Shangkhlaburi Construction Project
Volunteer to improve a small village in Thailand
- Enhance the infrastructure and development of a community
- Experience life in rural Thailand
- Strengthen the livelihood through volunteering
- Volunteer abroad safely & affordably
Shangkhlaburi is a small town that borders Myanmar in the northwest province of Kanchanaburi of Thailand. It settles on the banks of the man-made lake Vajralongkorn after the construction of a dam that is also named the same. The current town is relatively new as the old Shangkhlaburi lies under water submerged in the depths of the Vajralongkorn. It is a typical rustic Thai village, where you will find thatched houses made up of bamboos with tropical green forests all around.
The prime objective of the building project of IFRE is to help the local community by constructing modern and adequate infrastructure whereby helping them in the development of the community and their livelihoods. Our projects are in accordance with the need of the community. After the completion of a project we jump on to the next. As a volunteer, you will work on the construction of the building from mixing cements for concrete to doing masonry work. You will also be mentored by a local Thai expert who will teach you the techniques and skills of constructing building through traditional Thai ways. It does not matter if you don’t speak Thai, for our coordinator will be with you to help you with translation and the needed guidance. Before the start of the project you will attend an orientation program where you will be briefed about your roles and responsibilities. Through our building projects, volunteers will help build community buildings such as orphanages, local schools, buildings for local development projects and so on.
You do not need to have a background on masonry or construction to work on our building project in Shangkhlaburi. All you will need is a heart to help the local people and get your hands dirty for the welfare of others. Though, we wouldn’t mind if you possessed skills and background on construction. Please inform us beforehand if you do have such background so that we could assign you specific duties accordingly. Good physical condition will also be helpful for you.
In IFRE building projects, you will work like a regular construction worker helping out in the building project for five days a week. This will give you the whole weekend to yourself where you can explore the countryside and experience the diverse culture of the region. You won’t be short of things to do as there are plenty of activities for people visiting from outside.
The volunteers will have nice small simple rooms to live in where they will be provided with the basic necessities needed. The rooms will have comfortable beds, bathrooms with hot showers, simple kitchen and electricity to charge their mobiles or laptops. The houses are specifically rented for volunteers participating in the construction project here. All the volunteer houses are close to each other and the IFRE office and the staff quarters. It is also just a walking distance away from the hospital and the main market where you have access to ATMs, internet cafes, bars and restaurants.
More about Sangklaburi
The town of Sangkhlaburi is situated right next to the Burmese border which gives this community its diverse ethnic population and its rich culture. It is a small town with a population of just 16,000 people mostly consisting of ethnic Thai people, Mon people, Karens and Burmese immigrants. This diversity gives Sanghklaburi its uniqueness as well as its problems and disadvantages. Due to the remoteness of the area and immigration situation, the people of the area are not provided with citizenship and deprived of government aid and facilities. This is why NGOs and volunteer organization have to work double-time to uplift the community of this beautiful place.
This sleepy town lies in the hilly northwest region of Thailand where you will see lush green hills as far as the eyes can see. The Vajralongkorn Lake makes this place more scenic and serene where you can also indulge in lot of water sport activities. The district of Sangkhlaburi is situated in the province of Kanchanaburi, the region through where the Burma-Siam railroad was built in the Second World War and the base of the movie ‘The Bridge On The River Kwai’.
The main attractions of Sangkhlaburi are the 400m long wooden bridge, Wat Saam Prasog (the sunken temple) and Wat Wang Wiwekaran, an ancient temple on the outskirts of the town. The long wooden bridge, built over the Vajaralongkorn Dam, connects the Mon village and the Thai village across the Vajralongkorn. The rickety old bridge is entirely handmade which makes it even more special. It is truly amazing to see the bridge still standing tall over the lake after so many years and connecting people of both sides.
The sunken temple is an ancient Mon temple that stood in the old Sangkhlaburi village. It is called the Sunken Temple because when the water level decreases, you can see the top half of the temple which truly is a spectacle. The Wat Wang Wiwekaran is an ancient Buddhist temple where you can reach after a couple of hours of hike. It was built by Phara Uttama, a monk who is still considered very important to the Mon people. The temple is a serene place with masterful architecture where you can see murals of the life cycle of Buddha.
Apart from this you can also hike to the Three Pagodas separating the Thailand/Myanmar border and if you are lucky you will get to visit the local market on the other side. There are several hiking routes where you can go for a day’s hike and explore the jungles of the rugged Thai landscape. On the trail to the Three Pagodas, if you take a small detour, you will reach a beautiful waterfall where you can take a dip and refresh yourself. Sangkhlaburi is a beautiful small town village where you can experience the culture of the ethnic people of Southeast Asia that is very unique and worlds apart from western culture. The thatched houses, beautiful lush jungles and the friendly people there makes this a place worth visiting.