Three Pagodas Pass

Gateway to Burma, but not for most people

Photo of , , Sangkhlaburi

What we say: 2.5 stars

Head north for 23 kilometres from Sangkhlaburi along Route 323 and you'll pass through lovely country mountain scenery and farmland until you run out of Thai land to travel on.

At the end of the road you'll find three small, not so spectacular stupas on a lawn that's flanked by a souvenir market with Burmese goods on one side and the Thai and Burmese immigration checkpoints on the other.

The "three pagodas" themselves are not even the originals (these were submerged in the lake further south), and overall one can hardly call this an "attraction". But there is something to be said for finding yourself in a far distant corner of Thailand where you can literally see the Burmese flag and the Burma landscape on the other side.

If you arrive in the early morning or late afternoon, you'll see throngs of Burmese citizens in colourful dress and faces powdered with talc as they walk to and from their jobs in factories just over the border. Keep in mind that, unlike in Mae Sot or Ranong, most nationalities cannot cross the border here, not even momentarily to get another 15 days in Thailand.

A couple of resorts are nearby in case you can't get enough of those three little stupas. Note that the border south of here is typically not marked by walls or checkpoints, so be careful if you go exploring off the main roads as you could easily end up in Burma without knowing it.

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23km from Sangkhlaburi
Last updated: 26th June, 2013
Last reviewed by:
Usually found exploring Bangkok's side streets or south Thailand's islands, David Luekens is an American freelance writer & photographer who finds everyday life in Asia to be extraordinary. You can follow his travails here.

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