Sangkhlaburi in the northwest of the province of Kanchanaburi, Thailand, lies next to the border of Myanmar. It’s a pretty small town with a population comprising a mixture of Thai, Karen, and Mon people. Given its relative distance from Bangkok, I was pretty surprised by the number of foreigners I’ve seen in the area, either working as NGO staff or volunteers, or travelers looking to escape the tourist traps of the big cities.
I did learn though that there are some interesting things to see and do in Sangkhlaburi. When I arrived, it had been raining hard, so I contented myself with walking around town with a colleague. First on our itinerary was Saphan Mon, the town’s wooden bridge connecting the Thai and Mon states. At 400 meters, it is said to be the longest wooden bridge in Thailand.
Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the bridge, although we’ve seen bicycles. There are gaps between the slats, so if you’re afraid of heights, don’t look down; you’ll see the brown Tsonga river down below. At both ends of the bridge are donation boxes; if you’re crossing over, do drop some bills as it’s meant to help in the maintenance of the bridge.
At the other end is a Mon village, and tourists are greeted by stalls and shops selling handwoven cloth that Mon women wear as a skirt. I bought a green one for 160 Baht, and being small, it can easily be made into a dress for me. The shopkeepers were nice and friendly and allowed haggling, though communication had been a bit of a problem. We resorted to hand signals and much laughter on both sides.
To go to Saphan Mon from the town center, either hire a motorbike, or (as we did), walk. There are not too many people but you do have to be careful with the stray dogs that are all over town.
How to go to Sangkhlaburi, Thailand: There are daily trips to Sangkhlaburi from the Mon Chit station in Bangkok (ask at the Information Booth for the ticket counter number as there are a lot of them). Schedules vary every day, but the bus usually leaves anytime from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The trip takes around 6-7 hours depending on the number of stops the bus makes.
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Aleah Taboclaon is a freelance writer and editor. She likes running (completed one marathon, training for the next!), diving (PADI open water diver), and traveling with her Kindle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can also email her; she would love to hear from you!