For this has been a truly lazy Sunday after a long time, I almost did not post anything. But then old habits die hard. So for this lazy Sunday I present the Haew Suwat Waterfall from Khaoyai, Thailand.
Khaoyai National Park is a beautiful lush green area. You can take your own car inside the park. I am not sure if you can take them on the trails though. We pretty much stayed in the main area and didn’t take the detours. But we did take the park vehicle in the evening to go on a night trail!
There are steps leading down to the waterfall and swimming is prohibited in the natural pool. It was good to sit down, take off my shoes and put my feet in water. This waterfall is inside the Khaoyai National Park, about two and a half hours from Bangkok. It was quite popular with the locals. There were many people at the waterfall enjoying the scenic view.
I was quite excited about the night safari in the park. We were standing at the back of an open vehicle and started on our safari. The weather looked ominous and I was quite worried about my camera. I asked around and secured a poly bog, just in case it rained.
And rain it did! It literally poured down like anything. The front of the vehicle had a cabin and it suddenly became a very attractive place for everyone. I passed on my camera inside quickly but I was not too keen to go in. But as our guide was a lady and she too would not go in as a courtesy I gave up after 5 minutes.
Once inside the cabin I realized how cold it was actually to stand in that tropical downpour even for five minutes. My teeth were chattering all the time! Our guide probably saved me from getting a nasty cold!
I love walking, there is so therapeutic about it. To me a nice holiday always includes a walk. And the holiday with Hail Himalayas (on invitation) was super nice because it included a trek to a waterfall. It was a nice, clear day with blue skies. While walking it is also never too cold. Jeevak, Vinod and I did the Waterfall Trek with the Hail Himalayas. Vinod was the local boy, our guide.
It was a fascinating trek in a way. The path crisscrossed a shallow stream. The only way to cross the stream was by leaping from one stone to another. I have already fallen once with my camera in sea, I had no desire to give a watery death to my new love. So, I was extra careful while leaping from one stone to another. The path must have gone across the stream at least 20 times (not really but that is how it felt). At the most difficult places the camera went into the bag and the bag went to Vinod. There was no chance of him falling in the stream!
The stream was quite shallow which was a good thing. It meant at the most the shoes would get wet, if I took an uncoordinated step! I came very close to getting some real cold water into my shoes but at the last moment I somehow managed to leap that extra two inches to land on terra firma! Even though it was a sunny day there were parts where the sunlight was blocked by foliage and that meant frost.
However, there were not too many patches like this. The path apart from the stone leaping bit was easy. It was a gradual walk for most of the way. Quite close to the waterfall there is a temple and that bit was uphill. It took us 45 minutes each both ways. However, that afternoon another group of youngsters tried walking to the waterfall and I was told they gave it up mid way. Maybe they were short of time. The walk is not difficult if you ask me.
There was a group of Sadhus at the temple. They offered us water and asked if we would like to have tea as well. As we had a cup of tea before we started and we were yet not at the waterfall we declined. The way goes sharply down from the temple. I would not have been able to climb down it but for the wires fixed along the way. With the wires it was quite doable.
I was really lucky, I got the waterfall with a rainbow. There is a small shrine devoted to Lord Shiva right next to the waterfall. As it was December I was content watching the waterfall, it looked cold and uninviting. Jeevak told me that in summer they approach it via the stream and not through the temple.
While coming back we rested at the temple again. This White Caped Redstart was quite at home near the temple. It would let me get quite close. The sadhus lighted a chilum and asked my companions if they would like to have a puff which they declined. They offered chikki as prasad which we gladly took. After another glass of water, we were ready to head back to lunch.
The day was still sunny. I didn’t expect much of vegetation in December but I was happy to catch the sunlight on these white blossoms. It was a beautiful walk, unusual too because of the stone leaping involved. If you wish to give trekking try I would say try this (or a similar) small walk. At Hail Himalayas you get a tented accommodation too. If you like it, you may decide to go for longer treks and sparser accommodations. Otherwise you could write it down to experience and just enjoy the tents with hot water and a bed and other luxuries.
There are many waterfalls on the 130 km Panorama Route at Mpumalnga region in South Africa. This is the Lisbon waterfall and lovely it was.
The Lisbon Waterfall, Panorama Route, Mpumalanga, South Africa
If this was so beautiful, I wonder how it would be to see the Victoria Falls!
On my recent trip to Shillong and Guwahati we had one off day, Sunday. And all four of us were rearing to go. So we hired a cab and off we went. The itinerary was almost completely decided my our well behaved and patient driver. He first took us to the Shillong View Point (where there was a lot of mist and hardly any view but I except these things now) and then we were on our way to Cherrapunji. He told us we would stop at the Elephant Falls.
The First Waterfall at Elephant Falls, Shillong
If you click on that link above it will take you to Tripadvisor where the opinion is quite divided on this attraction. I belong to the camp that thought the falls were beautiful. Some people mention that the water level was low when they visited. Not so in my case. There are three waterfalls in all and the first one is the most spectacular. There was a reasonable crowd at the attraction but the place was still reasonably quite. The waterfall has two parts and the complete picture is something like this.
The trail is well marked. At the entrance there is a small fee for people as well as for cameras. I do not remember the exact amount but I am sure it was less than 40 rupees with the camera for an adult. There are notices all around urging the visitors not to enter the water or climb the rocks. People paid heed to them.
The Second Waterfall- Elephant Falls, Shillong, Megalaya
The second waterfall is the smallest of the three and hence it was the most neglected one! Everyone, myself included, would hurry past it. When I saw it I thought it was not the actual second waterfall, that might be below. So I too went past it quickly.
The Third Waterfall- Elephant Falls, Shillong
The third waterfall was also a beauty. This was the only waterfall where the pool was shallow and people would wade a little to get their pictures clicked. To reach the waterfalls a little walking is involved. That itself gave me an idea how fit I am for my trek to Annapurna Circuit, Nepal in June. I was not tired with this small walk but 5-6 hours of similar terrain and I can see from here what is going to happen to me later in June.
So I will remember the waterfalls not only for their beauty but also for the warning they gave me about my fitness levels!