Waterfall Near Chiangrai
Stop Here for a Walk in a Tropical Forest
On a glorious day at the end of September, we were driving back from a short stay in Chiangrai when the sign marking the way to Khun Korn Waterfall caught our attention. It occurred to us that we had been driving to Chiangrai for 18 years and never visited that waterfall.
Khun Korn waterfall is approximately 27 kilometers from Chiangrai municipality. Since we were in the neighborhood, we thought we should take the opportunity to visit. The scenery was so pretty as we drove rolling hills covered with green growth.
The 1 kilometer drive into the park area curves around up and down inclines. There was only one other car in the parking lot where we parked. The fragrance of the forest was so fresh and earthy because two days previously the rain fell all day long, a typical pattern for September. This wasn't any manicured, crisp looking garden but, as one expects, we walked through an isolated park surrounding the waterfall.
We walked up and down narrow pathways, sometimes at the edge of the river, and other times away from the rapids. Caterpillars crawled on the damp earth strewn with fallen leaves, and an ancient tree root provided the natural edge of a small waterfall tumbling down boulders.
Roar of The "Tschikung"
The most memorable part of the walk was the cacophony of all the insects singing away. At times the loud noise sounded similar to ten woodworking lathes buzzing away at the same time. At other times, there were startling and mysterious roars, like mountain lions. When I first noticed the sounds I had no idea they were coming from an insect. It was only after I nudged a large insect "playing possum" with a long stick, did it bellow out in irritation at me. It definitely did not like being poked. The snarling mountain lion bellow convinced me to drop the stick and get out of its way.
Later, I learned that this creature, called Tschikung, falls into the same species as the cricket, but lives only in northern Thailand. Much bigger than a cricket at three to five centimeters, its body is a creamy brown color. They live burrowed underground about 20-30 centimeters and prefer to come out after dark. Many people consider them to be quite a delicacy! During the day they can be easily dug up from their holes. At night, when they are "active" their holes are approached more carefully and filled with water to drive them out. They are usually collected in a plastic bottle and taken off for a late night barbecue!
Make Sure You Have The Energy
We continued walking toward the waterfall for about 15 minutes admiring our surroundings, when we saw a sign indicating the waterfall was one kilometer further. It's one thing just to wander and walk casually but the thought of walking one kilometer seemed too daunting for us. We turned around and headed back for the parking lot with a promise to ourselves that one day we'll come back when we are really feeling ambitious. If you decide to make a stop here on your way to or from Chiangrai, make sure you have the time and energy.