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Sangklaburi - Sanepong - Laiwo - Jakae - Lay Tong Ku - Pueng Klueng jungle walk & Karen village homestay: 11 - 17 April 2007

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This trip is a cross country, one of a hardy out of the beaten track travel that includes five days walk in the jungle and through tribal villages. The trek itself is not a hard walk; however it demands quite a high level of mental and physical fitness. Unexpected things happened and ones need to be tolerant of and adjustable to certain level of inconvenience and rustic lifestyle.

Mon bridge in the morning - Sangklaburi
7 a.m. view from a resort in Sangklaburi - western district of Kanchanaburi province. The famous Mon bridge spanning over the river that flows into Khao Laem dam lake looked just beautiful against faint mountains behind. A lone fisherman was steering his boat infront of the wooden bridge.

Not many tourists were seen in town when we arrived here last night, a day before the Songkran newyear holidays. "Lot of people will be coming here today," said the resort manager. "To play water festival which starts tomorrow and go for tours," he continued. We, however, were not going to throw water on people. Instead we would go for a long walk and come out in the north so we could go back to Bangkok from Mae sot.

Songkalia river at Sanepong Karen village
From the road 323 it is roughly 9 km on a dirt road to the bridge over the Songkalia river before arriving at the Royal Forest Department station. Water in the river was quite low and inflatable rubber boat rafting might not be possible in the hot season. Sanepong village is after the forest station. Sanepong Karen village is somewhat developed thanks to the proximity to the main road. Villagers grow paddy and keep orchards. Small amount of trading, and seasonal tourism activities exist. Some villagers work for the businesses and larger agricultural farms owned by Thais.

View of Sanepong village from a hill
After a chat in a house we left the village by going up the hill in the north. From the top of the hill Sanepong was seen quite dry in the middle of April.

Water in the rock hole
We walked in the mixed dry and semi evergreen forest and bamboo groves. The weather was a bit hot, but it was still bearable because of shades. We also walked pass open spots without large trees. Natural water was not to be found easily. About 40 minutes after leaving the village, we had sight of water in a rock hole - 2 meters from the ground.

Bamboo to pick underground water
Here was the tool to pick that water. One does not need pulleys, rope and bucket. One does only need to know how to use bamboo and a knife.

A place to rest in the forest
A rustic bamboo chair under the shade, beside a stream for rest. The stream was dry. Bamboo are used to build chairs and tables, bridges, huts and houses. They can be cut into cups and spoons, baskets, mats, and there is almost endless line of products bamboo can produce.

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