A Small Town in North West Thailand

Chedi Luang Phaw Utama

I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel  Rosalia De Castro

You may just be on the right road to Sangkhlaburi, a pretty little town nestled around a lake and surrounded by high peaks, if you feel you are going nowhere slowly. The town is situated north west of Thailand near the border of Burma. To get there you need to head out on the highway from Kanchanaburi towards the lush mountainous west on what seems to be a never ending road to nowhere. Travel distance is around 225 kilometres (133 miles).

There is no shortage of natural as well as historical distractions along the way. One such diversion only 30 kilometres or 18 miles outside Kanchanaburi, is a prehistorical neolithic burial site believed to date back as far as 10,000 years.

A little further on towards Sangkhlaburi is a historical park with several remains of a 13th century Khmer city. And still further up from there is the remnants of what was once Hellfire Pass, a mountain access cut from rock by prisoners forced by the Japanese to build the Death Railway during the World War II.

One of Thailand's popular waterfalls is at Erawan National Park along the route, albeit on a different road. Close by are two limestone caves and another waterfall with large deep pools. Back on the highway again, you can stop over at Hin Dat Hot Springs, where you can take a welcome rest, soak it up in the pleasant mineral rich waters and have something to eat at a food stall. Thereafter, go visit one of the elephant camps along the way.

Erawan Waterfall

Sangkhlaburi - Sai Yok National Park

Still further towards Sangkhlaburi is Sai Yok National Park, where a distraction of another kind took place during the Russian roulette scenes that were filmed there for the Hollywood movie The Deer Hunter. Nestling under some soaring mountain peaks is Thong Pha Thum. It's the last village you come across before you head up a steep, winding ascent to Sangkhlaburi where a combination of limestone peaks and the huge lake Vajiralongkorn make for some quite spectacular views.

Approximately half way from this point is Sunyataram Forest Monastery where one of Thailand's most charismatic and revered monks was once involved in a series of scandals and subsequently had to flee the country in the mid 1990's. Posters of the disgraced monk still adorn the walls and you are very welcome to purchase some of his sermons and books. The slightly run-down monastery consists wooden buildings that are spread out around the forest.

Sawan Bundarn Cave

Sangkhlaburi - Sawan Bundarn Cave

Sawan Bundarn Cave is just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Sangkhlaburi and situated near the Three Pagoda Pass. Inside the cave you will encounter bats so small that many of them are only about the size of a bumblebee. See if you can spot any! Friendly monks maintain the cave and there is no entrance fee here.

Three Pagodas Pass Border

Sangkhlaburi - Three Pagodas Pass Border

The outlying area of Sangkhlaburi is host to the Karen and Mon hill tribe villages, a few curious caves and waterfalls in the Khao Laem Wildlife Reserve and the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. Another 25 kilometres or 15 miles further north towards the Burmese border you'll find the Three Pagodas Pass. 

This became the main overland trade route between Thailand and southern Burma. Although the pass was named after three small pagodas, the ones seen at the site are not the original pagodas as they were submerged by the reservoir as the lake has become known. There is not much to do here other than to buy a few souvenirs at the busy market. The pass is normally open from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm but tourists are not permitted to cross the border. Local Thai's are the only people allowed to cross over.

Floating House on lake Vajiralongkorn

Sangkhlaburi - Places of Interest

Taking a leisurely stroll across Mon Bridge, named after the Mon tribes people, is an adventure all on its own and well worth the experience. It is also the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. Just be careful walking across the bridge, though, as it is quite rickety in places and you would need to constantly look where you put your foot next. High heels are definitely not recommended.

The village people who built the bridge, maintain any repairs that are needed. They also know just how to navigate their way across with absolute ease. Once you reach the end, you will come across a small Mon village where you can stop for a cool drink and perhaps sample some of the local cuisine. From here you will be able to view some of the floating houses occupied by the locals.

The longest Wooden Bridge
in Thailand

Sangkhlaburi - More Places of Interest

Once you have completed the 400 metre epic journey across the bridge to the Mon village and restored some much needed energy, then a visit to the nearby Wat Wangwiwekaram will only add to your excitement. The awe inspiring and unusual complex is the amalgamation of Thai, Burmese and Indian architecture.

To get there you would need to take a left turn parallel to the lake and walk about 2 kilometres along a concrete road. Take your time as you don't want to be all hot and sweaty when you get there. Air-conditioning is a luxury here. If you like, why not ask one of the locals with a motorcycle to ferry you there.

On the left you will see a huge golden Chedi and an interesting daily market in front of it selling mainly Burmese handicrafts including simple wooden carvings and textiles including sarongs. On the right you will see the main temple buildings which houses murals depicting the stages of Buddha's past and present lives.

Luang Phaw Utama nearby, is built in the style of the Mahabodhi stupa of Bodhgaya, India and forms part of the same temple complex. It is a towering gold-topped Chedi that commands an extensive and breathtaking view over the surrounding countryside. Inside the temple complex, you will find Thailand's largest marble image of Buddha.

The local information Service Centre

Sangkhlaburi - Elephant Trekking

Now is the perfect opportunity for you to do some jungle trekking or better still, elephant trekking and perhaps a spot of bamboo rafting as well. A motor boat ride on the lake is also an absolute must. Should you be here during the dry season when the water is fairly low, then there is a good chance you will get to see the sunken ruins of an ancient older town half hidden in the murky waters. If diving is your scene you can explore the underwater treasure from a different angle.

Elephant Camp
in Town

Return from Sangkhlaburi to Central Thailand

Visit Luxury Thailand Travel's profile on Pinterest.

Recent Articles

  1. Bangkok Escort Chanel

    Sep 24, 16 07:36 AM

    Bangkok Escort Chanel is offering hot blooded males a once in a lifetime opportunity to make their erotic fantasies a reality, but you'll need to strike the iron while it's sizzling hot.

    Read More

  2. Bangkok Escort Chrystal

    Sep 24, 16 04:32 AM

    Asian girls don't come more fresh faced than Bangkok Escort Chrystal. Not only does this bubbly babe sport a smooth and flawless skin tone, she has an exceptional hourglass figure to match.

    Read More

  3. Bangkok Escort Ivy

    Sep 23, 16 07:26 AM

    Look no further than Bangkok Escort Ivy as your perfect dinner date, dance companion and bedroom babe as this bubbly lass has more than enough energy to make all your erotic pleasures come true.

    Read More

  4. Bangkok Escort Venus

    Sep 22, 16 08:41 AM

    While the planet Venus may be the second brightest object in the night sky, Bangkok Escort Venus, named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, is the brightest star in the city of angels.

    Read More

  5. Bangkok Escort Pam

    Sep 19, 16 12:25 PM

    Look no further than Bangkok Escort Pam for a truly unforgettable girlfriend experience. She cordially invites you to join her for a wild ride that's sure to bring the whole house down.

    Read More

Please note that this post contains some affiliate links which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you should purchase after clicking through my blog. Also remember that I never promote any products or services here unless I've used and loved them myself.

Your host Grahame (Yep! that's me) from Luxury Thailand Travel says he'd really appreciate your kind support. Simply take your next tour by selecting any one of the many excursions listed on the left side of this page and or book your hotel reservation to amazing Thailand using the HotelTravel search box below. Have a happy holiday and a safe trip.

Rooms :

Additional Info

E-mail Address
First Name

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Luxury Thailand Travel.

Touristlink Certification Badge

Free Web Submission

Build a Better Travel Blog

Thai Dating

Hotel Booking – Worldwide Leader in Hotel Bookings with Guaranteed Lowest Rates and Discounts of up to 75% Off!

Hotels and Resorts

Top Thailand Hotels



National Parks



Kids Stuff

Bangkok Markets

Bangkok Temples

Arts and Crafts




Herbs and Spices

Mythical Creatures


Go Go Bars

Blog Traffic 

privacy policy