The Only Sangkhaburi Travel Guide You’ll Need
Sangkhlaburi is one of my favorite destinations in central Thailand. I have visited this hidden jungle village five times in the past few years. It has always been fantastic.
Traveling to Sangkhlaburi is a great way to get really off the beaten track in Thailand. For many visitors, Sangkhlaburi is just too far out of the way. That is great news if you are looking for an adventure destination.
The most difficult part about traveling to Sangkhlaburi is simply getting there. The town is at a dead end of a 200km road north-west of Kanchanaburi. It is the one road in and out, no loops to be made from here.
Once you make it to Sangkhlaburi though, there are few great destinations to visit. In this Sangkhlaburi travel guide, you will discover what to see with two or three days in this remote jungle town.
The wooden Mon Bridge is the most iconic attractions in Sangkhlaburi. This huge 850-meter long bridge spans North to South across part of the Vajiralonkorn Lake. It is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand and the second longest in the world!
The Mon Bridge connects the Thai and Burmese cultural sides of the town.
The best time to visit the Mon Bridge is for sunrise or sunset. There are fewer people around and the bridge is a great viewpoint looking over the lake. For a unique perspective on the bridge, try to get at ground level looking up with the sunset in the background.
Sunken Temple (Wat Saam Prasob)
Sangkhlaburi wasn’t always where it stands today. It was actually located in what is now Vajiralonkorn Lake. One day the Thailand government approved this region to be converted into a dam to provide the water supply for Kanchanaburi.
These days, the only visible part of the old town is the top of the sunken temple (Wat Saam Prasob). Visiting the temple is easy with a long tail boat.
Boat operators charge just 200 to 300 THB (USD 10) for a one hour trip out to the sunken temple. That is a pretty fair price for a quick trip.
During the wet season, the temple is almost completely submerged. However, if you visit in the dry season around December to March you may even be able to walk around the temple.
Three Pagodas Pass
The Three Pagodas Pass is the final road out to the Myanmar border. At the end of this 25km road, there are Three small pagodas which stand in a row. They were built to commemorate the battles fought between Thailand and Myanmar, although this doesn’t seem to be completely over yet.
The pagodas are nothing exceptional to visit, but perhaps worth a photo.
Besides the Three Pagodas, there is a small border market where you can find Burmese goods such as whiskey, cigarettes, food, and furniture for sale. While the stalls as in Thailand, the back of the shop is open to Myanmar so that goods can be passed through the back wall duty-free.
Along the way to the Three Pagodas, there are a few discrete side trails which veer off into the jungle. Follow one of these routes for about 5 to 10km and you will likely find a small isolated waterfall to enjoy by yourself. One of these is the Takhiantong Waterfall.
Entry to the waterfall is free. There is a small carpark for motorbikes across the road. Once you hike down a short path there are a few levels at the Takhiantong Waterfall to enjoy. However, don’t expect anything as big as the 7 levels at the Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi.
We stumbled upon this amazing waterfall by chance. The Kratengjeng Waterfall is deep in the jungle of the Khao Laem National Park. It is actually located 50km south of Sangkhlaburi, just off the main road heading into town.
There is no information about this waterfall online except for my dedicate blog post on jungle trekking to the Kratengjeng Waterfall. So you better visit that if you want any chance of finding this place.
Though nearly impossible to find, once you do it feels like you have dropped in the middle of the jungle, without the three-day hike.
The Kratengjeng Waterfall is one of the most beautiful and remote waterfalls I have had the pleasure of visiting in Thailand.
Tubing on the River
You don’t have to go to Vang Vieng to go tubing down the river. There is a great spot to go tubing just 10km north of Sangkhlaburi along the way to the Three Pagodas.
I have no idea what the river is called, but as you cross the small concrete bridge heading north of Sangkhlaburi, watch out to your right-hand side for a small set of wooden huts. Here you can grab a traditional Thai lunch such as som tam and pork larb with a big cold bottle of Singha beer to wash it all down.
How to Get to Sangkhlaburi
Van – The best way of getting to Sangkhlaburi is by minivan from Kanchanaburi. Buses leave every couple of hours from the Kanchanaburi bus terminal. A one-way trip takes about 4 to 4.5 hours and costs roughly 250 THB (USD 10).
Motorbike – Another option is to rent a motorbike in Kanchanaburi and ride the 200km road out to Sangkhlaburi. This is one of the most amazing motorbike routes in Thailand. The roads are super windy as they make their way over the mountains, much like the motorbike route from Chiang Mai to Pai. Motorbikes can be rented in Kanchanaburi for about 200 THB per day.
Tour – Day trips from Bangkok to Sangkhlaburi are lengthy but possible if you are short on time. Check out this Sangkhlaburi Day Trip. The tour is run by local Thais through TakeMeTour.
Recommended Hotels in Sangkhlaburi
Sangkhlaburi has a huge range of budget accommodation available from 100 THB to 2000 THB per night. Personally, my favorite hotels are those right up against the Vajiralonkorn Lake such as the Pornpailin Riverside Resort.
It is amazing spending the early morning or late afternoon paddling around the lake on a bamboo raft or kayak. When the day is done, you can chill out with your feet in the water and a cold beer or fruit smoothie in hand. This is where you realize how amazing Thailand truly is.
When to Travel to Sangkhlaburi
Sangkhalburi is a good destination to travel all year round. However, it should be noted that in the wet season it is exceptionally wet. In the hot season, it is damn hot.
Remember, you are in a remote jungle town therefore not all guesthouses are equipped with airconditioning. If you truly want to be an intrepid traveler you have to adjust and get used to these conditions. Do not go complaining to the guesthouse owner it is too hot for your liking, or the roof is leaking a few drops of water!
Sangkhlaburi is a very popular destination for Thai tourists to visit on a long weekend. If you choose to visit on a Thai public holiday, be sure t book your accommodation weeks in advance.
I made the mistake once of not booking on a Thai public holiday and had to sleep in a small tent in the kitchen area of our resort. It was the last bed left in the entire town; even the public school was full!
Malaria in Thailand
Often I see the question asked, should I take malaria tablets? Generally, I would answer no. However, if you are going to Sangkhlaburi I would suggest yes.
Sangkhlaburi is rated high on the list for Malaria in Thailand. If it is more common than rare, you should take your pills just a precaution.
If you’ve read the story about how I got Dengue Fever in Thailand, you will know that I only have to learn my lesson once.