While in Bangkok I had the chance to visit the Thai Cadet School at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. The trip included seeing the inside of a Thai Military Academy, a bit of history from Thailand’s military involvement over the years, doing some archery and shooting BB guns, Thai food for lunch and climbing a mountain to see a magnificent view of the area. I did the tour organised by Take Me Tour, a company that specialises in local tours with local tour guides. Very different to your highly commercial tour with a group of 20 other backpackers so it was quite nice!
Too see my other Favorite things to do in Bangkok please see my post: Crazy Asia! How to Experience Bangkok!
I almost never do tours myself so this was a new experience for me. My local guide was Punawat, or Pahk, a third year cadet at the school. It was just me and him and he showed me around the camp that has been his home for 3 years.
The camp is located on the edge of the forest about 1.5 hours drive from central Bangkok. And after spending the last week in Bangkok – Wow! it was just amazing to be in the quiet nature again!! Birds calling, no traffic noise, green grass and jungle all around! For this, I think it’s a perfect day trip from Bangkok.
Pahk met me at Mo Chit metro station in his car and we drove the 1.5 hours through the crazy traffic of Bangkok to the edge of the forest where the camp is. His military training was evident from the first minute as he walked about twice as fast as any other Thai person I’ve met!
Along the drive he explained to me how the army is his life now, and has been for the last 6 years. After 3 years of prep school, he has now been in Cadet School for 3 years and has 2 more before he is properly in the military. A degree is compulsory during this time and Pahk did his final exam for Computer Science the day before my trip!
In the military he must serve a full 8 years before he is allowed to leave!!
Our first stop was at the museum that contained a lot of guns and some history from WW2 and the Vietnam War. I hadn’t known that Thailand gave some support to Japan during WW2 to avoid being blown up by them. So when Japan was defeated they didn’t leave too much of a mess.
In the field next to one of the buildings there is an old Thai Military Helicopter and Airplane probably used in Vietnam. The airplane had such small wings, it was hard to imagine it being able to fly with maybe 20 passengers.
Being a weekend, most of the cadets had gone home, but at this point a couple of busloads of school kids arrived. They were shown around the camp in military style as you can see in the photo!
Our next stop was by the lake. There are 2 flying foxes, BB guns and a little further on, a place for visitors to try archery. After 5 months travelling in Asia and the last week in Khaosan Road, central Bangkok, my favourite was kayaking. It was so quiet and peaceful on the lake.
We met some of Pahk’s friends here and decided to have lunch together at a small local restaurant just outside the main entrance. As a group 6 we could order lots of different foods and try a bit of each. Thai food is certainly some of my favourite in all the world. We had grilled chicken, pork, pork liver, a kind of neck chop soup, papaya salad with sticky rice. On my special request everything was only MEDIUM spicy. Even after 2 months in Thailand, their food can have a few too many chilies in it sometimes.
The rain started just as we finished our lunch so we sat out the downpour at Amazon Coffee. As usual, it stopped in a few minutes so we drove to the bottom of the hill/mountain on one side of the camp, to climb.
By this time of the day it was swelteringly hot. After about 30 minutes on a half-grown track to the top of the mountain I was dripping sweat from head to toe.
The view from the top was great! You could see across the whole military camp as well as the rest of the valley. There were a few little villages here and there but you couldn’t see Bangkok. Very peaceful and quiet up there!
Our last stop was the Buddhist temple and a waterfall in the forest at the northern end of the camp. I recommend bringing swimming gear to swim in the waterfall. I forgot mine.
So if you are in Bangkok and are looking for a quiet local day tour with a military twist I would recommend the “Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy” trip with Take Me Tour to visit The Thai Military Academy.
See also my other post: Crazy Asia! Four ways to Experience Bangkok