Su Tong Pae “The Bridge of Faith”
A classical beauty of the distinctive appearance of a bridge that crosses over the endless rice field. Surrounded by the valley, mist and sunrise as a background for numerous people are waiting to do alms. This a charming scene in the morning which many people would like to have the experience to visit this bride of faith for once. In particular, during September to the end of October the rice field is green or in November is the changing period from rainy season to winter. You will see the rice plants in the areas are turned to be yellow gold.
The Bridge of Faith
Su Tong Pae Bridge is located at Ban Kung Mai Sak, Pan Moo, about 8 km from the city town of Mae Hong Son. Su Tong Pae is a wooden structure bridge with strips of split bamboo foundation. Its size is 2 meters in width and 500 meters in length so that it is the longest bamboo bridge in Thailand.
The bridge is made from the dig deep of the Buddhist priest, villagers, and believers who corporate to construct the bridge to cross over the rice field. And the bridge is also connecting between ‘Phu Sama Dharma Garden’, an isolated dharma school and ‘Kun Mai Sak Village’. It facilitates in travelling to the monks for coming to get the alms in daily routine as well as for the villagers.
Su Tong Pae is an ethnic Tai Yai which means ‘the achieve of the wish’. This is another place created by the faith of Buddhist initiated by a landlord who donates a piece of land and followed by other believers who give the pillars, bamboo, and more to make the bridge. As a result, the bride is completed with a low budget which is about THB 800,000 approximately. The duration time to build is about 3 months starting from April 20, 2011, then finish and open officially on August 5 in the same year.
After the bridge is completed, the unique charm of the bridge, the lovely landscape including the respectable priest from the religious school besides from its primary purpose for traffic. Consequently, the bridge becomes a tourist attraction in short time, mainly that the picture of the place has been published via online media widely. And then, the site is more appealing and top of mind as the destinations among the tourists.
Faith & Respectable of Su Tong Pae
From its famous resulting there are many wanderers come to visit the bridge much more and more. Every day around 6 o’clock at the time of dawn and the cockcrow as a backing track is like a signal that the monks are taking the path along the bridge to get the alms. Not too long, the monks are walking with bare feet and numbers of people are waiting to make merit. It is a pleasant scene that warm at heart for anyone who witnesses this as a good start of the day. And once the religious activity is done, then it is a chilling time for everyone to enjoy photo shooting or stroll along the bridge surrounded by beautiful view and atmosphere.
Anyone who would like to taste this rustic experience including to make merit should arrive at the bridge around 6 am daily. The monks are walking from the Phu Sama Dharma Garden continuously to the end of the bridge at the village. And they will get a journey back to the Dharma Garden around 7 – 8 am. Thus, for one who is not able to come at 6 am can take this period instead.
Phu Sama Dharma Garden
The Phu Sama Dharma Garden is a Buddhist religious place where is isolated, peaceful and pleasant. The location is nestled within the exotic pieces of works of Burmese and Tai Yai including some in contemporary art. Each building has its character with the carving galvanised iron roof in Burmese style.
A highlight of the place is a ‘Crown Buddha’, the main image of this religious place. The model is presented in Burmese style in gold, locating inside the no-wall vihara. Next to the main hall is a building where housing the Buddha images for the people to do respect and a structure. The visitors could make the donation of merit by writing down their name on the tag and hang on the rail that reminding to one in Japanese or Korean temples.
Apart from that, there are moral teachings and Dharma puzzle statues in Buddhism to give a lesson for the visitor. And a viewpoint offers the fantastic view of the Su Tong Pae Bridge lining across the beautiful rice filed. It is very popular for the photo opportunity in particular when the monks are walking back from getting the alms in the morning.
The Su Tong Pae Bridge features a variety of photo opportunities whether the curve of the bridge, below the bride, strips of split bamboo, or see-through from the rice field are all artistic and worthwhile for your shutter. The rice field becomes green in the rainy season, or golden yellow in the harvest season, both providing a stunning scene for photo lovers.
Things should not do when visiting the bridge
It is not an appropriate behavior of the tourist to jump or run on the deck since it can cause any damage to the bridge sooner. Moreover, the bridge is a path to the religious place. Thus, all visitors should be respectful of the area and stay calm in all body, verbal and mind; otherwise, it can disturb the pilgrims.
How to Get to Su Tong Pae Bridge
From the city town of Mae Hong Son, uses the route Mae Hong Son – Pan Ma Pha (highway number 1095). It is the same way to go to Phu Kloan. There are 2 accesses which are the first one is the entrance to Phu Sama Dharma Garden, from the entrance then drives along the non-asphalt road about 400 m, then walks up to the Phu Sama Dharma Garden and will find the bridge lining down to the Kung Mai Sak village.
The second one, drives further to Phu Kloan, then will spot the junction to Kun Mai Sak village, then drives along the road about 1.5 km and will arrive at the parking, then walk to the bridge along the narrow walkway. This one is more popular with the visitors.