Sangkhlaburi started this night market recently and so far it has been an instant success. The night market is on every Saturday night, in front of the Sangkhlaburi Hospital. The street is turned into a "walking street", i.e. no cars allowed. Here, one can see stalls selling food, souvenirs, clothes, women accessories and jewellery, and singers/dancers performing. Not really much different from other night markets in Thailand, but for this quiet town, this can be a fun place to spend an evening.
This shrine is really part of Wat Wang Wiwekaram (see my other post) but because it is geographically in a different location, I choose to setup a new post. This shrine was built by the Mon people and completed in 1989, and HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was present for the enshrining ceremony. The chief attraction here is the 59-meter-tall golden stupa which can be seen from across the lake. Outside this shrine is a market place for souvenirs, textile and furniture for cross-border sales, and a very old bell tower.
This is the most important temple in Sangkhlaburi and is also known as the Mon Temple. Some websites list this temple as the pride of the Mon people. This temple was the residence of the Mon's chief abbot Luang Pho Uttama (who passed away in 2006 at the age of 97). A statue of Luang Pho Uttama can be found in the main prayer hall.
Another chedi called Chedi Buddha Khaya, part of this great temple, is located in another nearby area. (Please see my other post Chedi Buddha Khaya.)
At 3-Pagoda Pass, there is a small border pass between Sangkhlaburi, Thailand and Myanmar. Foreigners are NOT allowed to pass. (This photographer tried asking the border guards but was advised not to.)
However at sunset, one can see scores of burmese nationals - mostly women - making their way back to Myanmar from Sangkhlaburi. I was told that they come to Sangkhlaburi to work in several factories (textile, footwear etc) within Sangkhlaburi. And they cross the border as if there's no border. The border guards did not even bother with them walking in and out.
While this may not really be classified as a tourist attraction, the morning market is still a good place to visit and view the way of life of the residents of this town. The market itself is not very big, and is sandwiched between the 2 streets Thetsaban 1 and Thetsaban 2. One can see, just like other towns in Thailand, monks walking around barefooted and villagers offering food such as cooked rice or fruits to them. In return, the monks blessed them by singing a short mantra. Lots of fish especially catfish are sold here, most likely because the nearly Khao Laem Lake has an abundance of catfish. And a market in Thailand is not really a market in Thailand unless there is at least one stall selling pork and displaying one or a few pigs' head, and this market has!
Not much literature is available on this temple called Wat Somdet, but one cannot miss it. Anyone driving to Sangkhlaburi town (from the direction of Kanchanaburi/Bangkok) will see a huge reclining buddha on the left and 9 big buddist statues in sitting positions on the right. This is a temple built by the Mon tribe and inside you can see a picture of Luang Phor Uttama, considered the chief abbot of the Mon temples in Sangkhlaburi. Luang Phor Uttama has passed away in 2006. One can just spend a few peaceful hours admiring the few big statues on both sides of highway 323, and almost all the time, you find that you are the only tourist admiring the statues.
NOT the usual tourist destination, but for dog lovers who have a little bit of time to spare in Sangkhlaburi, do drop by and either volunteer some time or make a donation. This Animal Sanctuary aims to provide temporary shelter for dogs who are injured, ill treated or abandoned by their owners, then find a new home or return to the streets after recovery. Their other aim is to sterialized dogs to keep the population down. This organization is run entirely by volunteers who are from all over the world, many of them coming here to stay for a few months or even a year. The existing compound is big enough only for 30+ dogs but they probably need a place for about 60 dogs. Their biggest problem is that the compound they are in, is owned by a school (Baan Unrak School) who ask them to move out next year.
(I put up this travel tip not because I'm paid to advertise for them but because I am full of admiration and respect for those few volunteers who are running the sanctuary. Oh yeah, I'm a dog lover too.)
Three Pagoda Pass, or Phra Chedi Saam Ong in Thai, is a historical border crossing at the Tenasserim mountain between Thailand and Myanmar. This pass has great historical importance because it is through this pass that the Burmese invaded Thailand, and vice versa. During World War II the Japanese build the infamous Death Railway through this pass. Even now from the Internet one can see news of skirmishes and gun fires in this area. And this border is NOT opened for foreigners to pass. Despite these problems, it is still a very beautiful place to spend a few hours in and admire the scenic mountain scenery. There is a small border market here selling gems, jewellery, food and furniture. There is also a 'border peace temple' built in April 2002 nearby.
The Mon Bridge is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand, spanning 850 meters across the Songkhla river. A few websites put the length as 400 meters, but I think 850 meters is more accurate. This bridge connects the Mon village on one side and the town of Sangkhlaburi on the other, facilitating travel between both sides of the river, although nowadays one can easily hop onto a car and drive to the other side over a nearby concreate bridge. At both ends of the bridge there are donation boxes. The donation is used for the maintenance of the bridge. Usually on this bridge, you can see tourists with cameras or little boys just playing or fishing. The bridge is also a good place to view the sunrise or sunset.
Scenn teaches simple folk dances in a few fun filled lessons. Depends of your ability, my partner took 1 hour to learn and i took 1 hour per day for 3 days. Anyway we could give a mini performance for an audience Scenn arranged.
The Tofu took us a bit longer. Half a day for the milk then wait to see the result of tofu the next day.
Then we took more lessons for Tofu & other Thai dishes but that's up to you if you want and how many you want. It was interesting to see the tastes and textures you can make with home made Tofu and Soya milk - especially if you mix it with the passion fruits Scenn grows.
This is supposingly the longest wooden bridge for pedestrian and vehicle to the Mon Village from the town, but now a new concrete bridge has been build and no vehicle and drive on this bridge anymore.
The Three Pagoda marks the final border to Myanmar. This three pagoda was first build with stones being stack up to mark the border with the burmese by King Rama I. These pagoda are no taller than 8ft in height with a diameter no larger and 6ft. There is a also a Thai-Japanese peace temple with an old rail track in front of this temple. This is also known as the famous Hell Railway that connect Singapore to Burma. The border is open from 6am till 6pm and if you are there at 6pm, you may be able to witness the border closing procedure with the burmese military doing a so called closing ceremony :)
This is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. It crosses a section of the lake, leading to as small village inhabited by Mons (a Burmese tribe).
It is about one hour pleasant walk from Sangkhlaburi and definitely worth a visit.
This bridge is very special. It's going across the lake, about 200 metres. It is 30-40 metres above lake level and while walking on it you can see the water underneath your feet, because the wooden planks are built in a distance of about 50 cm. At first you are a little scared, but since there are many Thai people safely crossing the bridge, I assumed it is secure....
When I was in the middle of the bridge I stood still, watched the sunset and felt if I was flying. It was a moment I will never forget!!
Most of the small villages and settlements along the lake shores have floating houses: very picturesque.
Some of them work also as guesthouses.