While exploring Thai culture, visiting some ancient Khmer temples and a mountain top Golden Buddha, we also pursued a modern adventure – geocaching.
Geocaching is a real-world treasure hunt, with over 2 million active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide.
A geocache is small hidden container for which the GPS coordinates are posted on geocaching.com – the official geocaching website. An active geocacher, such as Hance, who has found over 280 geocaches, can use a GPS device to navigate to the location of the geocache and ‘find’ it. One then ‘logs’ the visit in a notebook in the geocache (and subsequently on the website) and the returns the geocache to its hiding spot for others to find.
The key is having the GPS coordinates. Here, for instance, are the GPS coordinates for our hotel in Khon Kaen – North 16 degrees 25.777 minutes, East 102 degrees 49.839 minutes – and the same coordinates on a GPS unit.
One of the best features of geocaching is that many geocaches are hidden in spots of local significance or interest, and geocaching becomes a great way to explore local points of interest.
For our SCC trip, the best geocaches of interest are located at important cultural sites – the Khmer temples at Phnom Rung and Muang Tam, and the Golden Buddha at Khao Kradong.
Unfortunately the geocaches at Phnom Rung and Muang Tam were ‘missing in action.’ It often happens that people unfamiliar with geocaching (who are called ‘muggles’ within the geocache community) will find a geocache by accident and move it without realizing what it is.
Our third attempt at a geocache, however, was a success, as we found the one located behind the Golden Buddha.
With a bit of searching, once we arrived at the correct location, we found the geocache – a small plastic contain, wrapped in a plastic bag – hidden in a stone wall, behind some plants.
We opened the geocache, which contained a logbook and some small trinkets for ‘trading’, logged our visit, and then returned it to its hiding space (which is perilously close to some new construction work, which we informed the local geocache owner of, so that he can maintain the geocache appropriately).
So, while we only found 1 of the 3 geocaches, we had some success and also had the pleasure of visiting three points of special cultural significance.