It’s the world’s biggest continent, home to the highest and lowest points on the planet and some of its most wondrous natural phenomena, including waterfalls. From thundering plunges into deep pools to burbling jungle cascades, the waterfalls of Asia are as diverse as its vast landscapes.
There’s certainly no shortage of waterfalls in Asia to choose from, but in this article, we’re picking out the most captivating of all the cascades. So let’s take the plunge and explore Asia’s best waterfalls, starting with the tallest waterfall in Asia.
The Tallest Waterfall in Asia
In seeking out the tallest waterfall in Asia, it’s worth mentioning that measuring waterfalls is far from simple. Not only is it difficult to achieve with any accuracy, but there’s no formal method of doing so. Therefore, there is no “official” highest Asian waterfall. Having said this, one possible contender for the title of the tallest waterfall in Asia is Japan’s Hannoki Falls. At 1,640 feet tall, this horsetail cataract flows alongside the second-tallest waterfall in the country, the 1,148-foot Shōmyō Falls. However, while Shōmyō is perennial, Hannoki only appears from April to July each year.
Huangguoshu Waterfall | China
One of the best known waterfalls in Asia is Huangguoshu Falls along the Baishui River in southwest China. It’s a block waterfall, meaning that it’s wider than it is tall. In fact, at some 270 feet across and at least 220 feet in height, it’s one of the largest in the country by surface area. There’s even an additional surprise behind the falls, a 440-foot long cave known as “Shuiliandong”.
Huangguoshu, which translates as the “Yellow Fruit Tree Waterfall,” is the name of the waterfall, the national park in which it resides and the UNESCO-listed Scenic Area surrounding it. UNESCO describes the landscape of this area as having “exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance”.
Erawan Falls | Thailand
It’s not hard to see why Erawan Waterfall is a firm favourite amongst the waterfalls of Asia. With its crystal-clear waters, seven main tiers and untamed jungle setting, this Thai cascade has an almost magical quality. This is further enhanced when one learns that the name “Erawan” derives from a three-headed white elephant from Hindu mythology and is inspired by the top of the cascade’s tiers, which is said to resemble it.
Ban Gioc Waterfall | Vietnam and China
Straddling the border between Vietnam and China, Ban Gioc-Detian is one of the largest and most beautiful waterfalls in Asia. Depending on the flow of the Quay Son River, it can in fact be one, two or even three waterfalls, being split by the rocks and trees of the landscape when there’s less water.
Jog Falls | India
Amidst the thick forests and mountains of the Western Ghats of Karnataka, the Sharavati River is 18 miles away from its mouth when it plummets 830 feet, forming Jog Falls. It does so at a rate of some 5,400 cubic feet per second, segmenting into four streams. These are known respectively as the Horseshoe, the Roarer, the Rocket, and the Queen.
Shiraito Falls | Japan
Waterfalls hold a special, even sacred status within Japanese culture, and some of Asia’s best waterfalls are found in this island nation. Among the most captivating of these are Shiraito Falls near Mount Fuji. It’s here that fire and ice meet, with hundreds of delicate streams of melted snow from Fuji springing from a 200-foot wide wall of solid lava.
Nohkalikai Falls | India
For those looking for waterfalls in Asia, the Indian state of Meghalaya is a treasure trove, with at least 16 vast and famous falls to its name. Nohkalikai Falls is one of the most spectacular of these, as well as being one of the tallest in the country with a height of approximately 1,115 feet. The waterfall is named after a tragic legend involving a woman named Ka Likai, who is said to have jumped off its edge. The water of the falls plunges into a deep pool at the bottom, which appears green due to the reflection of the surrounding greenery.
Sekumpul Waterfall | Indonesia
Northern Bali is renowned for its cascades, of which Sekumpul Waterfall is probably the best known. Made up of seven or so streams running down the sides of a gorge covered in mosses and other plant life, this is a true jungle gem. Other nearby waterfalls include the Hidden and Fiji Waterfalls.
Kawasan Falls | Philippines
Dazzling turquoise waters and rich vegetation surround the numerous cascades of Kawasan Falls. Located in the southern part of Cebu Island in the Philippines, these idyllic Asian waterfalls are the very epitome of picturesque.
Kuang Si Falls | Laos
Located just outside the city of Luang Prabang, Kuang Si Falls is a beautiful three-tiered waterfall that’s known for its powdery-blue water.
The Waterfalls of Asia
With so many marvellous waterfalls in Asia, we’ve barely dipped our toe into exploring them. Even so, it’s clear that Asian waterfalls are ex-stream-ly powerful natural wonders.