Earlier this year the Tourism Authority of Thailand invited me to come visit the country and create our first ever Asian guide for GayCities. The phenomenal travel connoisseur Carlos Melia took me, YouTuber Davey Wavey and colleagues from Pink Triangle Press, Passport magazine and dot429 around Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle region showing us the shiniest gems Thailand has to offer. The following travelogue retraces highlights from my third day there.
ChungKai War Cemetary
The following day we took a fieldtrip outside Bangkok to go explore the River Kwai. Our first stop, however, was the immaculate cemetery for the western prisoners of the Second World War, who died while living in work camps and being subjected to constructing the labor-intensive Burma-Siam railway. The ChungKai cemetery itself was actually built by the surviving POW’s.
Containing the graves of over 1,700 prisoners, the cemetery is a point of pilmigrage for many western families who share a lineage with the tragedy. The graves are mostly of citizens from the Commonwealth and the Netherlands. The Americans repatriated the remains of their men, while 50 graves have not yet been identified.
ChungKai is kept pristine by a team of gardeners and caretakers and feels oddly perfect in its geometric precision – certainly a western quality. Across the street a modest museum retells the story of the overburdened Burma-Siam undertaking with a collection of artifacts, letters and other testimonials.
Train Ride to the River Kwai
For lunch we stopped at this tiny village to catch the train to River Kwai. A few yards away from the train stop there is a cave with a beautiful Buddha figure.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/46917240 w=600&h=337] On the train to the River Kwai, we shared a cabin with a group of eager and ecstatic Thai children.
Hunger Games Thailand?
The bridge on the River Kwai