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On the far western edge of the Death Railway, I was walking the tracks on what I thought was an abandoned section of rail. Thankfully it was after crossing a 20 meter high bridge over jungle, whose planks were spaced quite far apart, that I learned these tracks were still quite operational.

After jumping out of the way of the oncoming train, I continued down the tracks. Popping out of he woods, far from any road was this mysterious set of stone stairs leading up into the greenery. After nearly falling off a narrow bridge and facing a head-on train, I certainly wasn’t going to pass on an enigmatic stairway.

About 40 steps in, the Death Railway was no longer in sight and the stairway split into two paths. One was in much better shape and went to the right, continuing up the mountainside.

The other was rougher, unleveled, and marked by this sign. DANGER. HIV.

I assumed the rest, written in Thai, was further explanation. Absolutely no idea what it meant though.

Well I certainly didn’t expect to get HIV by walking up some stairs. What lay at the top, though, is a post for another time.

Benjamin Williams

Hi all, my name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in archaeology and writing, pursuing a career in the latter. However, I never quite lost that fascination for archaeological theory. For the past 11 years, I’ve been living and travelling between Asia, Europe, and North America, documenting ancient sites and the peoples who built them, and then adapting them into practical archaeological travel information at


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