Western Forest Complex
  An Untouched Wilderness in the Borderland of Thailand and Myanmar

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 Protected areas
 Geography &

 Flora & fauna

 What to see & do


Protected areas > Um Phang Wildlife Sanctuary

Um Phang's Thilawsu is the largest waterfall in Thailand
The lianas will eventually become trees themselves
Cascade on the Thilawsu Creek

Part of the territory covered by the Um Phang Wildlife Sanctuary is a traditional area of Karen, Hmong, Lisu, Mien and Lahu tribes. The main town - Um Phang (outside of the sanctuary) - is predominantly Karen. There are many hill tribes villages scattered in the countryside surrounding Um Phang town. Um Phang is accessible by road from Mae Sot through spectacular mountains.


The hot season is from March to May with maximum temperature at 39 C. The rainy season lasts from June to October. Um Phang district receives a lot of rainfall because of the high mountains and the dense forest. The highest amount of measured rainfall is 300 mm in July. The cool season is from November to February. The minimum temperature can be as low as 3 C during December.


Most of the sanctuary is covered by evergreen and deciduous forest which is interspersed with teak, ironwood, dipterocarps and other. Bamboo and teak can be found on the banks of the Mae Klong river, orchids, wildflower, and many species of ferns grow along the many rivers and creeks.


The sanctuary is a home to wild animals such us elephants, leopards, langurs, bears, tigers, tapirs, deer and others. Many species of butterflies and birds, including the rare colorful hornbill, can be spotted there.

What to See

The area is home to many waterfall of which Thilawsu (also spelled Ti Lo Su or Ti Lor Su) is the prime one.

Thilawsu Waterfall - the Black Water Waterfall, the largest waterfall in Thailand. Its height is about 200 meters and total width 400 meters. It is most beautiful during rainy season from June to November because of the larger water flow. However during this period, the road access to the waterfall is closed for safety reason and trekking is required.It is accessible by road during the dry season, but only cars with four wheel drive can pass the steep and slippery road. An alternative way to reach the waterfall is by whitewater rafting and trekking.

Thilojo Waterfall - the Falling Rain Waterfall. The waterfall is divided into 2 tiers. The upper falls are located on a high cliff and the tier is narrow. The lower falls are part of the stream of the Mae Klong river, falling like rain fall.

Thilole Waterfall - It is a waterfall dropping directly into Klong river located deep in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary with no road access. Only traveling with tour companies is possible. The journey to the waterfall typically involves white water rafting along Klong River of about 40 km through rapids of class 4 or 5. The trip takes 2 or 3 days.

Doi Hua Mot - a view point on a table mountain from which jungle covered with mist and clouds can be seen in the mornings.

Ta Ko Bi Cave - the cave contains a big chamber with stalagmites and stalactites. It is possible to climb through the cave to a small temple on the to of the mountain. In the past the cave was used by the Communist Party of Thailand.

What to Do

Trekking, whitewater rafting, bird watching, elephant riding, visiting Karen villages.


Camp sites are available at the sanctuary's headquarters, 25 km from the entrance to the park and 1,5 km from the Thilawsu waterfall. The town of Um Phang (12 km from the entrance to the sanctuary) hosts many homestays, huts and a camping site.


It is 37 km from the Um Phang town to the headquarters, mostly on a dirt track. 4WD is necessary year around.

Access to the wildlife sanctuary

Um Phang is a wildlife sanctuary, which is much more strictly protected area than a national park. Wildlife sanctuaries are designated to allow as free and undisturbed movement of animals as possible. Therefore they are open mainly for educational or scientific research or for volunteering. Special permit is necessary to enter a wildlife sanctuary.

Wild plants - infinite variety of colours and fragrances Mystic fog - the breath of jungle Beautiful waterfalls - source of water for Thailand One of the last habitats of beasts of prey Abundant Wildlife Colourful blossoms - endless inspiration


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

The project is funded by the Government of the Czech Republic (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and conducted with support of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP), Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association (TEATA), Foundation of Western Forest Complex Conservation (FWFCC) and Tourism Promotion Society of Kanchanaburi (TSK). For more information write to us at info[at]westernforest[dot]org. Webdesign and photographs by David Kučera. Translation to Thai by Kris Dhiradityakul.

National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department