The boys of the Thai caves are again the main ones

Mongkol Boonpiam, a rescued member of Wild Boar youth soccer team crawls inside a mock Tham Luang cave at the exhibition.

The young Thai soccer team, whose terrible experience in a flooded cave captivated the world earlier this year, recounted their memories of their rescue on Thursday when they visited a spectacular exhibition that narrates the drama.

The interactive showcase at the popular Siam Paragon shopping center in Bangkok details the efforts made by a multinational group of experts to get the 12 children and their 25-year-old trainer out of the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand.

Among other things, it presents a model of the narrow tunnel by which the divers had to maneuver the children as the waters of the flood rose.

Since they were safely extracted two months ago, international and national interest in them has remained high, with the offerings of Hollywood films in the works.

The boys from the Thai caves in a shopping center in Bangkok on Thursday.


Thai authorities banned reporters from talking to the children in an attempt to help them get back to normal after the harrowing experience, with the media required to obtain government permission before approaching them.

But Thursday's festivities saw the children in the spotlight when they were interviewed by the government spokesman, Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak.

They will also be the center of a nighttime celebration called "United as One," and more than 10,000 people are expected to attend, officials said.

When asked how they had changed their lives after the rescue, Prachak Sutham, the first child who escaped from the cave, said: "Things are the same, but now there are more people who know me."

Duangpetch Team Captain Promthep said that most of his 300,000 Instagram followers claimed to be his fans.

Wild boars enter a fake Tham Luang cave.

Wild boars enter a fake Tham Luang cave.


After an hour-long interview, the children toured the exhibition, walking in front of a model of the stretcher that carried them out. He had a mannequin with an oxygen facial mask.

The exhibit also featured a commemorative statue of the former SEAL Navy diver who died installing oxygen tanks along the dangerous route.

The children finished the excursion shuffling through the narrow tunnel, stooping to cross the exit.

Without the help of international divers, "the 13 would not have survived because Thailand does not have that experience," said Thipwipa Aranyakasem, 83, who visited the exhibition.

Narachai Sikly, 65, who came with his wife, said he was "excited" by how the government worked with the divers to rescue the children.

"It's excellent for the government and the group (of divers)."

The junta-led government, which came to power after a coup in 2014, received a boost of goodwill and praise from the Thai public since the rescue of the children and their coach, who has since become a monk.