In the heart of Bangkok lies an airplane graveyard. That right! Strewn about a weed-infested field are wings, fuselages and cockpits from various jets. While everyone else is going to see the temples of Old Town and the ladyboys of Soi Cowboy, how about visiting something truly unique in Bangkok?
How to Find the Airplane Graveyard
The airplane graveyard can be found in Thanthip Village, a small district located ten miles east of Bangkok’s Old Town.
By water taxi:
The simplest (and cheapest) way to get to the airplane graveyard is by water taxi. The water taxi operates on the Saen Saep canal, starting from the old town and traveling parallel to the airport rail link 6.2 miles before turning and continuing north. The last stop is Wat Sri Bunruang, which is where you will find the graveyard. The cost to the end of the line is 20 baht (about $0.60). The taxi travels rather quickly, and there can be some spray of the not-too-clean river water. My recommendation is to wear a buff over your mouth and nose, and a pair of sunglasses.
By rail link:
Take the airport rail link (starting from the Phaya Thai Station) and exit at Hua Mak station. From there, take a taxi (50 baht) or the 519 bus (about 10 baht). You’ll have to ask a local where the bus stop is, and hopefully someone on the bus can tell you when to get off. If taking a taxi, tell them to take you to Ramkhanhuang 103. From there, the locals can direct you the last couple minutes to the graveyard.
Most expensive, and slower due to Bangkok traffic, is taking a taxi. Make sure the driver uses the meter, and expect to spend 150-250 baht for the trip, depending on traffic. Have them take you to Ramkhanhuang 103.
What You Will Find
The airplane graveyard was presumably left over from some local Thai businessman selling parts for scrap. Recently, a few Thai families have moved in to live there. They now charge 200 baht (about $6) to explore the planes. When my friends and I arrived, we had a 9 year old gate keeper take our money, who then proceed to show us around the planes.
Right in front of you as you enter is the forward half of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, sans wings. The cargo hold door is wedged open a couple feet, and you can step into the cargo bay, where you will find heaps of twisted metal and old plane parts.
To your right is what appears to be a wall, but is actually cloth doors you can push your way past into a small chamber. From here, climb up the short ladder into the main passenger location of the plane. There aren’t any chairs left intact, and the walls have been stripped bare to the steel frame. On the floor are rusted overhead storage compartments and chunks of the walls and windows. Basically, anything of any value has long since been pilfered.
At the back of the plane, there is a set of stairs rising up to the first class deck. It looks the same as the last, except with less debris on the floor. Walk to the front of the plane to get a look at the cockpit. Chairs, instruments, electronics and paneling are all missing. About the most interesting thing is the hole in the ceiling. If you have the guts, you can climb out and stand on the roof of the plane. If not, you can at least get a great selfie.
Around the 747 are wings, fuselages and other parts of at least two other MD-82 planes. One of the planes had a fatal crash at Phuket International Airport in 2007. You can climb around the fuselages of these planes too. One of them has a more intact cockpit where you can still see the old knobs and throttles, although anything else of value is missing.
I found the wings particularly interesting. The ailerons (the movable parts of the wing) were still fully functional, and I was amazed at how easily they moved. With hardly any pressure I could move them up and down. It made me wonder how they could resist the air current while in flight, but obviously the hydraulics would be working then.
You can easily walk through the graveyard in a few minutes, or you could take your time for an hour or two to really explore. I’d recommend a sturdy pair of shoes and a pair of pants. The planes are quite dirty, and the weeds between them are high. If you’re particularly adventurous (like me), bring a pair of gloves and have fun climbing about. Just be careful when you do. Obviously, there are no safety regulations here. It’s just you and the squatter families, and possibly a fun-loving 9-year-old showing you around while playing games with you.