Northwest Thailand during World War II

N18°51.34 E98°57.60 Don Kaeo (burial area) (Th: ดอนแก้ว / Jp: ドンケオ略図 )
page 2 of 3

Route 0107
Station 009


Text Notes

Maps of Don Kaeo burial area:

To supplement the descriptions, the book provides a map:[9]

War vets map of Don Kaeo

Sufficient details visible on a Google Earth view of the area[10] (called out with blue circles and white-colored notes) seem to fairly well locate the Journal map above:

Don Kaeo local map

Note the area marked with yellow: while the Journal map does not call this out, the hospitals can be generally located by the description that the burial areas were half a kilometer to the west of the hospitals.


Photos of locations described in the Journal on Collection of War Dead's presentation about the Don Kaeo burial area:

On the ground (N18°51.43 E98°57.73), looking west from Route 121 across the khlong at the general area of the grave sites:[11]

Don Kaeo on the ground


Wat Piyaram, N18°51.32 E98°58.06, on Thai Route 107 at Station 9+300
(107: 9+300):[12]

Entrance on Thai Route 107:[13]

Entrance to Wat Piyaram

Main building:[14]

Wat Piyaram











Wat Sophanaram, N18°51.72 E98°57.90, at 107: 10+100:

Entrance on Thai Route 107:[15]

Wat Sophanaram entrance

Main building:[16]

Wat Sophanaram











There is nothing on the grounds of either wat related to Japan. When I visited Wat Piyaram in March 2008, I was told that a Buddhist monk from Japan had long stayed there and might have had useful information, but that he had just recently left.

In between the two wats are several lanes heading west from Route 107. One more likely than others to have been that shown in the Journal map is this one at 107:09+500, N18°51.435 E98°58.020:[16a]

Lane west off Route 107


Other items relevant to the Don Kaeo site:

The Journal does not mention a small Japanese memorial at a wat about four kilometers further north on Thai Route 107: Wat Sawang Ban Thoeng, N18°53.54 E98°57.17, at 107: 13+800. No doubt it was dedicated long after the Journal was completed. The approach to the wat entrance is obscured by a roadside market; however the wat rooftops are still visible beyond:[17]

Wat Sawang Ban Thoeng

Turn left immediately on entering the wat grounds and the memorial will be visible in the corner:[18]

Memorial location in Wat Sawang Ban Thoeng












The memorial is in the form of a freestanding tablet:[19]

Tablet at Wat Sawant Ban Thoeng

The Japanese text reads:

It is hoped that the day will come when people everywhere:
. . . don't kill anymore.
. . . help each other without hatred
. . . are peaceful.

The Thai text reads:

The people of Japan give their thanks to the people of Thailand for their help during WWII.


In addition, for clarification, it is noted that there is a Wat Don Kaeo at N18°52.79 E98°58.32, about one kilometer east of the kilometer post 12 on Thai Route 107:[20]

Wat Don Kaeo gate












Located about 2.5 kilometers northeast of the Don Kaeo burial site, It does not appear to have been related to IJA activities at Don Kaeo during the war.


Continued on next page





9.^ ibid, p 447

10.^ Google Earth view of site, approximate center of photo: N18°51.35 E98°57.72 with an eye altitude of 2.59 km.

If the aerial view is correct, approximate centers of Graves Areas are:

1st N18°51.24  E98°57.55
2nd N18°51.43  E98°57.59

11.^ CIMG3243.jpg
       29 Apr 2008








12.^ Read location as:

On Thai Route 0107 (the Chiang Mai - Mae Rim Road), pass kilometer marker for "9" (kilometers) --- it is a white concrete monument located in the median --- and go about 300 meters farther: entrance to Wat Piyaram will be at this point.

This designation does not tell which way kilometer stationing is increasing: this must be determined by on-site inspection (ie, look around); on Route 107, it happens to be increasing to the north. Nor do the numbers tell on which side of the highway the entrance will be located ---  again, look around; it is on the west side.

13.^ CIMG2865.jpg
       08 Mar 2008

14.^ CIMG2864.jpg
       08 Mar 2008












15.^ CIMG2867.jpg
       08 Mar 2008











16.^ CIMG2868a.jpg
       08 Mar 2008















16a.^ CIMG3236.jpg
       29 Apr 2008














17.^ CIMG2885.jpg
       15 Mar 2008












18.^ CIMG2886-markup.jpg
       15 Mar 2008












19.^ CIMG2888.jpg
       15 Mar 2008



















20.^ CIMG2881.jpg
       15 Mar 2008