A Haven of Serenity in Sangkhlaburi

By Mark Wiens 15 Comments
wooden bridge sangkhlaburi thailand khao laem lake
Wooden Bridge Sangkhlaburi

Sangkhlaburi is a small town located about 5 hours Northwest of Bangkok in the province of Kanchanaburi, Thailand, on the Burmese border.  It is a haven of serenity and a superb place to unwind, relax, eat, and wander about.

Wooden Bridge at Dawn and Dusk

The longest wooden bridge in Thailand looks like a game of pick up sticks, with boards and branches pounded into place by dull nails.

The bridge itself is entertaining to walk across as is observing the clientele who traffic the bridge daily. At dawn, fog hovers over the water as the chaos remains still in the calm water. At dusk, the sun shines orange on the jumbled bridge as fishermen and boaters navigate the water.

wooden bridge sangkhlaburi thailand
Wooden Bridge

Rent Motor Bikes and Cruise

Renting a motor bike not only opens up opportunities of places to visit in and around Sangkhlaburi, but it’s just plain fun to cruise like the wind and not have to worry about rowdy or volumes of traffic, which are non existent in Sangkhlaburi.

The only place in town that rents out motor bikes is P. Guest House for 200 baht (6.14 USD) per 24 hours.

Hire a Boat to Visit the Sunken Temple

In the wet months, the temple is halfway submerged into the lake and it is eerily spectacular to float around the ruins on a boat and observe the freaky temple.

Though the temple is not itself aesthetically beautiful, the surrounding composition is gorgeous.  Water levels do drastically change from wet to dry season.

Boat should cost anywhere from 300-500 baht

sunken wat mon temple sangklaburi thailand
Sunken Wat Mon

Wat Wang Wiwekaram (Temple Wat Mon)

On the Mon side of the lake, across the wooden bridge, is the glittering golden Wat Wang Wiwekaram (Wat Mon). From a distance, you can see the temple glistening in the sunshine.

Up close it looks like a Babel of geometric shapes and shrines guarded by two giant sculpted lions. It is simple enough to walk the few kilometers to the temple, although motorcycle taxi’s are also an option.

wat mon temple sangkhlaburi thailand

wat mon temple sangkhlaburi thailand

Mon Market in the Morning

While walking to the market at 6 am, I was extremely privileged to catch a grandmother cutting vegetables while obliviously listening to a stereo blasting Chris Brown to the entire community (a moment to be cherished).

The am market on the Mon side of the lake is just another market until you open your eyes and look carefully.

Mon women secretly toke on massive cigarettes when no one is looking, vendors sell cooked snacks for a single baht a piece (1 baht= $.03), and the morning fresh catch from the lake is glamorously displayed.

mon mon market sangkhlaburi thailand
Mon Market Roti Ong

Having time to burn seems to be a general rule at this market, and it is an ultra relaxed environment.

My life changed forever when I spotted a husband and wife, combo-ing their forces to create a delicacy with the label of, Roti Ong.

A pancake like roti cooked in a wok over a fire and filled with chick peas, added spices, and crunchy fragrant onions. This stall in the Mon Market is an ultimate treat that could be the highlight of anyone’s visit to Sanghklaburi. I’m not ashamed to say, I went back for thirds in a matter of moments.

Note: Mon people are an ethnic group from Myanmar (Burma) living on the Thai-Burmese border.

mon market roti ong sangkhlaburi thailand
Roti Ong

Note: Mon Market is best in the early morning, try to arrive at 6-7 am, or right after viewing the sunrise on the wooden bridge.

Visit Takianthong Waterfalls

The Takianthong Waterfalls is about 18 kilometers from Sangkhlaburi town and is a lovely motor bike ride away. The small shelved waterfalls provide transparent, refreshing pools to splash about in and act like a child.

The highlight advantage of Takianthong, unlike the spectacular waterfalls in Luang Prabang Laos, was the low visitation rate which maximized the beauty and relaxation aspects of the river. When we were there, we shared the river with no one.

Entrance is 200 B for a foreigner

takianthong waterfalls sangkhlaburi
Takianthong Waterfalls

Ban Songkaria Resting Restaurants

About half way between Sangkhlaburi town and the Takianthong waterfalls, right by the bridge, is the Ban Songkaria area of river playing and eateries (about 9-10 km away).

A brilliant idea led to simple bungalows on stilts over the speedy flowing cool river paired with serving delightful som tam (papaya salad), sticky rice, and Issan foods. If you have an entire day this is a masterful place for rest and recuperation.

sangalia restaurant sangkhlaburi
Ultimate Relaxing at Sangalia Restaurant

Food Recommendations

Baan Urak: A quaint little coffee shop that serves baked goods to perfection. The chocolate cake (20 baht), cinnamon rolls (5 baht each), and carrot cake (20 baht), were all fantastic.

Suanmagmai Resort Restaurant: The Suanmagmai restaurant is a food connoisseur’s imagination in reality. The dishes are simmered and stir fried to flawless perfection. I’m sure everything on the menu is exuberant, but our order consisted of pad pak gung (vegetables with shrimp), gang som ruam mit (chili vegetable and fish soup), and the life altering gang kaeng*** (known in English as a Muntjac or a Barking Deer)- a Mon specialty of curried goat.

Accommodation

I met a friend who had a friend in Bangkok who allowed us to stay in the Sangalia Resort, in Sangkhlaburi town, free of charge. Depending on your budget, but if you would like to splurge a little, the Sangalia Resort is beautiful.  Other popular and lovely places I checked out to stay were the P. Guest House and the Burmese Inn.

wooden mon bridge sangkhlaburi thailand
Sanghkhlaburi Thailand

How To Get To Sangkhlaburi

  1. Vans depart from Century Mall at Victory Monument BTS station to Kanchanaburi town. The vans begin running at 5 am and depart every hour, taking about 2 hours. Cost is 110 baht
  2. From Kanchanaburi town you need to locate the van stall for Sangklaburi. Vans from Sangkhlaburi take about 3 hours. Cost is 175 baht

Have an awesome time in Sangkhlaburi.

15 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • vishal kaushik

    5 months ago

    Nice food blog. Thanks keep sharing!

  • michael

    9 years ago

    I have been in your town last year of
    Sangkhlaburi

    , I stayed in a hotel type guesthouse, it had a lodge then you walk down to steps of stone to the individual hut like room, that has an octagonal shape, can you tell me if you know the name of this establishment ?

    I know the view from the room which were individual hut like rooms…that over looked a valley, maybe Burma……let me know if I can help me in finding that place,

    Michael thanks for you time….

    my email is [email protected]

  • A Jung

    12 years ago

    Mark, loved how you describe both the natural and man made beauty of this place. What a marvelous bridge! Love and aloha, A Jung

  • flip

    12 years ago

    your picture of Wat Mon is amazing!!!

  • Eva

    12 years ago

    Dear writer,

    I truly enjoy reading your thoughts…looking forward to more pictures and stories =)

    Miss ya,

    -reader