The Luang Valley is brimmed in durian farms and waterfalls. Water spills over the granite cliffs, trickling down through lush durian orchards, leaping and pooling on the granite boulders into several streams that have molded the valley into a heart.
It’s an absolutely beautiful place to go on a durian hiking adventure. In this post, you’ll find instructions for hiking through the durian orchards to 3 of the most stunning Khiriwong waterfalls. Click on each waterfall to jump to that part of the post.
About Hiking in Khiriwong
The villages of Khiriwong sit in the circle of a valley. Ancient durian trees grow in the mountains on every side, accessed by narrow cement tracks that meander for miles through small farms.
Most cement pathways finally dead-end at a small hut like this one, built by the owner of the property. Most huts are not homes, but day shelters – a place to hideout from intense rain storms, to rest and to cook during the day while the farmer is at work picking mangosteens or fertilizing his trees.
Don’t pick fruit without permission. Keep in mind that when you visit these Khiriwong Waterfalls you are on private property every step of these treks through the mountains. All the durians falling around you (and there are many, I promise), belong to someone who marks the boundaries of their property by the bush with the red flowers or the large cempedak tree.
These fence-lines may be invisible to outsiders like me and you, but know that every tree has an owner who makes their living from its fruits. Picking and eating any fruit along the way is technically stealing.
Do bring money. Khiriwong people are hospitable, and many of the farmers you’ll meet along the way may offer to share some giant, purple mangosteens or a few epic-smelling durian baan, or invite you to pick it up yourself! (the most fun of all).
Often, the invitation to eat will be a gift – but bring some cash to be able to offer, especially if it’s super duper good and you want to load up. If no scale is available, the going price is 50 baht per durian.
Watch out for traffic You’ll never be alone on the mountain. People are hard at work in the durian farms. The cement tracks are alive with souped up mountain bikes, their roars echoing over the noise of the cicadas as they careen around corners bearing heavy baskets of mangosteens and durians.
Step out of the way.
Watch For Landmarks None of the waterfalls are marked with signs. You’ll need to follow the instructions in this post, your intuition, and hail a passing motorcyclist for help when necessary.
And if you start to feel lost as the cement tracks split and wander, crossing and re-crossing the streams, remember that you can always follow the stream down. As long as you’re headed downstream, you’ll find your way to Khiriwong Village.
Safety Note: Please always bring a flashlight and plenty of water when wandering around in the mountains. It’s also good to notify your homestay host where you are going, so that they know where to look for you if you don’t get home in time for dinner (no one wants you missing out on local Gaeng Som Curry).
1. Soi Dao Waterfall
About: You’ll hear the roar of Soi Dao Waterfall long before you see it. Hidden in a mountain crevice amid the orchards, Soi Dao is a powerful jet of water shooting unexpectedly out of the side of the mountain and trickling down to meet the Tha Dee River (the main waterway in Khiriwong).
You’ll need to be fairly agile to access this waterfall, as it’s a little bit of a scramble to even get to a good viewing point. The trail itself is a paved cement track until the last 100 meters, when you need to cross down through an orchard to the stream and then scramble up the rocks for a short distance.
The water is icy refreshing, but you’ll find few pools for a swim close to the waterfall (although there are several spots along the way). You can sort of dip yourself in between the rocks to cool down while you enjoy the view.
The glory in this waterfall is really the secretiveness of it. Even though you are less than 2 miles away from Khiriwong, it feels like you’ve found a Lost World. Bring a Durian along to complete the vibe.
Durian Trail Head: This hike starts at the Nan Hin Ta Ha pool durian stall. You can buy your durian reward here to enjoy at the waterfall, and a cup of Fan Palm fruit (Arenga westerhoutii) for a little sugar spike before starting your hike.
Follow the left side of Tha Dee River, heading upstream, past the hanging bridge and several small restaurants.
Mile 0.2: When you see this giant Ficus, you know you’re on the right trail! Keep going straight along the road.
Mile 0.4: At this packing shed, the road narrows to a single motorcycle trek at . Don’t be afraid! Keep going straight into the trees, following the river.
Mile 0.9: Here you’ll need to cross over to the other side of the river. You’ll need to wade through the water a bit, so it’s good to wear river sandals like our Lunas instead of boots (you are going to a waterfall, after all!)
On the other side, keep to trail closest to the river (stay left) and ignore split-off cement trails heading up the mountain.
Mile 1.3: When you cross over this side stream trickling down from the mountain on the right, you know you’re nearly there. Soi Dao Waterfall is nearly directly above you.
Take the next RIGHT (another narrow motorbike trail) and begin heading up the hill.
Mile 1.6: Here you’ll need to leave the cement track and turn right into the orchard, down a small hill about 50 meters to the stream.
From here you can hear the waterfall. Start walking up the rocks until you can see the waterfall.
And there you are! You made it!
If you are very agile and a good climber, you can scale the last rocks and stand closer to the waterfall. However, I am not that brave, so we stayed below.
2. Kinnaree Waterfall
Distance (one way): 2.6 miles
Max Elevation: 1200 feet (365 meters)
Climb from trail head: 1,000 feet up
Kinnari Waterfall is a bare, smooth rock face with myriad of steps and little pools running all the way to the top of the mountain ridge. It’s a stunning sight, but not terribly swimmer-friendly. We found a small dipping-pool to cool off from the hike and enjoy the view.
The trail is longer and steeper than Sao Doi (in some places very steep!) but has more open and scenic views over the river and the valley. Also, halfway is one of very best durian spots in Khiriwong 😋
You can also follow the trail on my Strava:
Durian Trail Head: This hike starts at Auntie Cha’s Durian Stall, next to the Good Time Cafe. Power Up with a couple of Baan, but hold your appetite because there’s an awesome durian wholesale spot on the way that will blog your durian socks off.
From Pa Jai’s, cross the cement bridge and turn to the right. Walk past the Tent Waterfront Glamping Resort and keep following the main road.
Mile 1.1: Soon the best smell ever will hit your nostrils, because you’ve reached Pi Jai’s Durian Wholesale Smorgasbord.
This wholesale spot is where durian farmers from this mountain drop off their durians the whole day long. You can stay here for hours, testing new durians as they come in from the various farms.
They also make durian guan by scratch, taking turns with a wooden paddle. If you want to give them a break, they’ll let you stir for a few minutes and reward you with a steaming-hot scoop of guan.
It’s like eating cookies out of the oven – gooey and caramelized, and somehow 10x better hot than later when it’s cooled down.
Mile 1.4 – Unnamed Waterfall
As you begin to walk up along the stream, you’ll notice this large pool with a waterfall. This is actually the best swimming spot you’ll find on the trek.
Mile 1.9: When you come to a large house on your right, the trail splits. Take the right-hand trail going up hill. Here the trail becomes steep.
Mile 2.1: You’ll need to cross over to the left side of the stream here. You’re getting close! This is one of the steepest parts, but you’re almost done!
Mile 2.5: When the road re-crosses the stream (to the right side) you’ll climb one more small hill and then you’ll be able to see Kinaree Waterfall from across the river.
You made it!
There’s one last step. If you’re happy enjoying Kinaree Waterfall from a distance, you can end the hike right there and go back down to Pa Jai’s and eat more durian.
But if you want to get under the falls itself, take the next left-hand split and cross the stream again (to the left side). You’ll be able to turn to the left toward the waterfall through a grassy open area and come out onto the rocks themselves. Be very careful as that smooth rock face is really slippery.
3. Wang Mai Pak Waterfall & Durian Farm Guided Trek
Distance (full loop): 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Max Elevation: 740 feet (225 meters)
Climb from trail head: 550 feet up
Every trail you’ll walk around passes through private durian farms – so the best way ever to go durian trekking to Khiriwong Waterfalls is to go with a durian farmer!
Pi Rot, our host at Baan Look Mai Homestay, has started offering Durian Treks to his farm adjacent the Wang Mai Pak Waterfall pools.
Durian Trail Head: The hike is a loop starting at Baan Look Mai. You’ll walk along the road following Khlong Pong River into the mountains and then turn off toward Pi Rot’s farms.
Mile 0.9: Entrance to Wang Mai Pak Waterfall
The first milestone is the entrance to Wang Mai Pak Waterfall. This is where you will exit when you finish the loop, after a refreshing and well-deserved swim.
Mile 1.3 Khao Khun Nam Temple
After passing, the waterfall entrance, the road turns VERY steeply up for about 300 meters. At the top, you’ll find the Khao Khun Nam Temple.
If you addressed appropriately, Pi Rot can take you inside to meet his father, who is one of the monks.
Mile 1.6: Pi Rot’s First Durian Farm
Like many people in Khiriwong, Pi Rot owns several durian farms, and you’ll pass two on this trek. Stop for a quick snack before continuing onwards to the viewing point.
Mile 2.2 Viewpoint
The trail meanders up and down through the shady farms, with Pi Rot calling out to friends all along the way.
After about 1km, you’ll come out on top of the hillside for a view over Khiriwong Valley. This, if nothing else, makes the trek worth it, especially in the late afternoon when the light turns gold.
Mile 2.4 Pi Rot’s Waterfall Farm
From the viewpoint, you’re going to head almost straight down into Pi Rot’s second farm. This farm is directly above the Wang Mai Pak Waterfall, so you’re nearly there!
It’s a bit of a scramble from the viewpoint down to the waterfall, but Pi Rot knows the way and will stop at his favorite trees to look for durian, show you the giant Yang Na Yai tree, and other fruits.
Carry the durians you collect down into the waterfall for a well-deserved snack and a refreshing bath.
From here, it’s just 0.9 miles back to Baan Look Mai, where if you’re lucky, Guitar might have a pot of Gaeng Som waiting for you.
Where We Stayed: Baan Look Mai
We headed out on all our hikes from Baan Look Mai, a hybrid homestay/hotel located in the Khiritham part of Khiriwong Village.
Guita and Rot built Baan Look Mai in 2016. It’s a large, modern 3-story house that serves as a cafe and souvenir shop on the bottom, living space on the second floor, and laundry/hangout space on the top.
The family lives on one side of the 2nd floor, and there are two very spacious rooms with private bathrooms for guests on the other side.
Overall we loved the hybrid homestay/hotel feeling. The large, spacious room gave us privacy and a place to hang out and get some “us” time. We should note that there’s no AC, and the room could get quite warm in the middle of the day, but by night it was cool and comfortable.
Guitar and Rot were often home and available to share a meal (or a few durian) or to answer my millions of questions about Khiriwong.
How To Visit Khiriwong Village
Khiriwong is a cluster of 5 small, interlocking villages in the Luang Valley, about a 40-minute drive from Nakhon Si Thammarat Town and 45-minutes from the Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport.
If you don’t have your own rental vehicle, you can take the Blue Songthaew #8464 that departs from Talat Yao Market, across the street from Chedi Yak Temple in downtown Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Your homestay host will also be able to help you with transportation.
To find more Durian Farms, Farmstays and general deliciousness, check out our map or the new Durian Season App.