Ti Lor Su Waterfall

Trip Start Nov 08, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

We made arrangements to go to the waterfall through our guesthouse, which also offers the standard group tours and treks.  They would give us a ride in their giant 4-wheel drive truck to the national park and pick us up the next day.  They also lent us a camping tent and some blankets, which came in very handy because we never saw the camping equipment for rent at the national park like our guidebook claimed.
 
It was only about a 30 minute drive out to the national park.  But once through the gates, it takes another hour down the most treacherous winding dirt road I've ever seen to get to the area near the falls.  And Thai driving doesn't help.  I think they're worse than Italians.  They flew around sharp curves and passed on blind turns and inclines like they had a death wish.  I kept reminding myself that they must know this path like the back of their hand, but when my feet finally hit firmly on the ground I could have knelt down and kissed it.  They assured us they'd be back the next afternoon to pick us up, and we reluctantly waved them goodbye.  I'm not sure if I was more afraid that they'd never come back or that they would and I'd have to face that drive and probable death again.
 
There were a dozen or so tents scattered about in a clearing so we decided to go ahead and set up before heading out to the falls.  We found a perfect spot right by the river and couldn't believe that no one had chosen it.  We excitedly set everything up and then grabbed our cameras and headed out for the waterfall.  From the campgrounds it's about a 30 minute hike down a pedestrian path, cut into the middle of the jungle, hugging the river.  For the most part, the river was invisible, swallowed up by the forest between it and the path, but we could hear the trickle and babble, and occasionally catch glimpses.  Then the forest parted a bit, and I saw something that would have made the trip worthwhile, even if we never reached the main falls.  The river divided into several different streams.  The closest one moved at a slow meandering pace, slinking around trees and over large rocks, to swirl into pools and trickle out again.  The water was shallow and a mysterious aqua-gray color.  The stream curled back around to meet the main flow of the river, where some small falls fell into deeper pools of the faster flowing waters.  It was absolutely beautiful.  I told Dane that if Moody Gardens hadn't made this place, then fairies must have.  It looked like something manufactured at Universal Studios.  Too perfect and magical to be real.
 
I pried myself away, even more excited now to see Ti Lor Su.  As we came upon it, we could hear we were close.  The sound of rushing water grew more intense.  It was no longer a trickle but a low roar.  We turned a corner and there it was.    The most beautiful waterfall in Thailand.  It is over 5 football fields in width and 200-300 meters in length.  But what makes it so stunning is that it is not one constant massive stream that you merely stare at from some distance.  As the river hits the cliff's edge at the top, it spreads out and divides into several falls, which pool and then fall again, to be collected in more pools and fall again and again.  So this great waterfall has the sense of being made up of several dozen falls.  Some of them are tall and grand, thundering with force, and others gurgle and swirl, beckoning to be enjoyed.
 
We spent all afternoon there and then nearly all of the next day as well.  We climbed all over Ti Lor Su, enjoyed it from every angle, swam in its icy pools, explored further up its tributaries, and sat and basked in the natural wonder of it all.
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