Naga Cave closes due to lottery louts
The environment minister has ordered the indefinite closure of Phu Langka national park and the recently discovered Naga Cave, which features rock formations like giant snake scales that have been disfigured by visitors looking for lucky lottery numbers.
Minister Varawut Silpa-archa announced the closure of the park and cave in Bueng Khong Long district of Bueng Kan yesterday.
He said visitors had damaged the rock formations by rubbing at the surface, hoping to find lucky lottery numbers. Others had gouged rude graffiti into the rock.
Naga Cave would be closed until officials come up with effective measures to protect the important geological resources of the country.
He condemned the vandalism and said people with such bad habits were not welcome.
Mr Varawut apologised to those people who planned to visit the northeastern tourist spot and had already reserved accommodation.
He said he had to order the immediate closure of the site. Allowing a grace period would mean allowing vandals time to cause more damage.
The minister said he would discuss with relevant officials the best way to erase the unwanted inscriptions and prevent visitors from touching the rock formations.
Naga Cave is a new attraction, discovered only this year near Wat Tham Chai Mongkol. It features rock formations that resemble a mythological giant snake known as Naga.
According to officials at Department of Natural Resources, the mountains in the area are comprised of sandstone aged 75-80 million years and the "snake scales" are actually sun-cracked rock.
Sharp temperature differences between day and night caused the rock to expand and contract, and it often cracked.