Most Incredible Places to see Waterfalls in Asia

Tumbling torrents, foaming falls, cascading cataracts, and plunges into pixie-like pools, perfect for swimming in after a long, waterfall-chasing hike. Asia’s vast and diverse landscapes are home to a wide selection of wonder-inducing waterfalls, from the tranquil trickles of Japan’s Nunobiki to the thunderous power of India’s Unchalli.

Here, we share a small snapshot of our favorite falls on the continent, including where to find them, how to access them, their origins, and what makes them unique. Here are the 20 most incredible waterfalls in Asia:

1. Detian Falls

Vietnam and China

The name Detian aptly translates to “Virtuous Heaven” in Chinese, but if you visit from the Vietnamese side, you’ll know this waterfall as Ban Gioc (“Half-Way Across.”) Lying on the border between the two countries, the three-tiered falls can be visited by bamboo raft, which offers gorgeous views of lush greenery and dramatic karsts.

2. Huangguoshu Falls

China

The “Yellow-Fruit Tree” falls of China’s Guizhou province lie around 45 kilometres from the city of Anshun. Huangguoshu’s 77.8-meter cascades can be seen from different angles, ideal for photographers loing for silky long-exposure captures. At the Waterfall-Viewing Pavilion (Guan Bao ting) the waterfall can be seen from a distance, at the Water-Viewing Stage (Guan Bao Ting) you’ll enjoy a view from above, and at the Waterfall-Viewing Stage (Guan Bao Tai) you are loing up at the pouring torrents.

3. Hannoki Falls & Shomyo Falls

Japan

Japan’s twin waterfalls, Hanni and Shomyo, are separated and reunited each year in a natural cycle. The tallest waterfall in the country, Shomyo drops through four stages to a total of 350 meters. Shomyo’s neighbor, Hanni, is the country’s tallest seasonal waterfall, tumbling 497 meters.

4. Nachi Falls

Japan

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nachi waterfall is the tallest in the country that has a single, uninterrupted drop. Two rocks at the top of the scenic waterfall are the guardian kami of the nearby Shinto shrine and every morning, a Shinto priest makes an offering to the falls. Many important historical artifacts have also been found around the waterfall – such as a Sutra mound holding statues, mirrors, altar fittings, and Sutra cylinders – with some dating back as far as the 10th century.

5. Shifen Waterfall

Taiwan

The so-called “Little Niagara of Taiwan” is Shifen Falls, named for one of the original families who lived in the gxi District of New Taipei City. The falls are fed by the Keelung River, and the water actually flows in the opposite direction from the sloped rocks that create the waterfall.

6. Khone Phapheng Falls

Laos

Known as Chutes de Khone, or Khone Falls, these Mekong cascades are found in an area of Laos called Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands). Although little Laos is landlocked, the country than makes up for its lack of coast with these stunning river rapids.

7. Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls

South Korea

Located on Jeju Island, the chilly torrents of Cheonjeyeon flow out of the ceiling of a cave. Tumbling down three tiers of cliffs and 73 meters, the water eventually flows out to the ocean. The rich forest environment around the falls is also noted for its rare plants, which thrive in tiny rock crevices.

8. Nohkalikai Falls

India

The tallest waterfall in India also has the saddest story. Nohkalikai is named for a local Cherrapunji legend, in which a village woman throws herself over the falls upon discovering she has been tricked into eating her infant daughter by her jealous second husband. Despite the tragic tale, the powerful falls can’t help but inspire with their vivid turquoise lagoon and evergreen forest setting.

9. Gitgit Waterfall

Indonesia

Found on the digital-nomad-yoga-vegan haven of Bali, Indonesia, Gitgit Waterfall is one of the island’s many attractions of natural beauty. Located in the north of Bali, between the old capital of Singaraja and the village of Munduk, the waterfall is accessed via a rocky walking trail – a dip in the natural swimming pools are a great motivation for this jungle hike.

10. Düden Waterfalls

Turkey

Northeast of Antalya, Turkey (yes, Turkey is in Asia – Google it), Düden Falls are gorgeous cascades that unfortunately have a less-than-gorgeous origin story, as they are formed by the local recycling station. You can see the falls best from the Mediterranean Sea, which the falls drop into, by taking a boat trip from the harbor.

11. Kegon Falls

Japan

A stream of spray and foam plunging into mountains and forest, Japan’s Kegon Falls is the overflow of the Oshiri River and Lake Chūzenji. Head into Nikko National Park in the Tochigi Prefecture and you’ll encounter the 97-meter shower fall into rainbow-filled pools, as well as 12 other smaller trickles to the sides of the main waterfall.

12. Jeongbang Waterfall

South Korea

Another famous waterfall found on South Korea’s Jeju Island, Jeongbang is thought to be the only waterfall in Asia that falls directly into the ocean (although it pours into a sheltered cove first before heading out to sea). Legend has it that a holy dragon lives under the falls and that the spirit of the dragon infuses the water with healing properties.

13. Kuang Si Falls

Laos

Just an hour away from the city of the ancient city of Luang Prabang, the impressive Kuang Si Falls with its impish fairy pools and jewel-toned waters is a popular tourist attraction and a must-see for anyone visiting the country. Don’t forget your swimsuit, so you can splash in pure turquoise and get a shoulder massage from the pouring waters.

14. Tinago Falls

Philippines

The beautiful mermaid-lagoon-style Tinago Falls (“Hidden Falls”) can be found on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, between the town of Linamon and the city of Iligan (a city nicknamed as the “City of Majestic Waterfalls”). The trek to the falls is mostly downhill, consisting of around 500 steps. The 73-meter drop of cold water ends in a beautiful blue lagoon and there’s also a small cave under the waterfall, where people can enter and listen to the sound of rushing water.

15. Thi Lo Su Falls

Thailand

Trek deep into the unspoiled jungle of Thailand’s Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and you’ll be rewarded with the multi-tiered falls of Thi Lo Su (“Loud Waterfall”). The intense flows live up to their name, as the Mae Klong River roars down limestone cliffs. There are also pools nearby you can swim in.

16. Unchalli Falls

India

Powered by the Aghanashini River in the Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka, Unchalli Falls are also known as Lushington Falls after J. D. Lushington, a British Government official who supposedly “discovered” the waterfall in 1845. Plunging a whopping 116 meters into a steep valley, Unchalli is also nicknamed “Keppa Joga” due to the deafening roar the water makes.

17. Jog Falls

India

Although these plunging falls go by many local names (Gerusoppe Falls, Jogada Gundi and Gersoppa Falls to name but a few), the vertical veins of water are an unmistakeable attraction of Sagara Taluk, in India’s Karnataka State. Water levels are at their highest just after the monsoon season, when the Sharavathi River pours into the pools of spray below.

18. Cheonjiyeon Waterfall

South Korea

The third and final Jeju-Island waterfall wonder on this list of the most incredible waterfalls in Asia is Cheonjiyeon (not to be confused with the similarly-named Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls), a name that translates as “Sky Connected with Land.”

19. Nunobiki Falls

Japan

Just a short walk from Kobe train station, along a trail that winds behind the buildings, you’ll come across Nunobiki Falls. Nunobiki is comprised of four separate falls: Ontaki, Mentaki, Tsutsumigadaki, and Meotodaki.

20. Dudhsagar Falls

India

Dudhsagar means “Sea of Milk” – one lo at the foaming spray of the falls and you’ll see how fitting the name truly is. The four tiers of the waterfall originate from the Mandovi River on the border between the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa, and can be accessed via treks through Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in the Western Ghats.

Is there anything more primitive and soul-affirming than a sweaty jungle trek, following the sounds of rushing water, peeling back branches until a waterfall reveals itself hidden behind the trees?

We hope you’re inspired by this collection of Mother Nature’s greatest works and let us know if you’ve ticked any of these Asian waterfalls off your travel bucket list.

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