THE SARASIN BRIDGE ON PHUKET - AN EXTRAORDINARY BRIDGE WITH A SAD LOVE STORY
Thanks to the completion of the 660 metre long Sarasin Bridge, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, was connected to the mainland for the first time. Since 1967, this made it a lot easier to travel from Khao Lak, Phang Nga and even Krabi to Phuket. Not only for the growing tourist flow from abroad, but also for the Thai themselves. Below, we will take a closer look at this bridge and its (sad) history. Besides some facts, we will also give you some tips for good restaurants in the area. Welcome to Phuket!
Table of contents
Click on the bar with the table of contents. This allows you to easily navigate to a topic.
- The history
- The new Sarasin Bridge
- Tourist attraction?
- A sad love story
- Activities in the area
- What else is there to do in the north of Phuket?
- The best accommodations in the north of Phuket
- The best restaurants in the area
- Our map of north Phuket
The history of the Sarasin Bridge
It’s 1951 and the starting shot is given for the construction of a bridge that will connect Phuket with the Thai mainland through the province of Phang Nga. The bridge is to be built across the Strait of Prak Pah, a narrow waterway located in the Andaman Sea. On Wednesday 7 July 1967, after sixteen years, the bridge was officially opened. Phuket’s Sarasin bridge was a fact. The name Sarasin comes from a well-known former prime minister of Thailand, Khun Pote Sarasin. The Sarasin family was originally a wealthy Chinese family from Bangkok, with considerable influence in Thailand.
Image: Denis Costille
The new Sarasin Bridge (Thao Thep Krasattri Bridge)
Over the years the Sarasin bridge became too low for boats to pass under. Also, more and more domestic and foreign tourists visited Phuket. So the Government decided to build two higher bridges. The bridges were made much wider, creating a four-lane road. This allowed more traffic to travel to and from Phuket.
In 2011, the new bridge was finished. Many Thai people simply call this new bridge “the new Sarasin Bridge” or “Sarasin Bridge Number 2”. The official name of the new bridge is actually the Thao Thep Krasattri – Thao Sri Sunthorn Bridge. Literally translated the Mrs Thep Krasattri – Mrs Sri Sunthorn bridge.
Image: Narong Niemhom
The new bridge is named after Khun Thep Krasattri and Khun Sri Sunthorn. Two sisters who rendered Thailand an important service in 1785. That year, the Burmese invaded Thailand, but these two sisters held out. Together with male soldiers, they fought against the Burmese invasion for five weeks. In the end, they won and drove the enemy away.
There is a story that the two sisters dressed up as soldiers. This gave the “Thai soldiers” the impression that reinforcements from the Thai army had arrived from Bangkok. The Burmese did not take any risks and decided to retreat immediately. Since 1967, a statue of these two sisters has stood in the middle of a busy intersection on the island of Phuket.
The Sarasin Bridge as a (tourist) attraction?
Many Thai people thought that with the arrival of a new bridge, the old Sarasin bridge would be demolished. Instead, the original bridge was renovated and restored to its former glory. The middle section of the old bridge was raised and two watchtowers and a pavilion were built on the elevation. New streetlights were also installed. After everything was neatly renovated, only pedestrians could use the old bridge.
Since then, the original Sarasin Bridge is frequently visited by visitors from all over the country. People like to walk across and fishing is frequently done from the bridge. Besides, the bridge is an ideal place to enjoy a beautiful sunset. There are even some tough kids who jump off this bridge for fun. Unfortunately, the Sarasin Bridge is also used regularly to commit suicide, partly because the Sarasin Bridge embodies a sad love story…
Image: Narong Niemhom
This tragic love story ends on 22 February 1973 with two lovers jumping into the sea together… Starring Khun Dam Saetan and his girlfriend Khun Kanchana Sae-Ngo also known as Gew. Dam came from a poor family and had to work very hard to make ends meet. He was the driver of a Songthaew (kind of van) and also worked on the rubber plantation to make ends meet. Gew was much better off, she came from a wealthy family and was an exemplary student. Her whole family was convinced that she was going to marry a wealthy man.
Things turned out differently, as they often do in love… Dam regularly brought Gew with his local bus (songthaew) to the teacher training college she was attending. During one ride, they got to chitchat and the spark ignited. Love blossomed until wedding plans were made. When Gew told her father the news, the wealthy businessman didn’t want to hear it and expressed his strong opposition. Gew was never allowed by her father to see her beloved Dam again! The couple was desperate and soon made the choice to stay together forever….
As an act of desperation, Gew & Dam tied themselves together with a cloth on Thursday 22 February 1973. Tied to each other with a heavy stone, they jumped off the Sarasin Bridge that day. When the authorities found their bodies, they were still tied to each other with the cloth they had used. Gew & Dam together forever and always!
DID YOU KNOW?
Today, couples in love, just like Chrystal and Jurg (see photo below), walk across the Sarasin Bridge together every day. If you and your loved one can cross the whole bridge with bated breath, you can make a wish together. It will then come true (so they say). Don’t worry, if you are alone, you can make a wish as well if you managed to cross without breathing.
At the grounds of the Phuket Gateway, there are numerous columns, buildings and sculptures, including one of an immense turtle surrounded by dozens of eggs. This is probably because this region of Phuket is known for being a breeding ground for different turtle species. Personally, we love the half-open and rectangular building created by IDIN Architects. Especially the shadow in the building makes this one of the best places for a nice (Instagram) picture.
ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS IN THE NORTH OF PHUKET
- Chill out at Nai Thon Beach or learn to surf / rent a surfboard at Ohm
- Take that super cool selfie with an aeroplane at Mai Khao Beach
- Have a snack and/or drink at one of the best restaurants on Nai Yang Beach, Nai Thon Beach or Mai Khao Beach
- Take a stroll over the Nai Yang Fresh Market or visit the Turtle Village Shops & Cusine in Mai Khao
- A temple visit to Wat Mongkol Waranarm and/or Wat Mai Khao
- Seek out nature in the Sirinat National Park
- Walk (together) with bated breath over the Sarasin Bridge and have a drink or a meal at one of the nice restaurants
- Visit the “secret” beaches Nai Thon Noi Beach and Banana Beach near Nai Thon Beach
- Go kite- or wakeboarding, snorkelling or diving in the sea of Nai Yang and end the day with a nice massage
- Have a unique culinary experience at the Michelin-starred PRU Restaurant on the grounds of the luxurious Trisara
- Support the good initiatives Soi Dog Foundation and Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation by visiting them.
- See the various sculptures and other architectural art at the Phuket Gateway
- Have fun in the water at the Splash Jungle Water Park or play a round of golf at the Blue Canyon Country Club
ATMOSPEHRIC IMAGES OF NORTH PHUKET
Check out Picture This #34, which contains various images of the Sarasin Bridge, Mai Khao Beach, Sirinat National Park, Nai Yang Beach, Nai Thon Beach and Trisara.
The norther part of Phuket is a lot less touristic than the middle and south part of the island. Ideal for those looking for peace and tranquility. An additional advantage is that the airport of Phuket is also situated in the north. This means that you can be in one of the beautiful resorts in the north of Phuket in less than 15 minutes. If you want more information, check out our articles about the beaches where these accommodations can be found. By clicking on the name you go directly to Booking.com where you can find more information or book directly.
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The best accommodations around Nai Thon Beach
If you drive from the mainland (Phang Nga) towards the Sarasin Bridge, you will come across Thanoon Seafood just before you cross the bridge. Sit outside and enjoy the delicious fresh seafood prepared for you here. If you’re in the area, a visit is recommended. From the restaurant, you have a great view of the Sarasin Bridge.
Near Thanoon Restaurant you’ll find a small market with stalls and stores. A nice place to walk along if you’re there anyway.
Similana Tortoise Restaurante
The Similana Tortoise Restaurante, in our opinion, stands out for its tasty cakes, pies and biscuits. If you are looking for a sweet snack with a refreshing drink for a change, this is the place to be! Life is sweet!
WE VALUE YOUR OPINION!
Despite the fact that our selected locations in Phuket have a very good reputation, it’s possible that due to (for example) new management the quality has become less good. Or unfortunately locations have been forced to close their doors because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic… If you have useful information, please let us know! Also, if you have a favourite restaurant or other great tip for Phuket, be sure to let us know through our Thailand Magazine Facebook group, or Instagram and Facebook page. Via e-mail is also possible. THANKS!