The ‘Chasm of Hell’ Claims Eight Elephants’ Lives.
Elephant statues erected on top of the anti-elephant fence at Haew Narok waterfall.
When I was writing BACK and working on locations, I visited Khao Yai jungle in Thailand, to check out a waterfall called Haew Narok, which roughly translates as ‘the Chasm of Hell’, apparently named many generations ago when hunters in the jungle could hear the incredible roar of the waterfall in full flow.
In dry season the falls are also dangerous, and a few years ago eight elephants were found dead at the bottom, having followed each other over the steep, 150 metre drop to their deaths.
Nowadays an anti-elephant fence has been erected to stop them accessing the falls.
As we walked through the humid jungle to reach the falls, the roar slowly grew louder, but only a few hundred metres away the river still looked as gentle as this:
Before coming to a bend and heading to the falls:
This is the top of the falls, as the water goes over the cliff:
And this is from the viewing platform where we were soaked to the skin in seconds, from the thick mist of water particles thrown up from the plunge pool. The water slamming into the pool at the foot of the falls was also giving off its own blasts of wind, so violent were the falls in almost their heaviest flow.
It’s a breathtaking sight, although unless you have a waterproof camera (we didn’t), expect it to get soaked.
After that trip, I ended up writing a jungle escape scene in my novel BACK based on Haew Narok.
For POWs left behind after the Vietnam War, check out this video of my visit to the notorious Vieng Xai cave complex in northern Laos:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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