Remote Sangkhlaburi (สังขละบุรี) is eye-opening in more ways than one. Girded by forest and with the Khao Laem Reservoir wrapped almost entirely around the town, Sangkhlaburi has natural and manufactured beauty. Thailand's longest wooden bridge, a marvel of engineering, reaches across from the shambling town centre to a Mon village. Short-term visitors spend their days canoeing, trekking or shopping for handicrafts. Sangkhlaburi also has an international spark, with a small but prominent community of NGO volunteers.
Few places in Thailand are as multicultural as this low-slung town, where Thai, Karen and Mon locals mingle with Lao and Burmese. Most were born here, but others crossed the Myanmar border looking for a safer, more stable life. For travellers, Sangkhlaburi is often the end of the line; but for so many residents it represents the start of a new journey.