An update for guys who ride the big dipper and miss the history in the museum at the viewpoint.
Info copied from this GTR thread
On the road with Destination Thailand TV part 8
From the Mekong its was onto the fabulous twisting R1155 snaking through the mountains
to venture up in the mountains & Phaya Phipak, the ex communist battle ground.
Phaya Phipak has featured on GTR before here
Huay Xai Mapping
The masterplan was to have couple of rides up & down the road for some filming plus check out the forest park with the amazing tree.
Stopped at the viewpoint oggling the amazing view towards Phu Chi Fah, our destination for the night.
And what a view that is towards Phu Chi Fah in the distance on the Lao border
Whilst here I spotted the deserted building on the side.
the buildings always been there, ever since Ive been going to PP, but today it roused my curiosity & I sauntered over to have a look. The door was locked (so I thought.) I headed off across the road the shop to ask the guy for the keys to get inside & take a look at what was on the wall - some old photographs by the looks of it.
The shopkeeper looked at me as if I was stupid wanting the keys & I had to repeat the question several times before he got a bunch of keys & walked over with me to open up. And open up he did, simply by pushing the jammed door open - oops not locked at all. Silly old farang!
Inside the grubby dusty building - "the museum?" a collection of old framed photos on the wall.
Proud young men - communists - fighting against the government of the day.
All villagers from Phaya Phipak who struggled for their rights & survival in those difficult days.
The main photo was this one
the centre row shows medics - female who treated the fighting wounded & one of the guys in the bottom row was the shopkeeper.
who gave me the keys to the "museum." According to the good "doctor" all the people in the photos & are still alive & living in Phaya Phipak, such was their good luck, strength & will power to endure the struggle they must have had to survive for a few decades - conflict, battles, then poor living conditions no running water, no electricity & here they are years later ALL still alive & seemingly comfortable & enjoying life in Phaya Phipak. An amazing story, amazing people.
Loh & behold whilst at the shop getting the low down on their lives a tiny Hmong guy walks past wearing his communist cap. We call out & beckon him over, asking if he is still communist & the reply comes back yes as nonchalant as can be. Still believing in what they fought for - their lives in the mountains & right to survive, live there.
If you go to Phaya Phipak, take your time. Hang out in the shop by the viewpoint. You can meet some real interesting characters. The Big Dipper is more than just the ride, there is history on that mountain with living people.