The Mon Wooden Bridge was initially built thirty years ago by the late prominent Mon monk Rev. Uttama, and was an important landmark of the Mon people and the people of Sangkhlaburi. The bridge collapsed last year, on July 28th, when it was hit by a strong current during heavy rain, and the middle section of the bridge buckled. The Thai government provided more than 16 million baht to repair the bridge.
“[On] the morning [of the opening ceremony], [people] offered donations and other offerings to monks on the bridge. In the afternoon, dance and musical entertainment were provided, while the authorities and locals were crossing over the bridge, [with] the opening ceremony [taking] place at night,” said Mi Ah-ran yar, an organizer of the bridge re-opening ceremony.
More than one thousand people attended the event, including Thai authorities and locals from Sangkhlaburi’s Mon, Karen, and Thai communities. The opening celebrations highlighted the Thai army, Mon, Karen, and Thai cultural dances, as well as a dramatic rendition, put on by university students, depicting how the bridge was built.
The opening ceremony commenced at 8:00 pm with words by Mon Abbot Mahasuchat Siripanyo, Major general Nat Indhrachareon from Thailand’s Ninth Infantry Division based in Kanchanaburi, and Mr. Wanchai O Sukontip, Governor of Kanchanaburi Province. The opening ceremony kicked off with firework display lighting up the sky above the bridge.
“This is the first time such a ceremony has been held here. It [was] very crowded and beautiful, and this place will be more crowded if this kind of ceremony is held [again] in other years. Then, the number of visitors will also increase,” said Mi Rot Chai, a Wangka villager.
The Mon wooden bridge is constructed out of about 200 tons of ironwood trees, standing 850 meters long, 4.5 meters wide and reaching 35 meters at its tallest point.
Wangka village is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors to the Mon wooden bridge, old Wangka Village, Reverend Uttama’s Temple, and the Bodh Gaya Pagoda. The village can be found teaming with tourists and travelers on the weekends and holidays.
Wangka Village has more than 2000 households, and its majority population is Mon. The village itself is also known as the village of Mon culture.