The longest wooden bridge in Asia at 400 meters. Sangklaburi, a tiny, tranquil border hamlet untouched by visitors, is around 220 kilometers northwest of Kanchanaburi and 330 kilometers from Bangkok.
For Europeans, the massive Mon Bridge, which spans the 70-kilometer-long Khao Laem reservoir, is a genuinely daring structure with questionable endurance. And not without cause, especially in the case of heavy rain and flooding.
So, in 2013, the spectacular landmark, known as the Uttamanusorn Bridge, partly collapsed due to excessive rain. The 400-meter-long bridge, Asia’s largest wooden bridge, has now been restored. The bridge provides magnificent vistas and, particularly at sunset, a magical photo backdrop. Yet, when you cross it, you wonder whether it will go smoothly step by step.
It was named after Monk Luangpho Uttama, the abbot of Wat Wang Wiwekaram. He began building this bridge in 1986 with native Mon laborers. The bridge was finished the next year.
Apart from the bridge, a boat trip on the reservoir may be taken to observe half-submerged temples and the old location that was flooded by the Vajiralongkorn Reservoir (formerly Khao Laem Dam). Additional highlights include the Three Pagodas Pass, Mon Village, and three stunning waterfalls in the adjacent Khao Laem National Park. So there’s much to see for a multi-day trip, including an overnight stay.
The Thai, Mon, and Karen population of Sangkhlaburi respect Wat Wang Wiwekaram. When the valley was flooded to make space for a dam and reservoir, they had to relocate it from its original site to this higher location. A pagoda nearby is where significant religious celebrations such as Songkran are held.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Mon Bridge?
The Mon Bridge is a wooden footbridge that spans over the Songaria River in Sangkhlaburi, a small town in western Thailand near the border with Myanmar. It is considered the longest wooden bridge in Thailand and is also known as the “Saphan Mon,” “Wooden Mon Bridge,” or “Uttamanusorn Bridge.”
How long is the Mon Bridge?
The Mon Bridge is approximately 400 meters long and 3 meters wide. It consists of several sections that are supported by numerous wooden pillars and pylons.
Who built the Mon Bridge?
The Mon Bridge was built by the Mon ethnic group, who are one of the minority groups in Thailand. The bridge was constructed in the late 19th century and has been rebuilt and repaired several times since then.
What is the significance of the Mon Bridge?
The Mon Bridge is an important cultural and historical landmark in Sangkhlaburi and a popular tourist attraction. It also serves as a vital transportation link between the two sides of the Songaria River for local residents and visitors.
What activities can you do on the Mon Bridge?
Visitors to the Mon Bridge can enjoy scenic views of the river and surrounding mountains, as well as observe the daily life of local people who use the bridge for fishing, selling goods, and socializing. There are also several small shops and food stalls on the bridge that sell souvenirs and local snacks.
Is the Mon Bridge safe to walk on?
Although the Mon Bridge is mostly made of wood, it is considered safe to walk on as long as visitors follow the rules and guidelines posted on the bridge. However, it can be crowded and slippery during the rainy season, so visitors should exercise caution.
Is there an entrance fee to visit the Mon Bridge?
No, there is no entrance fee to visit the Mon Bridge. However, visitors can make a donation to the local community fund that helps maintain and repair the bridge.
What is the best time to visit the Mon Bridge?
The best time to visit the Mon Bridge is during the dry season from November to February, when the weather is cooler, and the river is clear. However, it can be crowded during peak tourist season, so visitors may want to consider visiting during the off-season.
Can you take photos on the Mon Bridge?
Yes, visitors are allowed to take photos on the Mon Bridge. However, they should be respectful of local people and not intrude on their privacy or personal space.
Are there any other attractions near the Mon Bridge?
Yes, there are several other attractions near the Mon Bridge, including the Wat Wang Wiwekaram temple, the Three Pagodas Pass, and the Khao Laem National Park. Visitors can also explore the local markets and try traditional Mon cuisine.
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