October 10, 2011 by

Local Recommendations, Sightseeing, Things To Do

Thailand's longest hand-made wooden bridge can be found in Sangkhlaburi - photo courtesy of petitpor via Flickr

Situated off the beaten path in a corner of Kanchanaburi Province near Myanmar, the sights in and around Sangkhlaburi are under-appreciated as far as Thai destinations go. One reason for this may be the grueling seven-hour bus ride from Bangkok, but if you can afford luxury transportation or are possessed of a sufficiently hearty constitution, this charming district is well worth the journey.

Founded in the late 1940s by the leader of a refugee group of Mon families who were fleeing persecution in Burma, this idiosyncratic district possesses a distinctive authenticity that is lacking in many of Thailand’s more touristic destinations. The sect’s founder, Luang Phor Uttama, passed away in 2006 and since that time the village proper has been in a state of mourning, with the result that alcoholic beverages are forbidden in public. This is no idle prohibition, and visitors should keep in mind that it is considered highly offensive not to respect this temporary limitation.

Area attractions include several temples and religious sites (Wat Wang Wiwekaram and Chedi Buddhakhaya being the most notable among them), the longest handmade wooden bridge in Thailand, and a sunken temple that was flooded after the construction of the Khao Laem Reservoir and is only visible when water levels are at their lowest. Several noteworthy markets straddle the border with Myanmar in the Three Pagodas Pass, as well as several waterfalls and popular trekking routes.

Keep in mind that despite the fact that Sangkhlaburi is a destination with religious significance and is also a spot that is popular with Thais, it is nonetheless far from crime-free, and it is advisable to avoid the bigger market areas after hours.

-John Reality

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