Tham Luang cave complex to reopen to tourists Friday

Tham Luang cave complex to reopen to tourists Friday

Tourists queue up for their turn to visit part of Tham Luang in Chiang Rai in October 2019.(Photo: Chinpat Chaimon)
Tourists queue up for their turn to visit part of Tham Luang in Chiang Rai in October 2019.(Photo: Chinpat Chaimon)

Tham Luang cave complex in Khun Nam Nang Non forest park, which is located in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, will reopen on Friday after it was closed to visitors on April 19 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the park is reopened, visitors will be able to trek along the newly extended trail inside Tham Luang cave, which now includes the underground chamber that was used by Navy seal divers in the dramatic rescue of the 12 young footballers and their coach who became trapped in the cave in 2018.

The chamber, which is located some 200 metres from the mouth of the cave, is the only cave in the system which the public can access. Caves which lie deeper in the complex will remain off-limits to tourists.

"Noen Nom Sao, the chamber where the footballers and their coach were trapped, is actually located 2.43km from the mouth of the cave. It would take days to walk there, given the conditions," said park chief, Kawee Prasompon.

Mr Kawee said a trip to the accessible part of the cave will take about 15 minutes, though a guided trip may take about 30 minutes.

The cave will limit visitors to a maximum of 40 at any given time, in order to comply with public health guidelines and ensure carbon dioxide does not build up in the closed system, which could harm visitors.

Visitors will be given flashlights and colour cards prior to entering the cave.

Visitors must be fully vaccinated or have passed the recommended Covid-19 test before entering the national park, he added.

Separately, Khao Yai National Park authorities are preparing to open Lam Takong campsite at the beginning of next month.

However, visitors must be fully vaccinated and be tested with antigen test kits, according to park chief Adisak Phusitwongsanuyut.


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