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Elephant crossing the stream

Kids at Sangkhlaburi bridgeThis is my second visit to Sangkhlaburi - quiet border town near Burma.  Its around 5 hours drive from Bangkok.
Sangkhlaburi is western edge of Kanchanaburi Province.

The first trip was to see the wooden bridge, but I could not make any decent photo there.

This time, I did my homework hard and found there are very nice tour package - including Longtail boat on Kao Laem Lake, 2 hours Elephant riding through jungle, 30 minute trekking, 40 minute Bamboo rafting.  800 Baht covers whole of this package and one night accommodation at P. Guest House (very clean, even you have to share shower room with other guests), lunch box and bottle of water.

The BridgeThis trip is with my friends from Korea.  All of them are serious photographers - what I am not unfortunately.
5:00 p.m. on Friday (12 November 1999) I arrived the famous wooden bridge connecting Mon village to Sangkhlaburi town.

They say this 400m long bridge is the longest one in Thailand.
Last time when I visit here, it was dry season so I could see the height - looked 3-40m high easily.
I think the bridge is more like Monument.
But it play the other functions - play ground, reading place, meeting point, park....

Mon Kids fishing on the bridgeEvery year, during the dry season, Mon tribes are doing maintenance to the bridge, so its changing its shape every year.
Its really unique.  They says, it was built by the people - not from any government budget.
Its strange experience just walking on the bridge - you can see the Pride, Mon tribe people feel about their great work.

Next morning, we took Long tail boat crossing the Kao Laem Lake (its full now) around 30 minutes.  Beautiful morning light on the deep blue water. (not brown water you can see in the other rivers in Thailand)

Kao Laem LakeThe boat barged to a small village (resided by Mon tribe).
Our elephants were ready.
I guessed, the trekking goes through jungle and stream.
Just after we start, we (sorry, we didn't do anything) have to climb up a steep slope and then climb down.
Elephants virtually kneel and slide with us on her back.
The gorge is a few meters deep, thus elephant sits on a side and stretch the foot and slide down the mud!

P. Guest houseIn an hour, I found there grows deep respect to this tender animal in my heart.  They are so generous and graceful.  Baby elephants are trotting with their Mom.  They are very playful and active.

Two hours gone fast.
Next one is trekking on our own foot.
Its mostly crossing the stream.  The stream was not easy to cross, for water flows very fast.  So clear the water that you can see the rocks underneath.  Its surprisingly deeper than it looks.

You can see how deep it wasThe trekking was not that far.  On the bank of stream, we had lunch.  With fresh cut pineapple.
Now, its rafting.  The bamboo raft is 6-8 meter long.  It never turns over - I can bet.
It looked easy but not that easy to control.
Twice, I fell into the water at sharp bends.

Some place are very deep (more than 2 meter).  But mostly shallow.
40 minute rafting is not a simple exercise.
We returned near the village and took Long tail boat to see around Kao Laem Lake.
We returned resort after 7 hours of excitement.
The cold beer after the trekking was fresh like a summer breeze, and I felt I deserve that.

November 1999  

Dec 2000  Kaolaem lake

Note : Mr. Lee, Yong-Hyuk generously allowed to use the two pictures on the left - Thanks

The smoke in the village look so peaceful

Elephant - click to see larger image

Elephant village

Crossing the stream
Tree in the afternoon sun
Sunset at Sangkhlaburi
Click to see Bigger
Photo by Lee, Yong-Hyuk
Click to see big!
Elephant Kneel & Slides down sheer trail.
Photo by Lee, Yong-Hyuk

Kids on the bridge

Photos at Sangkhlaburi - #1

Photo at Sangkhlaburi - #2

Photo at Sangkhlaburi - #3 (Christmas 1999)

P. Guest House

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