Ever wondered what it's like to be standing in an airplane crash site? To be walking through wreckage and debris of a plane's former self is something not many of us would dream about.
Believe it or not, but one exists right here in Bangkok, nestled away from the hustle and bustle of downtown city. Although most people come to Bangkok for its food, culture and nightlife but for the intrepid traveler, deep within Ramkhamhaeng district, lies a fascinating airplane graveyard, ready to explore.
While I might have hooked you in with calling it an "airplane crash site", the so-called airplane graveyard is in fact simply a private field where decommissioned planes are brought to and stripped for parts.
But don't let that take away from its uniqueness and captivating persona.
What could possibly be a travelers' worst nightmare to be stranded in a pile of airplane rubble is in reality, a makeshift home to a family who reside within them.
I had been hearing about this place for quite some time now but recently when I saw it pop up on my social media newsfeed, it lighted up my adventurous soul. I just had to go here.
The way there
After reading a few blog posts about how to get here, I had a few options – take a taxi, a bus or the canal ferry. I opted for the ferry because I know how bad traffic can be in Bangkok.
I got on the ferry at Asok/Petchburi pier and took it all the way down to Wat Sri Boonruang. After about 25 minutes or so, I arrived at the temple grounds parallel to the canal. I walked through it to the main road of Ramkhamhaeng and took a right towards soi 101. I was at 107.
After about 5 minutes of walking and crossing a small bridge, I was there. On the right lay the planes in their former glory. At first I was a bit underwhelmed. This is it that everyone has been going crazy about?
Enter the field
I walked up to the gate that separated man from machine. It was locked. I couldn't see anyone despite reading that there are people who live here and charge you for entering.
"HELLO. Swasdee Khrup" I gently exclaimed. A woman and her daughter peaked out. I asked if I could enter and approached the gate, saying 400 Baht.
400 Baht? I reiterated.
300 Baht, she corrected.
I nodded and she opened the gate. Upon entering I walked towards the planes while trying to be as responsible and respectful as I could be.
The more I explored the field, the more my perspectives changed. It was surreal as I climbed into and onto different-sized planes. Yes! You can actually go inside them and climb onto the wings, although I didn't do the latter with a fear that I might break it.
My favorite experience was climbing into the large Boeing 747. I started by sneaking into the baggage compartment area and making my way up to the second and third level, all the way to the cockpit!
Almost everything in the planes were stripped apart – the seats, overhead cabins and the food cabinets. Laying among the wreckage were toilet seats, some passenger seats, oxygen masks and God knows what else.
Tip: be careful walking around for a couple of reasons. For one, people live here so don't trample on the fallen debris and secondly, there are lots of jagged edges and scrap metals that could cut you. You're going to need that tetanus shot!
Although the urban exploration is the highlight of this place, you can not ignore the irony. While for many of us who take flying for granted, whether for pleasure or work, these decommissioned airplanes are used as shelter and a vessel for the basic need of survival. It's truly a perspective-changing experience.
There is an amazing article by upworthy that focuses on the lives of the families living here rather than the airplanes themselves. Be sure to check it out.
Have you been here or any other airplane graveyards? Would you go?
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Monday, July 4, 2016 10:59 AM