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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@ Jessi: Good for you! I never had that chance since it had been raining everyday when we were there 🙁
I live in Sangklaburi scince 3 months and today we jumped of the bridge into the lake…AWESOME*** ILOVE this little town…
The towns before had been flooded so badly they had to make a new one to accommodate the displaced people. — interesting!
it’s nice that even if they’re new, they still looked traditional and did not go all modern.
@ June: Yes, rural Thailand really looks similar to the Philippines 🙂
@ Yodz: I want to visit the temples here in BKK too. Don’t know if I’ll have the time though!
It’s a good thing shopkeepers are nice and friendly, unlike in HK. Though I’m really interested to see Thailand’s old temples, a quick peek at Sangkhlaburi could spice up the trip.
Thanks for sharing!
@ Koen: Sangkhla is a very nice town. Did you know it’s only 27 years old? The towns before had been flooded so badly they had to make a new one to accommodate the displaced people. Want to go back there to go (1) boating along the river, (2) biking in the mountains, and (3) running along the trails.
Someday would like to experience this by myself, walking this bridge from one side to another…seems quite appealing…certainly when you know it’s the longest wooden one in Thailand…
the place really looks like Philippines..but i really like that long wooden bridge..
@ Bob Crunch: Thanks. It’s nice to be here; if only it weren’t raining everyday!
@ CA: I’m looking forward to buying stuff in Bangkok hehe
@ Red: Haven’t eaten yet at the floating restaurants! Wish I could though but it’s always raining 🙁
Haha! What a great incentive for donating money into the boxes – I bet no one wants the bridge maintenance to stop!!! But being afraid of heights, I’m MUCH more interested in the floating restaurants!!
wow parang ang sarap naman magshopping. i envy you, thailand is one of my dream place to visit. 🙂
Those are some great pictures! The bridge looks very inviting.