Excavated by Malay communists in 1976-77 to avoid bombardment, the Piyamit network of tunnels stretches for over a kilometre and is in a lush jungle setting outside of Betong town.
While not a scratch on the Vinh Moc tunnels in Vietnam, these are nevertheless still well worth visiting and the site is reasonably well geared up for visitors. Fairly recently there were some problems with sections of the tunnels collapsing, so all were enlarged and concrete rendered, making for a far easier exploration. They are also well lit, so you needn't bring a torch.
The tunnel complex includes bedrooms, storerooms and a well-like structure that was used to ferry goods to the surface. There is also a very interesting museum on site tracing the struggle the communists fought and ultimately lost. Overall this is a very interesting site, though the gift-shop on site may have a few die-hards rolling over in their graves.
If you're in the area, it makes sense to add in a visit to Betong Hot Springs where you can hard-boil an egg in just seven minutes. The springs have been built into a pool structure with a walkway to the centre where some of the springs can be seen, though they have been covered with a wire contraption. Do NOT put your hand in the water under the wire (like a silly researcher) as it is extremely hot.
The rest of the pond is very warm and there is a second pond where you can dangle your feet (not your socks though) for some supposed mineral medical miracle. While the springs are not worth visiting as a sole point of interest, if you're visiting the tunnels then you may as well drop by.
How to get there
The tunnels are best visited by chartered tuk tuk in conjunction with a visit to the hot springs. Expect to pay around 200-300B for the tuk tuk including waiting time, a visit to the hot springs and Phramahathat Chedi
By Stuart McDonald.
Last updated on 25th December, 2016.
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