747 In A Field: Exploring Bangkok’s Airplane Graveyard

On the outskirts of Bangkok there is a field. Well, probably there are many fields. But this particular field is home to the ruins of several abandoned airplanes. Called the Airplane Graveyard, it sits nearĀ Wat Sriboonruang and contains the remains of three airplanes – a 747 and two MD-82 jetliners – plus some other random plane pieces.

These planes are reportedly owned by a Thai businessman who bought them to sell off parts for scrap. Pieces of a 747 have been in the yard since 2010, the two small planes added in 2014, and the full 747 showed up in 2015. The two smaller planes were previously owned by Thai Orient Airlines, and the Internet speculates they were taken out of service because a plane of the same model fatally crashed a few years prior. As for the other planes, it is unclear where they came from.

Today the Airplane Graveyard is not only home to these rejected and dilapidated planes, but also to 3 families who squat on the property and live in plane pieces. You can see their “houses” from the road, curtains covering plane windows, home items spilling out the massive metal doors. There is a gate around the property, and said enterprising family charges curious visitors like us a random fee to get inside. You can stay as long as you like and no one bothers you.

Climbing inside reveals an amazing look into what’s under the surface of planesĀ  — air masks lying out, lavatories with their seats perpetually open and filled with debris, knocked-down overhead bins, wires, insulation, metal and more metal…

Apparently you can also jump a fence at back to get in without paying, since technically it’s not legal for the families to charge money since it’s not their property. Probably it’s also illegal to jump a fence and enter a private property. But it’s free. Crawling around falling-apart planes alone in allegedly snake-filled grasses seemed like enough excitement for one day for us, though, so in a rare “not in budget” move we didn’t attempt to scale any fences and get in for free and just paid.

The Airplane Graveyard is definitely a good sight for those partial to “urban exploration” or photography. It was super-cool (even better than Bolivia’s train cemetery) to climb around for a while. Especially because you can do so totally unsupervised and while you’re kind of in the middle of nowhere. Maybe (OK definitely) it’s not 100% safe. Maybe I got a bruise (or 10) while exploring. Maybe it’s technically illegal. But worth it.

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