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My Travel Story: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge. - Page 4
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  1. #31
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

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    After leaving the sunken temple, we visited this half submerged building, you can see the Golden Pagoda in the background of the 2nd photo, the skipper told me that this is where the old town of Sangkhlaburi was located, before the building of the dam, all very interesting.

    Back at the boat hire coffee shop you can see photos of the sunken temple in different heights of water level, they look amazing.

    The boat tour took over 3 hours and for 300 baht ($10) I thought it was a bargain.

    If you have ever thought about visiting Sangkhlaburi then you should, a very beautiful part of Thailand.
    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
    - Chinese Proverb

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  3. #32
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

    Re yuor pic of the temple wall-is it possible that the features are niches for Buddha images -they are very reminiscent of the designs seen around some buddha carvings-great pics though-I came here in 2000 and was totally unaware of the sunken temple-thanks for posting -must go back and revisit, thanks

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  5. #33
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

    Thanks for that sisaket.

    Your last visit was 12 years agowow.it would be great for you to return and see the changes, I love this place and I'm sure it is still as laid back as you remembered.

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    As you can see there is quite a few still attached to the wall.

    I first thought that souvenir hunters may have been removing them but in the next photo..........

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    I zoomed in to take a better look at them and you can see one little fellow (to the left) just sitting there at an angle, propped up by the two below and ready to fall, so maybe just the natural deterioration of the glue used.

    You can also see that there was something stuck in the middle of them and that may have been the Buddha image you mentioned.

    I would really love to visit the temple by kayak when the water is higher. I have seen pictures of people exploring inside the temple by kayaks. As long as it is not disrespectful to do so.

    The temple is not too far from the P guest house and they hire canoes and kayaks and given the right time of the year it would be a very pleasant trip.

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    The P guest houses lovely handmade strip planked kayaks and canoes.
    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
    - Chinese Proverb

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  7. #34
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

    I returned to Sangkhlaburi late last month to have another look at the sunken temple and to see how far under the water it went during the wet season. I went back to the same coffee shop, right at the entrance of the Mon Bridge to hire the same boat (300baht) and did the tour again. It was 9am and a very pleasant time to be on the water.

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    The photos on the left are from July 2012 and the ones on the right, October 2012.

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    An amazing amount of water flows into the area.
    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
    - Chinese Proverb

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  9. #35
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

    Just a few more.....

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    A lovely calm morning.

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    Looking inside through one of the many holes in the wall....

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    Up close and personal in our sturdy water craft.

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    All in all its just another crack in the wall

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    More tourists arriving.
    It will be interesting to see how long it will take that plant on the right, growing in the wall structue, to destroy it.

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    Because of the increase in water level, we were able to take another way back to the bridge, cutting through here.

    For 300baht for the boat, it is truly a value for money tour....
    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
    - Chinese Proverb

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  11. #36
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

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    Just to the left of the entrance to the wooden bridge (Sangkhlaburi side) is the coffee shop where you can organize the boat tour, very nice people.

    For fellow book worms, there is a great 2nd hand bookshop in town called Birdland Books, located opposite the Temple on Si Suwan road, on the left hand side heading south, owned by an American ex-pat known as Big Jimmy, he buys, sells and trades used books from his library, he has hundreds.

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    You will find him in his hammock most days and he is a wealth of information for the area, he has been in Thailand for over 25 years. I dropped in last trip for a chat and a meal and he told me about a place called Songkaliaso we went.

    When the temperature gets a bit uncomfortable in Sangkhlaburi, the locals head to Songkalia to cool off, and what a great find. Roughly 7kms out of town along the road to the 3 pagodas, when you come to the first bridge you are there, and on the right just after the bridge there is a track, head down the track and hopefully there is room enough to grab a little hut to sit in and then dangle your legs in the Songkalia River.

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    If you are taking your own car, you can back it up right to the little huts, if its a 2 wheel drive you should be OK but the surface is a bit dodgy and you have to be careful where you tread.

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    This is the first bridge you come to.

    We both sat on this log you can just see submerged in front of this little hut, the water was very refreshing, there are a few restaurants just behind the huts, these are on the left hand side as you drive in, the food is great and the beer is cold.

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    The water was really flowing, so best not swim too far out from the bank of the river as you could easily get swept away.

    This is such a lovely area to visit on a hot day.
    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
    - Chinese Proverb

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  13. #37
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

    I went back to Songkalia the next day for lunch, there was only one hut occupied so I got the same little hut as the day before. I checked if I could get internet access out there with my laptop, using a wireless modem and a 1 2 call sim card….and hey presto! It worked, great! So I ordered a beer and some deep fried chicken pieces to munch on, what a great place.

    Not long after settling in it started to rain, perfect, I love the rain in Thailand, it was very pleasant watching it lightly rain and then a few claps of thunder and shortly after the heavens opened up and it just bucketed down.

    The roof on the little hut was doing it's job so I didn't need to pack up and run for the car. It rained for quite a while and I just continued to chat with friends on MSN, moving now and again when my laptop was getting wet due to wind change.

    After the monsoonal down pure had stopped, I noticed the stepping stones I used to get into the hut were now well under water. The water level of the river had increased by about 4 inches in that time….wow!

    Big Jimmy told me the day before that downstream from these huts, are a series of rapids that are very fast and dangerous, and if you kept going you could paddle all the way back into Sangkhlaburi, pulling out at the Mon Bridge, sounded like a good idea.

    He got this information from the local kayak and canoe maker, Brent Bateman, who came a cropper on the first set of rapids a few years back, getting stuck between rocks and completely destroying his striped planked handmade canoe….ouch!

    After my lunch, I went to visit Brent Bateman’s workshop to have a chat, I had been there before, it is just around the corner from the P Guesthouse and on the same street as the Pornpailian Riverside Resort, you can’t miss it, a big light blue building on the corner, called Sanghalei Canoe & Kayak Co.Ltd.

    Brent’s health isn't the best these days and as I found out, his company is now up for sale. He told me about the trip and took me for a tour around the premises and even showed me that damaged canoe, still not repaired, the stern is completely destroyed. I think it is a complete right off.

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    He is a very nice man, very friendly and loves a chat and like Big Jimmy, has a very good knowledge of the area. It was very interesting to see all the kayaks and canoes in his workshop in different stages of completion and how they are put together.

    He is also restoring an old 16m rice barge called The Sanghalei Queen, they have fitted a 3 mm steel shell over the outside of the wooden hull for protection against the dead trees in the lake that are visible when the water level is low in the dryer months.

    I went back to Big Jimmy’s to announce that I have decided to tackle these treacherous rapids so he organized a baht bus to pick me and my kayak up at 7am the next morning.
    I was staying at the P Guesthouse which has purchased about half a dozen of Brent’s canoes, which they hire out and asked them if I could hire a life jacket…no problems

    My Taxi rolled up at 7:05am the next morning and we were quickly on our way. It was very enjoyable sitting in the back of the baht bus travelling at that time in the morning, the town center was very busy with people everywhere and out on the road you passed heaps of similar baht buses packed to the rafters (overloaded) with school children going the other way.

    We rolled up at Songkalia about 7:40am, it’s about 7 km from the center of town and the one way trip cost me 300 baht (A$9). There were a few workman there when we arrived, they are repairing and concreting the parking surface which just turns into a mud bath when it rains, good idea.

    A few of the restaurant’s owners children were also there and very keen to watch the silly farang come to grief in this very fast flowing river.

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    It may not look it but that river is really flowing. This little guy was very funny, he kept talking about something and laughing, I think he was laughing at me....
    Last edited by fileeep; 22-11-12 at 10:47 AM.
    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
    - Chinese Proverb

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  15. #38
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

    Once you are in the flow of the water, thats it, it just grabs you in an instant and hurtles you towards the bridge and all the tree branches which were visibly sticking up out of the water, just waiting for an inflatable kayak to pass by

    Most of the workman, restaurant owners and the children were waving me goodbye and shouting, very funny, some of the children ran after me along the bank of the river towards the bridge.

    Once past the bridge the water slows down a bit but you can hear the rapids ahead.

    With the water level so high and being in an inflatable kayak, the rocks were not a problem, the NRS kayak doesn't draw much of a draft compared to a much heavier wooden craft and it just skims across the top of the water, perfect for these types of conditions, I remember only coming into contact with one rock and just skimmed right over it.

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    This is a Google map of the trip, click on the photo to enlarge it.

    The starting point is marked as Point A Songkalia.

    Point B. This is a very narrow stretch of waterway with a lot of overhanging trees and this is where i noticed all the bird life.

    At this point, the water was flowing very slowly so I decided to take a break and have breakfast, a Milo and 2 of those bread rolls that you always see in 7/11 with the little sausage stuck in the middle of them. So I put down the paddle and just let the water flow slowly take me down the river. It was very relaxing.

    Next time I will put the kayak in at 7am instead of 8am.

    I now know how hard it is to take a good picture of bird life in the wild, because I couldn't do it any movement from me startled the birds and they flew off. I was using a happy snapper Panasonic TZ10.

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    These are two of the birds I saw the most of out there. (These are not my pictures, I got the 3 of them from the net).

    The little blue guy on the right is just so bright and really sticks out when he lands in the trees, you cant miss him, he is a Stork-billed Kingfisher. There are 93 species of these worldwide of which 16 are in Thailand. (I could be wrong about him but he is one of the 16 different species in that family, a very beautiful looking bird).

    There were a few of them all flying around checking me out, but never staying in one place long enough to get a good photo, very fast little guys.

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    The bird on the left and above is a Great Egret (Casmerodius albus). I have seen this type of bird at Lumpini Park in Bangkok.Three of these guys just kept in front of me all the way from point B, just as I was catching up to them, off they would fly.
    They looked very majestic in flight but a bit funny when they landed in the trees trying to keep balance with those very long Mr. Bean type legs

    Point C. I will do this run again but in the future this is where I will organize to be met by a boat, I have already spoken to the P Guesthouse and they can organize this. After this point the water stops flowing and its all paddle power back to the Mon Bridge.

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    This is the island you can see at point C.

    Point D. At this point it was over 4 hours into the trip and I had enough of paddling, the sun was high in the sky and it was getting a bit warm. The inflatable kayak is not ideal for open water touring. With its lightness and lack of draft as soon as you stop paddling you start to into a spin and then stop and when the wind got up it was difficult to keep it in a straight line.

    I saw fisherman scooting by and I waved him down, he stopped and I paddled over, using sign language it didn't take long before I was in his boat and he tied the kayak to his bow and we were flying towards a cool beer..

    Point E. Is the Mon Bridge, longest wooden bridge in Thailand.

    Point F. Is the P Guesthouse where the fisherman dropped me off, he lived just across the water in the Mon Village. I jumped out and untied my kayak, before he took off I gave him a tip and took a picture.

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    Here is my rescuer dropping me off at the P Guesthouse's pontoon, you can see some of Brent's handmade canoes.
    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
    - Chinese Proverb

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  17. #39
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

    Great thread! Now I have another place to go and I look forward to having some time to view this entire thread. Being here in Thailand sort of makes it hard to check out the forums, heck it's been hard to even do the few posts I have since I'v gotten here I've been on the move so much!
    "It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little." Sydney Smith

    May all beings be happy, may all beings have peace.

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  19. #40
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    Re: Sangkhlaburi, Mon Bridge.

    Hey Bassai,

    Thanks for your post. I hope you do make it over to Sangkhlaburi, it is a great place, very quiet and laid back, I'm sure you will love it, the Mon Bridge is amazing.

    I am same same you, I am mostly on this site when I'm not in Thailand, too much to do when i am

    I would rate these rapids as a class 2 and think that even if you haven't had too much experience kayaking, these would be OK to tackle at this high water level, any lower and i cant say...not yet anyway

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    These were taken after the rapids, in the slower part of the river.

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    Not many People to be seen between point B and C, but some times you could hear them.

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    Not sure if you can make this out but in one section, there were 1000's of winged insects carpeting the river, they were just falling out of the sky, all over me and the kayak, the fish were having a banquet.
    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
    - Chinese Proverb

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