Sangkhla Buri – About Sangkhla Buri in Thailand

It’s very interesting to read about Sangkhlaburi, as it is a Thai city with an unusual past. Sangkhlaburi was founded over 60 years ago by ethnic Mon families who were fleeing Burma. Even today many Mon do not speak Thai, but with simple English and some creative “sign language,” you can generally make yourself understood. In this town there are several cultures existing side by side as people of Karen, Mon, Thai or Burmese background live together somewhat uneasily. There are occasionally racial clashes in this idyllic seeming town, so tourists should be aware and avoid certain areas, such as the market place, at night. Aside from that Sangkhlaburi is a fascinating place well worth spending a few days in. Thai tourists also come here to relax and perhaps attend a party at one of the many houseboats.

Sangkhlaburi, Thailand Thailand,  Sangkhlaburi
 

Getting there

From Bangkok, usually people take a bus to Sangkhlaburi, a trip of about 8 hours. You can break up the journey with a stop at Kanchanaburi, another popular tourist attraction. Ask at a travel agency in Kanchanaburi to book a mini bus for a short tour of the area, if you are interested. Another way to get to Sangkhlaburi is to travel by train to Nam Tok and then get one of the buses that are scheduled to leave every half hour. Within the city, you can get around by motorcycle taxi or rent your own motorbike for speed and convenience. Just walking around Sangkhlaburi is a great way to see the sights and get a feel for the city.

Sightseeing

Don’t miss a stroll across the odd looking bridge that spans the water. The name of this unusual structure is Saphan Mon. Its 400 meter length makes it probably the longest hand built wooden bridge in the entire country. There is a café at one end, which makes a pleasant rest stop to have a drink and a snack. Although you have to keep an eye out for rough places where the bridge was crudely repaired, so that you don’t trip and fall, walking the bridge is very exciting and a unique experience. If you can, ask someone to take your picture on the bridge to show friends back home when you tell them about Sangkhlaburi.

The bridge leads from the center of town to a Mon village. On the far side of this village you’ll see a market with Burmese crafts and other goods. Wat Wang Wiwekaram is an interesting temple nearby. Wat Saam Prasob, another temple, is remarkable because it was submerged under water when the Khao Laem Dam was constructed. Nowadays you can visit the ruins of this temple by boat. In the dry season, when the water level is lower, you are actually able to walk on the grounds of this ruined building.

Sangkhlaburi in Thailand Thailand,  Sangkhlaburi
 

Walking

Just wandering around exploring the city on foot is fun and can lead to discovering some interesting spots. However, studying a map to find out the places most worth seeing or hiring a guide who really knows about Sangkhlaburi will help make sure you don’t miss anything. Death Road, built by prisoners of war during the Second World War, is now nothing but faint traces, which can be more easily found with a guide. In the direction of the market and Three Pagodas Pass, there is a road leading to a magnificent waterfall. To get to this splendid sight, however, you need to walk through the rain forest and even swim rivers. You definitely need a reliable guide on this adventure.

Accommodation

Accommodation in Sangkhlaburi is basic. Rooms in the simple guesthouses should be reserved in advance. The local people will treat you with wonderfully kind hospitality. You’ll find a good number of restaurants where you can taste the local cuisine or European style food, according to your mood. In general this is a delightful city. Just be careful and don’t ignore the reports about Sangkhlaburi’s ethnic tensions.

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