(5 stars out of 5) Cast: Ron Smoorenburg, Ting Sue, Kelly B. Jones Director: Tom Waller Writer: Katrina Grose (story by), Don Linder (story by) Awards: Cork International Film Festival 2019, Nominee for Best Film Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller Run Time: 1h 44min Premiere Date: 21 November 2019 Country: Thailand Screening Location:SFX Cinema Maya, Chiang Mai, Thailand Purchase Movie Ticket:
Synopsis The Cave is a gripping true story of what happened as recent as June and July 2018 in Chiang Rai, Thailand, where 12 kids and their coach were trapped inside a flooded cave that pulled together a 2-week global effort to bring them back alive.
Actor Some of the characters were the real people who actually participated in the rescue effort. This only lent credibility to the breath-taking day-by-day toil they all endured to make it all happen.
Hurdles The boys were 4 kms deep inside the cave. The divers had to battle rising water levels. The passages were as narrow as 15x28 inches - barely enough to squeeze-in a diver with tanks. The passages were also winding with strong current and murky waters. Visibility was almost zero on some areas. An experienced diver took 6 hours one-way to the boys if against the current and 5 hours if with the current. The boys also had to be rescued the same way they came in, but none of them were divers. Some could not even swim. Additionally, oxygen inside the cave was depleting fast. By any stretch of the imagination, it was a nearly impossible task.
Logistics It was amazing to realize the local and global magnitude of the rescue effort. From the local side, they had the Thai police, Navy Seals, divers, monks, devotees, private citizens who donated jet propulsion pipes, ambulance, doctors, helicopters in wait, residents who cooked and cleaned, etc. Even the Thai Prime Minister showed up. From the international side, the US Army was there providing overall organization, a Chinese cave diver, Irish cave divers, UK diving equipment supplier, embassy hook-ups, etc. Help was received from Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, India, Israel, Japan, Laos, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States. The rescue scale was staggering!
Personal Side-Note about the Lone Fatality, Saman Kunan Unbeknownst to many, Saman Kunan, the lone fatality in the cave rescue, was also an ultra-marathon runner - running 100 kms. While I was at a runners' cafe in Bangkok shortly after the cave incident, I met some of his running mates who fondly talked about him. I asked them how he died. I got a surprising answer. One of them said, "when you can run 100kms, you don't feel your mortality."
Not Shown in the Movie
the boys tried digging themselves out of the cave and have gone 5 meters deep already when they were rescued
more than 100 shafts were bored into the soft limestone for an alternative rescue, but no suitable location was found
a total of 130 divers were working on the site - 90 divers in the cave system, 40 from Thailand and 50 internationally
when flood waters rose, the rescuers inside on dry land had to scamper quickly back to the entrance or risk getting trapped themselves inside the cave
the coach, Ekkaphon, used to be a Buddhist monk and guided the kids through meditation while trapped inside the cave. While Western media were clamoring legal charges against the coach, the Thai people considered him a hero for keeping the boys safe - only showcases disparity between Thai and Western thinking.
the cave system extended for 10 kms deep into the mountain interior
Ending Thoughts I came away from the cinema with a lingering feeling about this movie. It touched me on so many levels.
I arrived Bangkok in July 10, 2018, on the same date the last boy was pulled out of the cave. The media was on fever-pitch about the cave rescue - it was all over the news, the talk of the town and at the center of the global stage. So this movie has a feel of urgency for me.
I am an open-water scuba diver(a far cry from the more technical cave diver)...so I could just imagine what those divers were up against on rising water levels, murky visibility with strong current - inside a narrow and twisting cave. Cave divers have died on less challenging conditions.
I am also a caver where passages could go claustrophobically narrow and winding. On dry land, it is difficult. Imagine doing that underwater!
This is a heart-wrenching drama of sacrifice, tenacity, faith, hope, derring-do, coordination, bureaucracy, that ultimately heralded the triumph of the human spirit against all odds, as the world watched. It was moving to see the local villagers whose crops were damaged when floodwaters were diverted from the cave. They refused government compensation as part of their personal sacrifice for the rescue efforts. The private citizen who was refused with his jet propulsion donation simply because of the layered bureaucracy but remained steadfast and even turned back to the site when he was so frustrated, he already was on his way back home. There were so many acts of selflessness and sacrifice for those kids in the cave. It was hard to leave the theater without being touched by the human drama that unfolded.
(Nov 23, 2019) Kaka Mudra rolls-up the tongue sideways to emulate a straw. Air is drawn-in and held. This prevents all kinds of diseases, removes bad breath, quenches thirst and produces a cooling effect on the body....more »»
(Dec 5, 2019) When Enzo Ferrari called Henry Ford II a fat pig, Ford gave a blank check to build a race car that will beat Ferrari at the 24-hour race in Le Mans. The green light was on to engineer a race car and to find a driver who could deliver the podium finish!....more »»
Chiang Mai INFORMATION
Chiang Mai Map
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bus Station Train Station Chiang Mai International Airport Nong Buak Hard Park - free yoga classes daily
Arun Dara Villa - 7 exclusive rooms, 1 swimming pool for every room, grand opening
Nawa Sheeva Hotel - big rooms, high ceiling, salt-water pool, restaurant, cafe
Nawa Saraan Hotel - low density (4 spacious rooms), stone garden setting, Koi fish pond, Old City location
Arun Suite - 3 bedrooms in a 3-storie guesthouse within Old City, ideal for families
Tawan Bike - motorcycle rental | +66 91 635 2863 | Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200
Chiang Mai FYI / Tips
crop-burning season in Chiang Mai is between late Feb to early April. But laws change everytime. This year, 2019, there is a 61-day ban on burning so the farmers started burning early. When my plane was approaching Chiang Mai on Jan 24, 2019, there was already a thick blanket of smog covering the entire city (and beyond). But within the city itself, you won't feel it (but that doesn't mean the air is healthy). To monitor air conditions in real time, refer to site: Chiang Mai Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI)
hot season begins March and lasts until June
wet season begins July and lasts until September
best time to visit Chiang Mai is mid-September to mid-February - after the monsoon and before the burning
you have to try Khao Soi, this is north Thailand's culinary staple
the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located in the Old City
to exchange your dollars to Thai Baht, the Super Rich Money Exchange give the best rates. There are many branches scattered around Chiang Mai
get a red cab (songthao) outside the train station for Baht 50 (instead of paying B100 if inside the train station) to Old City - if you haggle nicely enough...I did!
shared red taxi (songthao) - B30 standard fare plying all over Old City
for only B50/day, best to rent a bike to go around the Old City - it's a 2.5km2 with lots to discover
FREE daily yoga classes from 9:00am to 10:15am at Nong Buak Hard Park (southwest corner of Old City). Resident and passing-through teachers take turns conducting yoga classes.
Blues/Jazz Bars in Chiang Mai
North Gate Jazz Coop - at Chang Phueg Gate, great Tuesday jam session, Blues on Sundays at 11pm by the Chiang Mai Blues band
Boy Blues Bar - at the Night Bazaar. Mondays at 9:30pm is open mic
My Secret Cafe - near Wat Phra Singh. Tuesdays at 7:30pm for the changing front-act and 9:00pm for the Panic Band
Taphae East - 88 Thapae Rd. (just north of Night Bazaar). Fridays at 9:30pm by Chiang Mai Blues Band
Chiang Mai Cost Index
B60 Chiang beer
B250 1 hour drop-in yoga session
B200 one hour Thai body massage at WAYA Massage(highly recommended)
B50 noodle soup with meat
B40 pad thai
B30/kilo wash-only laundry
B50/kilo wash+iron laundry
B100-150 dorm bed/night
B250 fan room/night
B30 internet cafe/hour
B170-190 Movies Sat-Sun and public holidays
B130-150 Movies weekdays
B100 Movies Wednesdays (movie discount day)
B750 1/2 day Thai cooking lessons
B900-1000 1 full day Thai cooking lessons
B400 Muay Thai boxing ticket
B2500 starting room rate at the luxury hotel, Nawa Sheeva(highly recommended)
B450 bus, Chiang Mai to Bangkok
B160-180 bus, Chiang Mai to Pai
B1250 bus, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
B1650 slow boat, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
B210 bus, Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, 3-4 hours
B360 Green VIP bus, Chiang Mai to Mae Sai (Thai border town for visa run to Tachileik, Myanmar)
B50 bicycle rental, 24 hours
B200 motorbike rental, 24 hours
B273 #51 sleeping train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Book Online - direct booking with State Railway of Thailand. Best to register first. If going to BKK from CNX, click "Northern Line".
note -- big difference between booking direct with the State Railway and booking with an online 3rd party agent. 12GO was charging B1330 for the same trip that only cost me B941 with the State Railway.
note -- Oct 2022, I took the #10 Train from CNX to BKK, upper berth, 2nd class, a/c, sleeper, B941. The train was clean, fast, comfortable and modern. If you have heavy luggage that will cost more money in flight checkin, I would suggest this train. Otherwise, the flight now is so much cheaper it doesn't even make sense to take the bus or train.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Train from Bang Sue Train Station
How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days
This process is BEFORE Covid 19. Not sure what it is now.
60-Day Thai Tourist Visa
NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.
Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
b) flight booking to Thailand
c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
d) filled-in tourist visa form
e) 2 passport pictures
f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
g) passport with at least 6 months validity
After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.
NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.
bring the following to the Immigration Office:
a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
b) Baht 1900
c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!