powerful

Is there an entrance fee to visit?

Wachirathan Waterfall is located within Doi Inthanon National Park, so an entrance fee of 300 THB to the park applies. This fee supports the maintenance and preservation of the park’s facilities and natural beauty.

More Thailand Travel Blogs

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this useful travel guide to visiting Wachirathan Waterfall!

If you have any updates for this blog post, or anything you’d like to share with other travelers, let me know in the comments! I reply to every single one.

In the meantime, check out some of my other Thailand travel guides for more inspiration for your trip.