Longest wooden bridge in Thailand

This is a place that i never expected i would visit, not even known on most recommendations i see online. Prior to my Thai trip, i planed to explore some non-typical places to visit in Thailand, most of the travel blogs recommended the usual places, Chiang mai, Chiang rai, Tak, Issan. But none of which is within my reach… I came across a random blog that introduced to me this mystical town called Mon Village.

This village is situated at Sangkhlaburi District, next to Kachanaburi and 5 hours away from bangkok. Making the trip there is equally fascinating.

Going from Kachanaburi: There are two ways to go there, either by private van or public bus, depending on your budget and comfort. There is only one ticketing office for the private van, based in a shop house(dark translucent doors) opposite Kachanaburi bus terminal, asked around for direction, we couldn’t recognise the shop at all. At the office, one can immediately recognise the locals who is of Burmese descent as they have white face painting over their cheeks. I was surprise that there is only 2 tourists waiting for the bus, and 1 european guy who arrived late as the tickets are sold out fast.

We finally arrived after a long road trip, with a few stops along the way. It was a tough journey with some steep roads, lots of risky bends and a couple of police checks when nearing Sangkhlaburi (so get ready your identification/passport near you). But i enjoyed the long trip anyways, something that is impossible in Singapore.

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Daily night market selling Thai and Burmese snacks.. You can find 711 round the corner
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P. Guest House is the only place where you can rent a bike
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Halal vegetarian Samosa
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Impressive bridge built by the local community of Sanghklaburi.
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love the vibes of this place
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Check out the smiley face
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Beautiful night lights, cool and calming 
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Mon village
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woke up at 6am to see this
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floating bamboo bridge replacing the wooden bridge when it collapse in 2013.
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Man on his long boat
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away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok
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The practice of offering food is a Theravada Buddhist tradition, its their way of laity support for the Monk’s training.

One of the main activity at Sangkhlaburi is to observe/take part in the morning alms giving tradition. As early as 5 am, one will be able to see monks from the nearby monasteries walking along the street to receive alms. Here are some dos and don’ts for photographers who are not partaking in the ritual..

  • Always Keep a respectful distance, do not obstruct the laity or monks, use a long lens if you need.
  • Dress modestly: This is doubly important if you plan to participate in the almsgiving. Take off your shoes if you’re giving alms.
  • Never use your camera flash: It distracts the monks’ concentration from the spoils the solemnity of the ritual.
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They are probably the first in line to offer alms to the Monks, as their spot is quite a distance away from the main street where most devotees congregate
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I am as excited as they are…
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The most senior monk usually walks at the front
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offering of rice & flowers
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Giver and receiver… The monastics depend on the generosity of the lay community to sustain, therefore the monks accepts any food that is offered.
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The ritual is done in silence; the almsgivers do not speak, nor do the monks. Note the lady removes her shoe out of respect
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Beautiful sight, one that you can’t see in Singapore
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This lady devotee humbly wait for their arrival
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She prostrate before the monks when they are close, the sincerity of her offering(just rice) is far greater.
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what a sight to see, the saffron robes in contrast to the colourful clothes of the laity.

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Monks walk in meditation
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Sunrises over the Thai-Burmese border
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At 442 metres long, the wooden bridge is one of Sangkhlaburi signature sites
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Mile stone of Sangkhlaburi
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Traditional breakfast, you can opt for a meatless porridge. You can’t miss them as they are situated near the village entrance
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Traditional Myanmar textiles, local handicrafts and restaurants. Do buy something or eat here to support the mon community.
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Scenic view from the bridge
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Uttamanuson Bridge
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Village boy posing for you, do tip them if you can, it’ll help them in a way or another.
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There’s not much happening here, but you’ll likely receive smiles as you wander through the village.

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Mahabodhi-styled stupa
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Dharma Cakra

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Even the main Buddha is a replica of the Buddha in the Bodh Gaya Chapel

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Chedi Buddhakhaya
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Wat Wang Wiwekaram

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Three Pagoda Pass
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Over here you can get over to the burmese side if you have a visa.
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Memorial plaque of WWII Death Railway

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Cave visit

I really enjoyed this area and strongly recommend it to others looking for a Thai adventure just outside of Bangkok!

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Batu Caves, my first cave visit

Besides the good food and shopping, Batu Caves is another must visit attraction when visiting Kuala Lumpur (13 kilometres north of the city).

The Batu Caves is the most widely known Hindu Temple in Malaysia (almost like a local icon), dedicated to Lord Murugan and at every Thaipusam (which falls in late January/early February), it will be crowded with Hindu devotees carrying Kavadi and milkpots to express their devotion.

The Batu Cave Temple is also known as 10th Caves or Hill for Lord Murugan as there are six important holy shrines in India and four more in Malaysia. The three others in Malaysia are Kallumalai Temple in Ipoh, Tanneermalai Temple in Penang and Sannasimalai Temple in Malacca.

you will see this upon exiting from the train station
Lord Hanuman: Welcome to Batu Caves!

The Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves ..

  • Temple Cave (Free to enter)
  • Dark Cave (Fee charge for Tour)
  • Art Gallery Cave (Fee charge for Entrance)

One of the most iconic feature of Batu Caves has to be the 42.7-metre high statue of Lord Murugan (tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world).  The statue, which cost approximately 24 million rupees, is made of 1550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint brought in from Thailand.

The Iconic Lord Murugan Statue

This area is a limestone hill comprising three major caves and a number of smaller ones. The limestone formations found in the caves are said to be around 400 million years old, the temple is considered an important religious landmark by Hindus.

Feed the birds for a wonderful photo taking opportunity

There are many stalls there selling religious artifacts, food for feeding birds, drinks, indian vegetarian restaurants. So don’t worry if you’ll get thirsty or hungry there.

Majestic view of the entrance and the hill behind
272 steps to heaven

Be prepare to burn your leggy fats, pay extra caution as the steps are rather steep.

They can be rather friendly…
Devotees attending a worship session at the cave temple

You are welcome to observe the worship session, just kindly remove your footwear before entering the temple sanctuary. Note: do not disturb the sanctity by taking photos with  your flashlight on.

All i can say is.. you need to put effort if you want to achieve something. The view here is worth every step i took.

Lots of monkeys and pigeons around..

Check out the wonderful view before leaving…

As you climb up the 272 steps towards the Temple Cave, you will find a path branches off to the Dark Cave.  Follow the path and in no time you will feel the cool breeze coming out of the cave entrance.

There are registration tables where visitors can sign up for the tour.  You will also find a mini-exhibition of the bats you can find the Dark Cave.  You will most likely be able to only hear the bats flying around in the cave due to the darkness so this is the best time to see what those bats would look like upclose.

The Dark Cave is where visitors can explore the enthralling cave ecosystem with a guided educational tour.  The Dark cave is at least 100 million years old and the limestone that surrounds it was originally formed from shells and coral, from when this entire area was underwater.

The cave is also home to millions of both fruit- and insect-eating bats where their droppings (also known as guano) supports an ecosystem within the cave, with cockroaches, spiders, crickets, snakes and other creepy crawlies living off either the guano, the bats themselves or each other.

There will be a guide explaining the formations

For RM 35 (Adult), you can sign up for the Dark Cave Educational Tour – Just come in your comfortable shoes and clothing and keep yourself hydrated as the tour is about 45 minutes long and the cave can get quite hot at times (with temperature of 27º -29º Celsius and 85-90% humidity year round). Torchlight and helmet will be provided.   Do note that the Dark Cave tour is not available on Mondays; the tour is available from Tuesday to Friday 10am to 5pm and on Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays 10.30am to 5.30pm.

Coming By Train. KTM Komuter train takes you to the caves on the Batu Caves – Port Klang line. An adult single fare is RM2.00 from KL Sentral to Batu Caves. The journey from KL Sentral to Batu Caves takes about 30 minutes and trains run on a frequency of 15 to 30 minutes.

Travel Resolutions of 2017

1. Bangkok, Thailand

I can feel the excitement overflowing as i’m typing this. You can never get tired of Bangkok, there is so much to do in Bangkok for every budget. Get a good pair of shoes for traveling, prepare to walk more than you do in Singapore.

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2. Taiwan

Speaking of Taiwan, somewhere that i have heard so much that it’s becoming a annoyance. I think majority of my friends have been to Taiwan, and being a Tzuchi Volunteer i am constantly surrounded by Taiwanese culture and connected in a way or another with this country. Our spiritual home is Hualien, where the organisation has being found.

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Dawn of Happiness

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UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Sukhothai Historical Park covers the ruins of the ancient Sukhothai city, literally known as”Dawn of Happiness”, capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries in what is now Northern Thailand.

The ruins are basically a complex of temples and the royal palace. The city walls form a rectangle about 2 km east-west by 1.6 km north-south. There are 193 ruins on 70 square kilometers of land.

The park is also a world heritage site and is maintain by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand with help from UNESCO.

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Wat Mahatat

Some simple guidelines that visitors should follow when visiting..

  • Do respect all Buddha images. Do not attempt to climb the chedis or sit on the Buddha’s lap
  • Dress appropriately, wear something comfortable and loose.
  • No fires or smoking are allowed.
  • Bring along a handheld fan, a cap and apply sunblock!
  • Hydrate when you need, carry a water bottle with you.
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Close up shot of the Main Buddha at Wat Mahatat

There will be numerous opportunity to take nice and creative shots. All you need is some patience and a handheld fan. The weather can be a real killer.

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Offerings left behind by devotees
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Bodhi Sapling
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A mailbox pinned on a tree?

You are strongly encourage to rent a bike to explore the park. Bicycle rental are available near the park entrance, at about 30-50baht until daybreak at around 1900hrs. Exploring by foot is still possible though.

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Wat Sa Si
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The vajra seat

FYI Facts: Buddha statues originally did not exist because Buddha discourage idol worship. In spite of that, after Buddha’s passing, his disciples instead erected thrones made of valuable stones to remember the Enlightened one and his teachings. Buddha images then started appearing in 1st century CE in North India.

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I can almost feel the serene atmosphere
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Wat Si Chum

There are plenty of amenities in the park; you can find toilets, restaurants and even a massage parlor in the park. Outside the park is a cluster of eateries, and many shops selling souvenirs. You would have pass by before entering the park.

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Impressive view of the Buddha at Wat Si Chum
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Wat Chana Songkhram
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Wat Chang Lom

Best time to visit would be in November during Loy Krathong. When people decorate the park with lights and released candles and lotus into water bodies.

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Wat Saphan Hin

How to get there

  • Sukhothai Historical Park is located about 12km from the new city.
  • From Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok Airways operates two direct flights to Sukhothai daily.
  • Opening Hours: 06:00 – 18:00 daily

Luxurious camping in Bintan

Beautiful blue lagoon

Nope this photo is not heavily filtered. The canopi features the largest man-made saltwater crystal lagoon in south east Asia. I had only drop by to use their water sports facilities, cant wait to come again for a short stay.

Wat Yannawa, Bangkok

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Chinese wording translated as dragonboat temple

On the banks of the Chao Phraya river in Sathorn district is the Wat Yannawa. The Wat Yannawa aka known as “the boat temple” features the viharn built in the shape of a Chinese junk vessel, a 19th century sailing ship.

The Wat Yannawa is one of the older temples in Bangkok; it was built during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, before the founding of the Rattanakosin Kingdom and the city of Bangkok. At that time the temple was called Wat Kok Khwai.

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Funny signboards at the temple ground.

The structure has a multi tiered roof with chofas in the shape of stylized naga decorating its roof edges. Other buildings on the temple grounds include a large meeting hall, several offices and libraries and the monks living quarters.

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Behind the boat shape viharn is the ubosot, the building where monks get ordained.

The King Nangklao had the boat like structure built to serve as a memorial to the Chinese junk vessels that were used intensively for trade with China and that had brought prosperity to the Kingdom.

The replica of a Chinese junk vessel is over 40 meters long and made from concrete. At the place where the masts should be are two white chedis or pagodas. In the back where the wheel house should be is a room containing a number of Buddha images where visitors can pay respect to the Buddha. The viharn is open to visitors; At the top of the stairs leading to the boat is a statue of King Nangklao.

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There is a relic exhibition of sages and monks here
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Lay congregation chanting in another hall
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Chinese wording translated as dragonboat temple
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a lay devotee meditating outside the ubosot
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Monks gathered for evening service
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Monks chanting in the ubosot

The boat temple is located in the Sathorn district of Bangkok on Charoen Krung road. It is found just around the corner (South) from BTS Sky Train station Saphan Taksin.

Address: 40 Charoen Krung Rd, Yan Nawa, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Thailand