Phuket has a bunch of waterfalls, not surprising since you have a combination of hills and tropical rain. Average yearly rainfall in Phuket is about 2500mm per year which sounds like a lot, but of course much of the time we have hot sunny weather. You can read more on my Phuket Weather Blog. The hills in Phuket reach up to over 500m above sea level and there are large areas of high ground especially in the north where you find Bang Pae waterfall and Tonsai Waterfall, and further south, a large hilly area is found in the triangle between Kathu to the south, Kamala to the northwest and Manik (Cherng Talay) to the north. Kathu is the area east of Patong, between Patong and Phuket Town, and above Kathu waterfall is the highest point in Phuket, about 540m above sea level - see Hiking to the Roof of Phuket.
Now, don't be expecting to find Niagara or Victoria falls in Phuket. All the waterfalls here are just series of cascades through the jungle. Kathu is the easiest to get to, since Kathu is not far from Patong. We live in the area and every time we are on the waterfall road (Soi Nam Tok Kathu) we see tourists on mopeds. Renting a moped is a great way to explore the real Phuket, you can go at your own pace, don't need to rely on expensive tuk tuks and can reach parts of Phuket that tours won't take you. If heading to Kathu waterfall from Patong you come over the hill towards Phuket town, turn left at the traffic lights next to the Caltex gas station, pass the local Kathu market, go about 2km and you get to the waterfall road. Along this road which stretches about 2km, you have lots of houses, small shops, little restaurants and noodle stalls, also the wake park and a bizarre thing called Palazzo - a dinner and show idea which looks like a circus tent. You have to go all the way to the end of the road to find the waterfall.
Cross over a little bridge and start up the stairs ...
I did blog the waterfall before, but we went to have a look last week as a friend who lives on the waterfall road told us that the area has been given a fresh coat of paint, and so it is - about time too. At the top of the first section of stairs you come to the first falls, not big! There's a pool where kids can play, a couple of salas have been built and at the weekend locals do head up here for a splash and a picnic.
I need to come again with a tripod to get a really nice waterfall photo, but you get the idea. Some people might think "what? i drove all the way here just for this?"... But don't worry, the stairs carry on up past this first little fall, following the mountain stream that tumbles down the hillside.
(above) This is the lower waterfall. On this day we hiked up a bit further, but not too far since our son had been sick and I did not want to tax him too much! I think I'd better return on my own one day and hike up further. If nothing else, you get a very nice walk in the forest. A little way above the first falls is a smaller cascade and another little pool where a family were swimming. We went past them, up higher to a larger waterfall, where of course local kids were playing, pretending to be Tarzan or something ...
The path carries on higher, but we turned around here. If you do plan a walk, bring some water - you'll get sweaty and thirsty on a hot day. There is a little shop at the end of the road and you pass several more on the way. And if you're hungry, then on the way back down the waterfall road, turn left on the main road and you'll come to a restaurant called Maireab Zaap Ver - we eat here often, good cheap and tasty Thai food. Or in that area are several other restaurants and noodle shops.
Other waterfalls in Phuket :
• Bang Pae Waterfall
• Tonsai Waterfall
• Waterfalls in the Phuket area