Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike Guide
If you like a bit of a challenge then try the Ton Kloi waterfall hike.
I’ll go on the record now and say that the Ton Kloi waterfall hike is not the best hike for the final payout. The waterfall itself, although quite nice and a great place to relax or go for a swim, is not a stunning waterfall by any means.
The Ton Kloi waterfall hike though can be rewarding if you’re fit and properly prepared. The trail passes by many swimming spots and some of the jungle is quite beautiful.
This post will attempt to break down the hike into commonly asked questions, use the table of contents to help navigate.
If you want to know a bit more about Khao Sok, then read this travel guide.
To see what other activities are on offer in Khao Sok, try this post.
Affiliate links may be present on this page. These are links to websites such as Amazon, where if you decide to purchase something, then they will offer me a tiny commission. This comes at no extra cost to you and is just a way for me to try and support myself and the blog. I only link to the best of the best with careful consideration, thank you.
(Shot on the Sony a7R III using the Sony 16-35mm f/4).
Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike Common Questions
In this section I will attempt to answer the most pressing issues without baffling on needlessly, so in that spirit let’s continue …
What is Ton Kloi Waterfall?
Ton Kloi waterfall is a single level waterfall 7 kilometres from the entrance to the Khao Sok national park. The waterfall probably falls between 5-7 metres all up.
Ton Kloi waterfall has the advantage of being along a trail without leeches, unlike the trails to some of the other waterfalls, and also is a waterfall that flows even in the dry season.
This makes it a good spot for tourists all year round, it has a large pool at its base to cool off in.
They say that this trail is the most popular in the park, and while many people do the trail, not many go all the way to the waterfall. I saw one other person along the final 2 kilometres, and passed nobody on the way back.
Is The Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike Hard?
For a seasoned hiker, probably not.
For the casual tourist, yes.
It is the humidity that will drain you, as well as the constant yet small elevation changes. The first 4 kilometres of the trail is basically a wide open road that you walk along, but once you pass the final ranger station the Ton Kloi waterfall hike gets difficult.
There are washed out sections, some slippery sections, and constant small climbs with small descents that are hard on the knees. Your average speed will drop dramatically for the last 3 kilometres.
It the trail wasn’t hard enough as it is, the guides have ripped off the trail markers in an attempt to encourage the hiring of guide by making it hard to navigate.
I could see the broken remains of trail markers nailed into the trees.
For this trek you will need MAPS.ME downloaded on your phone, and a full battery!
The app will guide you with surprising accuracy, sometimes I thought it was leading me astray because it lead me up steep climbs when the river that I was following seemed to be turning the other direction, but in the end the app was right each time.
I did this hike with a gimbal, camera, lens, and about 4 litres of water. I strongly recommend people take a light camera, forget the lenses, don’t carry a large backpack and travel light.
Take a lot of water, the lighter you travel the better. I personally had my GrayL GeoPress (affiliate) and needed to use it to filter some river water on the way back due to both of my legs cramping.
Without it I’d have been in serious trouble, but again, I carried about 5kg too much thanks to stubbornly wanting a lot of my camera gear.
Where is the Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike?
The Ton Kloi waterfall hike starts almost at the entrance to the Khao Sok national park. If you are in town, you will know which way to walk because the town only has the one road. Go to the national park and enter.
From here all you’re really doing is following the signs in the park, following it around to the right, the trail loosely follows the river for about 7 kilometres.
How Do I Get to the Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike?
Walking is the only way to get to the trailhead, as the town is so small you won’t need a vehicle.
As you can see here, the trail is quite open and basic for the first 4 kilometres, after it becomes a dotted line that is when it becomes difficult.
The top left image is Ton Kloi waterfall, the GPS needle in the bottom right hand side is the national park entrance.
How Long Does it Take to Complete the Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike?
The hike can take anywhere from 6-8 hours depending on your fitness and how long you stay at the falls for lunch.
For me it took 3 hours and 50 minutes on the way in, then on the way out 2 hours and 40 minutes. That just goes to show the difference it can make when you stop at each swimming spot, film your actions, and have never taken the trail before.
When you’re forging the path for the first time and there’s not a single other tourist in site, it can get tricky thanks to the removed trail signs and odd forks in the road. However it’s much quicker on the way out when all you want is to have a shower.
My times were as follows;
- 09:40 – Start on the trail.
- 11:05 – Pass the final ranger station.
- 12:05 – Bang Liap Nam waterfall turnoff.
- 13:30 – Arrive at Ton Kloi waterfall.
- 14:26 – Leave from the waterfall.
- 16;15 – Reach the ranger station.
- 17:00 – Leave the park gates.
This washout is the point where most tourists stop the trail and go for a swim, then turn around. It is a fair hike to get here alone, and you’re still an hour away from the falls.
When Should I do the Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike?
Go as early as possible. The park closes in the afternoon at 18:00, and the trail itself requires you to be off by 16:30 for safety reasons.
You sign into the park, so they need to be able to have some daylight left in the day to try find you.
On top of this, the heat is ridiculous, there are no elevated parts of the trail where you could expect a breeze, so the entire time you will be sweating like a pig. So the earlier the better, for the heat, and to allow time to do the trek but still go for a swim etc.
How to do the Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike?
After entering the national park as has been discussed already and following the first 4 kilometres that everybody follows, you will come across this guard house / shop.
This is a great opportunity to buy water if you don’t have a filtered water bottle to take from the river. Or else, buy snacks or brunch for energy.
After stocking up on provisions you will want to walk past the shop and there will be a little bridge that you will see with the following sign posted after crossing.
Technically this is the end of the line if you don’t have a guide. Guides need to be hired a day in advance, and can be booked for half days, or full days (see the pricing section for all costs).
However, you will notice tens of people simply walk past this, there is nobody stopping you from continuing. Continue at your own risk, and if it is stormy or raining, don’t go any further, this trail will be a washout.
So do you need a guide?
I didn’t hire one. That doesn’t mean it is the right thing for you though. If you are not sure about your abilities, or have people of questionable health, then a guide is a necessity.
Now I am all for supporting the locals, but the way that they have deliberately removed trail markers to try and make the trail more dangerous irritates me beyond belief, and also I didn’t know the guides needed to be booked in advance.
There are trails where I consider guides a necessity, but this isn’t one of them, yet they have tried to force people into paying stupid prices to hike a trail that with proper signage would not be overly difficult.
HOWEVER! This trail is hard to navigate without MAPS.ME, so make sure you have that (GPS works without signal), and have the areas maps available offline.
Have a fully charged phone and trust the maps, the trail loosely follows the river, but there are many paths on the river, some leading to dead ends, or being old trails no longer in use.
Along the trail you will see signs that point to swimming points and turn offs. It’s entirely up to you if you take them, they will add time to the trip but can be good to cool down.
About 50 minutes passed the ranger station you will come across a large washed out portion of the track, you need to climb down it, then back up the other side to continue on.
35 minutes after that is a steep section with rope to climb down.
Then eventually you will come across land that has finally levelled out, it is much better for your knees and this means you’re sort of close. You will see this sign (if it hasn’t been removed).
Now you’re close. The next part of the climb is the steepest of the whole thing. There is a descent down to the river now from the ridge that you are on.
This descent pictured below is very slippery, I wnt onto my arse about 3 times. The leaves create a top layer and the dirt below is gives way under foot.
Although it doesn’t look so steep in the photo, just be careful of your footing.
After this there is a bunch of branches across the track, you need to climb through them.
After climbing through those fallen tree branches you are there.
Enjoy the water if it isn’t flowing too heavily and go for a swim to wash the sweat off. Relax and have a bite to eat, drink lots of water. The way out is much quicker.
Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike Guide Video
The easiest way to visualise the trail is by watching the Ton Kloi waterfall hike video guide. It shows the rough surroundings at different stages, as well as the times (which are wrong by 2 hours) that each step took place.
What Do I Need To do the Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike?
You need good hiking boots, or at the very least good quality running shoes. I travel with the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX (affiliate) boots and they kept my ankles from giving way on tree roots a handful of times.
I also travel with Asics Gel Kayano (affiliate) which would have sufficed at a pinch, but any solid based running shoe will do. The shoes will be worse for wear afterwards and you may roll your ankle, but you will also be faster on the trail.
I would recommend a filtered water bottle like the one I had or similar. I had the GrayL GeoPress (affiliate) and I used it for about 2 litres of water on the way back because I had run my Camelbak bone dry!
Besides that, don’t forget to carry food. This is a time consuming hike and your energy levels will be depleted. Water is the most important thing, but having food will make it easier.
How Much Does the Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike Cost?
Entry to the national park is ฿300 for foreign visitors.
If you want to check out the beginning of the park the day before, you can buy your ticket after 16:30 and it will then be valid for the following day as well.
If you decide to enlist a guide the prices are;
- Half day – ฿600
- Full day – ฿1,200
I wouldn’t use a guide for those prices for this particular trail. I only consider them necessary for camping and overnight stays. 1 guide however can be split between up to 4 people, so if you are a group of 4 it might be worth it.
Is There Anything To Be Aware of?
Beware of the heat, it can’t be stated enough. If you wear a backpack it will make you sweat. Try take a lot of water and enough snacks to keep you happy. Do it with others or more enjoyment.
Be willing to put at least 7 hours aside from the time you leave the hostel to the time you walk back into your room.
It is a jungle, but it is unlikely you will come across any dangerous animals due to the well worn nature of the path. However there could be snakes around.
If it is rainy season, then stay out of the water. The rain can increase the flow of the river in an instant and you will be washed away. If it is stormy then abandon the last 3 kilometres, just turn around.
This hike is good, without being amazing. I think the most fun you will get out of it is if you do it with others and enjoy a slow pace, include a swim at the waterfall if it is safe to do so.
Be sure to stop in at Lap ROI-ET on the way back to your hostel. The servings are huge!!
For more information on the park check out the following resources;
Thailand national parks website.