Vol. V No. 16 - Saturday April 15, - April 21, 2006
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FEATURES
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The beauty of Thee Lor Su, the largest waterfall in South East Asia

The beauty of Thee Lor Su, the largest waterfall in South East Asia

Preeyanoot Jittawong
Nowadays, many tourists enjoy getting off the beaten track, preferring to experience the wonders of nature rather than man-made marvels. Eco-tourism is booming, bringing welcome Dollars, Pounds and Euros to the country-side rather than to the towns and cities. Forests get taken care of and local people earn income, guiding eager eco-tourists along the twisting leafy trails that most people rarely see. Such a trail, in the mysterious green wilderness of Umphang forest, Tak will bring nature-loving tourists to the banks of a wide stream wending its way through the trees; and in the distance can be heard the sound of cascading, tumbling water. Rounding the final bend reveals the reason for this guided tour; one of the most beautiful sights in South-east Asia, Thee Lor Su waterfall. Many people may have heard of the beauty of Thee Lor Su, but never have the chance to visit. From the town of Umphang, turn left after 9 km.and follow the road to Baan Mae Chan until reaching the Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary. The route starts at the sign indicating Thee Lor Su and from now on, tourists will face 25 km. of a very rough road; and although that will make the trip more adventurous and exciting, it will severely test the stamina of anybody who has indulged themselves at the dinner-table instead of the track or gymnasium. In the rainy season, this road is closed; and anyone wishing to visit the area at this time, taking a raft from downtown would be the easier option!
After completing the tough and dusty 25 Km. hike, we come to a camping area at the Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary. Tourists then have to walk about 1.5 km. through a rain-forest—the sounds of the waterfall becoming clearer with each step. In fact as the sound of the tumbling water gets louder most tourists walk faster in order to reach the destination as soon as they can. When they finally reach the falls, everyone will be amazed and awestruck with the majesty of the cascading water revealed to their view. It is the No.1 waterfall in South East Asia with the spray reaching the evergreen shroud of branches below. Thee Lor Su comes from the Karen language which means black waterfall. The elevation of this great waterfall is 900 m. above sea-level. It is roughly the width of 5 football fields, and its height is 200-300 meters. Thee Lor Su is located on a limestone mountain that has a strong stream throughout the year and is worth visiting every season; but the beautiful waterfall becomes truly magnificent and awe-inspiring when the stream goes into full spate during the rainy season. Tumbling over the lip of a limestone cliff the water cascades in steps from a height of 400 meters, the stream bursts into clouds of spray at each level of the cliff, with sunlight in the morning causing the violet and indigo hues of rainbows to arc across the face of the falls; and the spray to splash all over the mountain. The source of the waterfall is Huay Klor Thor, a large lake that drains into the stream tumbling its way down the mountain creating the falls we know as Thee Lor Su.
This waterfall is not only the largest and most beautiful waterfall in Thailand, but it is also number six of most beautiful and largest waterfalls in the world. Even though it is a tough journey to reach the waterfall, experiencing the beauty in front of us, makes our weariness disappear. After standing in awe at the sight of of Thee Lor Su Waterfall and recovering after a good nights rest, one further thing makes the arduous hike worthwhile causing us to forget our weary legs and aching joints. Dawn!
Doi Hua Mod is a high mountain with clear land around the summit, which is 971 meters above sea-level. On this mountain, the rocky soil means there are no tall trees but only small trees and bushes all around. Seen from below, the upper slopes look like a green carpet studded with rocks, trees, and flowers. Tourists should always summon the energy to walk up to look at the beautiful scenery and wait patiently to see the pearly light of a new day. As the rising sun slowly casts its rays over the scenery in front of us, the crags are etched in sharp relief and fingers of light stretch out and play over the ghostly clouds of the mysterious fog below. On the way back down, tourists will see beautiful white Bauhinias amidst ethereal pockets of mist that the questing fingers of sunlight have yet to reach. It is an amazing picture, as though in a fantasy world. Everyone who visits Thee Lor Su cannot fail to be awed and will never be disappointed with the miracle and beauty of nature

Getting ready for a trip to Thee Lor Su waterfall

25 km. of very tough road

Walking to Thee Lor Su waterfall amidst the beauty of nature

Waiting to take photos of the sunrise

Experiencing the beautiful scenery at dawn on Doi Hua Mod

The sun rises

Bauhinia

Clear road in the morning and beautiful scenery

Adventurous path to 2nd level of the waterfall

Tourists gaze at the beauty of the waterfall




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