Waterfalls are certainly not one of Phuket's highlights. There are three significant falls on the island but none of them is very large or spectacular. However, they are pleasant spots where you can while away a couple of hours. And the journey to find them is half the fun.
The falls are at their best from June to November with September and October being the best months. During the dry season, they dry up to nothing more than a trickle.
All the falls have small drop pools where it is possible to take a plunge into the refreshing cool water. There are no leaches or other unpleasant fauna. They offer a rainy season alternative to playing in the sea.
Ton Sai Waterfall
Located in Khao Phra Thaew National Park. The entrance is on the road east from Thalang Town. Drive north up Thepkrasattri Road (Airport Road) and turn right at the Thalang traffic lights. Drive on straight through the rubber plantations to the entrance. The National Parks practice two-tier pricing. The entrance fee is 100 baht for foreigners and twenty baht for Thais.
When you enter, there are food stalls at the car park. From there you walk up along a series of cascades, past a large pool (there is a sign in Thai warning against swimming in this pool due to the steep drop) to the foot of the falls. On the left is a three-tier waterfall and to the right is a steep cascade of water.
From here, you can take on the 8km trek through the jungle, across Khao Phra Thaew National Park to Bang Pae Waterfall on the other side.
Bang Pae Waterfall
Also located in Khao Phra Thaew National Park but accessed from the opposite side to Ton Sai waterfall. Drive north up Thepkrasattri Road (Airport Road) and turn right at Heroines Monument circle on to road 4027. There is a left hand turn approx 9km along this road to the falls. The National Park entrance fees apply but if you have already paid to visit Ton Sai Waterfall then you may be able to use the same ticket to enter at Bang Pae or vice versa.
There are restaurants and food stalls by the car park. Walk through and visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. They take care of gibbons that were previously held in captivity and mistreated. Many of these gibbons were once used as tourist attractions in Patong, Karon and Kata. This practice has mostly stopped and hopefully you will not see gibbons paraded around the tourist towns. The aim of the project is to rehabilitate the gibbons back into the wild. The project has released a few gibbons and they now live naturally in the rainforest of Khao Phra Thaew National Park. Unfortunately, there are others that are too traumatised and will probably never return to the wild. The project workers will be happy to talk to you about their work and there is a viewing area where you can see the gibbons playing in their cages. There is no entrance fee but you can make a voluntary donation.
From there, walk on to the footpath that meanders along above the cascading stream. There are a few drop pools along the way where you can take a dip into the refreshingly cool water. It is a slightly challenging 600-meter walk along the undulating, bumpy and sometimes slippery path. At the end is the waterfall. The water drops 10 meters into a gully which is the best point to take a refreshing dip. You can even jump from the surrounding rock face if you are feeling brave.
Located in Kathu, near Loch Palm golf course. From Patong, drive out over the big hill on to Wichitsongkram Road. Turn left at the traffic lights (there is a Caltex Gasoline Station on the right hand corner) on to Road 4020. Drive on about 1km and take the left hand turn signposted to the waterfall. If you reach the golf course, you have missed the turn. Drive to the car park at the end of the road.
There are restaurants and food stalls by the car park. Next to the car park runs a stream of cascading water and a couple of small drop pools where you can take a dip. Take a look at the cascade and then cross the bridge over the stream and climb the steps up the hill. About halfway up the steps are two large artificial drop pools created by two brick wall dams. For most of the year, there is not enough water to fill them but in September and October, they are usually full of water and a great place for a swim. You can continue to the top of the steps and along a footpath for views of the water falling down the hill.