Saphan Mon

Top choice in Kanchanaburi Province

Sangkhlaburi's iconic, 447m-long wooden bridge, the largest in Thailand, connects the main town, home mostly to Thai and Karen, with the Mon settlement. This village (officially it's Ban Wang Ka, but even residents just call it Ban Mon: 'Mon Village') is a striking place to explore, peopled by cheroot-smoking women, sarong-wearing men and faces covered in thanaka (a yellow paste made from tree bark, used both as sunblock and decoration).

At the Mon end of the bridge is a souvenir market selling Karen shirts and dresses among other things. Follow the street uphill from the bridge and turn left on the main road to visit the Mon market, which is refreshingly free of souvenirs.

Giving morning alms to monks (at 6.30am) is a big event on the Mon side of the bridge. Tourists (mostly from Bangkok) donate from fancy trays alongside locals who stick to the Mon tradition of giving just a scoop of rice. During Buddhist festivals alms are offered on the bridge.