Visiting Ton Chong Fa waterfall was on my travel “to do” list when researching things around our area in Thailand. I don’t mind hiking and seeing a local waterfall seemed pretty cool so we set out from our hotel bright and early one day.
When we finally made it out to the waterfall, we were both a bit disappointed. It was beautiful but a bit…small? We’d expected something bigger. And then we realised our mistake. Ton Chong Fa waterfall is broken up into 5 sections that twist and turn around the mountain. We were just at the first level. We spotted the trail that would take us up pretty much vertically to the second section. As we climbed up, I was starting to curse this idea. The climb was hard and my level of fitness is low and upper body strength negligible; we were scrambling over boulders half the size of my height. We were also crossing Indiana Jones type rope bridges, minus the rope to hang on to. After a good 10 minutes of sheer climbing and seeing a millipede that was almost a foot long, and desperately huffing and puffing, I turned around to Sam and said, “Shall we skip this?” And he replied “Thank god. I really wanted to turn around but you seemed quite keen.”
We quickly hightailed it back down to waterfall level 1 and just basked in its beauty and imagined the 4 others above where we were. And that’s how we tried and failed to climb Ton Chong Fa. We still got around 8 miles of walking in that day, so not an utter failure!
In all seriousness, if you are in the area, I would recommend seeing it. However, I strongly recommend making sure you are actually up for a mission, or if you are happy just to see the first section (like we ended up doing). We saw countless other people make the same decision that we did. On the way back down to the town from the waterfall we passed an elderly British couple who were making their way up. Noticing that one of them had a cane in hand, I decided to warn them off even attempting levels 2-5. The woman kindly laughed and said that she had already read about the different levels and that they were only planning on seeing the first. Research fail on my part, then.
Have you ever started a hike that you couldn’t finish?