Contents Tourism – Bangkok Plane Graveyard

In the next of my posts on contents tourism (if you don’t know what contents tourism is, please see my post about Tanigawa and Ichi-no-kurasawa), I’m writing about the Bangkok Plane Graveyard. This one is a bit different to the others I have already written about in that the others were largely inspired by seeing them in movies. Although the book ‘Climber’s High‘ also helped with the desire to go to Tanigawa, I don’t think I’ve ever read the books of Jaws (despite my love for the film) or You Only Live Twice, for example. It’s also different in that I didn’t visit until 2019, by which time I was actually doing research on contents tourism – having recently finished my chapter ‘Contents Tourism in Plane Sight‘. But this site has no connection to that research – it was just a place that I wanted to visit while on holiday in Bangkok.

I first came across the Bangkok Airplane Graveyard in the novel “The Night Trade” by Barry Eisler. I really enjoyed this book and went on to read all the other books in that series and also his other series. At it happens many of them are set in places that I have visited or were about to visit (e.g. Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Bangkok), to that probably added to my enjoyment of the books. I enjoyed them so much that I included mention of Barry Eisler and one of the characters in my novel Tokyo 20/20 Vision. That I have an interest in planes (as you will see from my research and posts on photography), further meant that I wanted to go to the graveyard.

In terms of the Bangkok Airplane Graveyard, it’s good to do a bit of research and planning before you go there. Although it’s a popular place for people to visit, it’s not a formal tourist site. There is no ticket office or information. There is a family living on the site and you have to get their attention to open the locked gate to let you in. They will tell you how much it is to get in. I’m not putting a price here as it can vary (based on websites I’ve read) and will probably change over time. I’m sure you could try to talk them down on price – but before you do, look at how they are living and then think of the nice plane you flew on to get to Bangkok, the accommodation you are staying in and the food you are eating and think about whether it’s worth saving a little bit of money when you could just as easily help support a family (and the local economy). The site is not well maintained (I wouldn’t be surprised if it closes down completely one day) – and although there are paths made by the visitors as they go through the plants and grass, I would suggest that regardless of the heat, you think about wearing trousers, socks and long-sleeved shirts to help protect against the vegetation, insects and sharp metal. You may want glasses for the boat trip to get there too. Unless you are driving or take a taxi, you will need to take an eastbound boat to the last stop, which is Wat Sriboonruang. These boats are fast and the water is very dirty (plastic sheets are held up by passengers to keep… errr… solids… out of your face). The boats make as brief as possible stops at stations along the way – going terminal (Tha Phan Fah Leelat) to terminal is the best option. But it’s a great way to see the city. From the final stop, walk in the direction of the Wat, and then follow the straight road down to the main road. You will come to the graveyard after crossing a bridge.

There’s really not much to say about the graveyard itself. There were plans for the planes to be used as a nightclub of sorts, but that didn’t take off (sorry). So they’ve been stripped and left to rot. Quite a sight and fun to explore if you like planes. As the 747 is my favourite I was particularly happy (and sad) to see it.

As I visited here thanks to reading about it in a novel, it did get me thinking about whether anyone has ever visited anywhere thanks to me writing about it in any of my research publications, novels, or blog posts. If you have – I’d love to hear about it.

See my other posts relating to Contents Tourism, by clicking here.

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