Today was Father's Day in Thailand. A public holiday and a day Bangkok's residents dissipate to the coast and national parks. To the waterfalls and the reservoirs. But sadly, not this one.
Thailand has an abundance of natural beauty. In such a huge country with a population of 70 million of which 10 million live in Bangkok alone, there are many unspoilt and peaceful rural areas. However, anywhere within a 3-hour drive of Bangkok is open to the possibility of invasion by townies whenever there is one of many national holidays!
The wife and I, along with our friends are no exception to this and embarked upon a 2-day camping trip starting yesterday, before the rush, and after spending a cold, windy night with one of the most beautiful, non-sea views I have ever seen (more on that another day), we broke camp and had a ride to explore the area a little more.
Turn off the 304 and travel just 1 mile down this quiet local road
During our travels, we ended up here, at Thap Lan Dam on the fringe of one of the smaller National Parks, Thap Lan. The larger reservoirs and dams are often inundated with people eating, drinking and generally just chilling out, but not here. This small reservoir was almost ghostly and although only a mile from the main 304 trunk- road, felt isolated and cut-off from the world. It wasn't entirely unpopulated though. There were a few people fishing....
The old fashioned way with long sticks and string or for others, with a proper rod and line......
OK, many rods and lines! This was just one person's setup! The best thing was though, in 20 minutes wandering around, I never saw anyone catch anything!
And then I turned round to see signs of once happier times for this particular reservoir, a small park with children's rides at the foot of the embankment but now all unused and left to the elements and for nature to reclaim.
In this area, there are so many natural attractions vying for the attention of a limited local tourist and day-trip market, its just a little far out for the Bangkok crowd's catchment area, and I guess this place is one such victim.
The 304 runs between two natural parks. The famous and hugely popular Khao Yai on its eastern side and Thap Lan to its west, both stunningly beautiful wildernesses and is a UNESCO World Heritage Area. One of only 7 sites and areas listed in Thailand. Take a look at the UNESCO listing and description, here
Anyway, back to the playground........
It was eerily quiet, just the breeze and sound of water lapping against the dam and of course, the usual birds chirping and chattering away. It had a sense of foreboding and overwhelming sadness and you could almost imagine the sounds of joyful kids rushing around and the squeak of see-saws, swings and roundabouts.
I also wondered when the last kid had played here and why it suddenly became unused and overgrown. Did something more sinister happen here?
These are the pictures. Sad, don't you think?
This is the outdoor exercise gear. See the white barbells still sat there waiting to be lifted!
The metal swings and slides will eventually rust away to nothing but these fibreglass animals will be here forever!
There is so much to discover in this huge and diverse country if you just get out of Bangkok and the tourist areas! More on my mini-trip later but I will leave you one spoiler alert. I still never got to see a wild elephant.....or even a mildly annoyed one!!
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