A giant teak bridge, a huge reservoir, and ancient sunken temples are just a few things to discover when in Kanchanaburi's westernmost district. If you are looking for a cultural experience in Kanchanaburi, Sangkhlaburi should be top of your list

Sangkhlaburi is located in the far west of Kanchanaburi province, next to the Burmese border. It is a quiet town with around 15,000 inhabitants from many different ethnic backgrounds which creates a rich and diverse atmosphere. The locals are Thais, Chinese, Lao, Karen, Mon, some Arakanese and even Bangladeshis. With such a diverse population, Sangkhlaburi is a unique district that attracts tourists from all over Thailand. Visitors like to wander through the colorful markets and trek out to the remote surrounding villages.

The Teak Mon Bridge

The district is mostly known for the Mon Bridge which is made from teak wood and spans 400 metres across Khao Laem Reservoir connecting the Mon Village of ‘Wang Kha’ to the Thai and Karen parts of the town. The bridge was constructed in 1993, but was recently damaged by storms (late 2013) and had to be partly re-built. In September 2014 the army stepped in and along with locals rebuilt the damaged section restoring it to its former glory.

teak mon bridge sangkhlaburiThe teak Mon bridge, recently restored to its former glory after major flood damage

Sunken Temples and Khao Leam Reservoir

A large part of the district is covered by Khao Laem Reservoir, an artificial lake formed by Vajiralongkorn Dam and the Kwai Noi River. Although Sangkhlaburi has hundreds of years of history, the town that stands now is relatively new, the completion of the dam in 1984 meant the old town had to be rebuilt on higher ground. All that remains are some half submerged structures of several Mon Temples, the eroded remains of a 400 year old pagoda, and the basements of several concrete buildings.

sunken temples sangkhlaburiSunken temples at Khao Laem Reservoir in Sangkhlaburi district

It is possible to hire a kayak to see the sunken temples, water levels vary throughout the year. During the dry season it is possible to actually walk inside the temples as they are not ‘sunken’ anymore. Boat trips are also available throughout the year, prices are around 500 Baht for a 2 hour trip out on the reservoir to see the temples, boats line up near to the Mon bridge, don’t forget to haggle the price!

sunken temples sangkhlaburiWhen we visited water levels were unusually low so the temples were revealed again after many years under water

How to get to Sangkhlaburi

Sangkhlaburi is in the far west of Kanchanaburi province next to the Burmese border crossing and at the end of the main road that runs straight through the province, the 323.

Driving there from Kanchanburi town is an easy task as you just follow 1 road, highway 323. The journey takes around 2 hours, but as there are many things to do on the way, it could take considerably longer. If you had the time you could quite easy spend a week traveling from Kanchanaburi to Sangkhlaburi stopping off on the way at attractions such as Sai Yok National Park, Khao Laem Dam and reservoir, or one of the many caves just off the main road.

Ohter attractions nearby in Kanchanaburi province include Thong Pha Phum National Park, Erawan Falls, Sri Sawat Reservoir, and Khuean Srinagarindra National Park home to the fantastic Huay Maekamin Waterfalls. To best enjoy these places it is best to hire a car, but buses do run from Kanchanaburi’s main town to Sangkhlaburi stopping at tourist destinations along the way.

Photo Guide – Sangkhlaburi

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