Sangkhlaburi (สังขละบุรี) is an area in the north-west of Kanchanaburi Province, close to Myanmar. It is a valley where three rivers converge (Songkhalia and Biklie Rivers run all the way down from Myanmar, and Runti River from Uthaithani, Thailand), and is full of natural beauty that attracts a lot of visitors despite its remoteness. This valley in which Sangkhlaburi lies was home to the local Mon community some 40 years ago. But after the construction of the Vajiralongkorn Dam in 1984, much of the village was submerged under water, and what remained became separated into two parts. These two halves of the town were later linked by what has become Sangkhlaburi’s most famous trait, the wooden Mon Bridge initiated by Luangpho Uttama – the Kingdom’s most revered Mon monk. Sangkhlaburi remains as a tranquil district where people leading a simple life. The Three Pagodas Pass is the border crossing station to Myanmar.
Sightseeing in Kanchanaburi:
(1) Wat Tham Sua
It is one of the famous temples in Kanchanaburi. Those who come to visit this temple will see a beautiful Buddha image named Chin Prathanporn, which was built in 1973. Apart from respecting to the Buddha Image, visitors can also pay respect to the holy relics in Ketkaew Prasat Chedi. Visitors who wish to pay respect to the Buddha image need to make a choice between climbing up 157-flight of steep steps or taking a tram trip to the top of the hill. The panoramic view here is breathtaking, which is also a popular camera moment among visitors.
(2) Prommitr Film Studio
Located at Surasi Military Camp, Mueang District, this studio was the location of a historic Thai trilogy film entitled “The Legend of King Naresuan“, which depicts the relationship between the Siamese Kingdom of Ayutthaya and the Hongsawadi Kingdom of Burma. Lavish and expensive, this movie represents the pinnacle of Thai filmmaking. Within the 700-acre compound of wild land, magnificent palace replicas and gleamingly gilded halls, pagodas, temples and ancient villages of both the Ayutthaya and Hongsawadi Kingdoms can be seen. Interesting highlights for visit include Sanphet Prasat Palace, Weapons Storage Room, Hongsawadi Wall, the Lion Throne, the Dungeon, the Portuguese Gun Exhibit, Ayutthaya Wall, and Props Storage Room. Visitors can take photos in a traditional Thai or Burmese costume at THB 400, traditional dress, make-up, hair-styling, a colour print-out of photo and 1 CD of 10 e‐files are included.
Sightseeing in Payathonsu, Myanmar through the Three Pagodas Pass in Sangkhlaburi:
(1) Three Pagodas Pass
The Three Pagodas are also called Dan Chedi Sam Ong in Thai. It is located in the Tenasserim Hills on the border between Thailand and Myanmar. The pass links the town of Sangkhlaburi in the north of Thailand with the town of Payathonsu in the south of Kayin State in Myanmar. The pass is named after these three small, crumbling chedis, which were probably built at the end of Ayutthaya period as symbols of peace.
(2) Tai Ta Ya Monastery or Sao Roi Ton Temple in Payathonsu
This temple, which was built 23 years ago, is known as Wat Sao Roi Ton among Thais. Its large prayer hall is in a two‐storey concrete building. Each floor has dozens of huge wooden pillars reaching the roof. The gable and guttering of the roof are decorated with beautiful wooden carvings and the middle of the gable features a painted golden swan. The swan is the symbol of an ethnic Mon monastery. The golden pagoda built in this temple is the same style of Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites, in Myanmar’s former capital Yangon.
(3) More temples nearby Sao Roi Ton Temple in Payathonsu
We hired a tour guide to guide us through the short journey in Payathonsu in Myanmar. These tour guides are children not older than 16 years old. Despite the first temple, our little tour guide also took us to visit two more local temples nearby. One temple is also a school where we witnessed the pupils singing songs, whereas another one is on the hill offering a magnificent view.
Sightseeing in Sangkhlaburi:
(1) Wat Wang Wiwekaram
This temple is the home of Luangpho Uttama, a monk very much revered by the Thais and Mons, including the Karen people and the Burmese living in the region. Therefore, it is also known as Wat Luang Phor Uttama. On the riverbank, within the Buddhist assembly hall there is an elegant marble image of the Buddha called Luangpho Khao. Under a mile from the temple itself is the Buddha Gaya Chedi, which contains the relics of Lord Buddha’s right thumb. The Burmese influence is keenly felt here.
(2) Wat Saam Prasob (The Sunken Temple)
In 1984, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand built Khaolam Dam or Wachiralongkorn Dam. The water in Khaolam Dam flooded over the former Sangklaburi District and this temple, leaving it under the water for more than a decade. Nowadays, the old monastery under water becomes the famous tourist attraction in Sangkhlaburi. When the water level reduces, the whole underwater city will appear. The best time to visit is from March to April when the water level reaches the lowest point. How to get there? Hire a long-tailed boat at the Mon Bridge.
(3) Mon Bridge (Saphaan Mon)
This bridge connects Sangkhlaburi and the Mon Community. This bridge, which is Sangkhlaburi’s most famous trait, is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. On the bridge, we saw a lot of children selling simple stuff and doing performances to make their living for life and schooling. Most of them are from an orphanage nearby. Unlike other places, they will not force you to buy their stuff and will leave away once you decline their offers. In the Mon Community, there are a lot of little stalls selling souvenirs and local food such as congee in the morning.
(4) Giving alms to monks in the morning in Mon Community
Every morning, there is a long line of people waiting to give alms to the monks in the Mon Community. If you wish, you can also rent a Mon costume while giving alms to the monk. You are recommended to reach there around 6 am so that you can finish the ritual within one hour.
(5) Night Market in Sangkhlaburi
There is a night market in Sangkhlaburi. Watch our video to see how interesting the local hot pot is and find out other local street food that you can find in this night market!
(6) Hindad Hot Spring
On the way back to Bangkok, we stopped at Hindad Hot Spring, which was once known as Kuimang Hot Spring. Built to contain a plentiful quantity of hot water during the Second World War by the Japanese forces, the Hindad pools are large enough for swimming and relaxing. With the cool stream of a natural river running just a few feet away, a quick dip from the hot to the cold water helps to relax your muscles. Thai massage is also available on-site for a minimal fee.