Thursday, September 30, 2010

Betong: Pyamit Tunnels

Piyamit tunnels...
oddly one of the things that attracted my attention to Betong.
I know I have an odd sense of interest... from bird pooped covered postboxes
to holes in the ground... but then again this is not just any hole in the ground
As these plaques recalls the history of Malaya communists as they fought for freedom
3 months to dig a 1-km tunnel by hand!
Just another example of Chinese hard work...

The drive up was quite a sight and had interesting stops along the way
I found the signs for Piyamit tunnels quite fascinating too...
how often do you see signs like this?

and even after arriving and paying my BHT50, 
It was still quite a journey and walk to the tunnels
not to be taken lightly as even though there are steps it is quite a steep incline over a distance...
but the scenary along the way is quite relaxing and beautiful
Eventually, if you persevere, you'd arrive at this guard post
Of course this served as an outlook post where they could alert the others of hostiles
that stick wrapped in the green wire is actually what they pull to sound the alarm
As you progress in you'll find the preparation area for charcoal 

As you get closer you'd notice some of the entrances to the tunnels that are closed off 
and I guess kind of unmaintained

Eventually, you arrive at the start of the tunnels
here you'd meet some guides that can tell you about the tunnels and answer your questions
There is plenty of information and illustrations around the place.
Along the way there is enough illustration that even kids 
would be able to get the idea of the use of the tunnels
As you step in, you'd get what you'd expect...
a long tunnel..
What surprised me was the fact that it was actually made quite high
I was expecting to have to bend over as I travelled through the tunnels 
but the ceiling is well over 6 feet high
Another pleasing thing as you can see if that there is sufficient lighting
all along the pathways, so no worries about bumping into things
And more proof of the people here, they use plastic bottles as covering for the lamps
If you're claustrophobic there are sufficient exits along the path ways..
Think there is like 6 exits along the 1 km tunnel.
Every once in a while you come across areas sch as the store room

BTW if you can't tell that is actually another room through a hole in the ground
I found the sleeping areas and rest areas interesting...
simple and conveniently placed along the paths
After sweating and huffing
(cuz of the walk and the fact there is little movement of air)
you'd reach the final stretch of stairs..
I expected to see daylight soon after
But it took nearly another five minutes climb 
before my eyes had to adjust to daylight again
The path leads back to the entrance area
where there is a small museum that talk about their lifestyles 
and also the equipment they used

Around the end corner, there is a shrine
and here they burn lots of firecrackers..
Guess they really want to scare off the spirits...
As I was leaving I noticed these other chinese zodiac statues
of course my favourite monkey was there
first time seen a cobra...
and a Thai dragon... definitely different
If you ever make a trip to Betong, 
I definitely recommend making a trip to Piyamit tunnels at least once

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