Tourists jam roads at Phu Thap Boek

Tourists jam roads at Phu Thap Boek

Popular hilltop resort in Phetchabun thronged by visitors greeting the New Year

Holidaymakers pack Phu Thap Boek in Lom Klao district of Phetchabun to celebrate the New Year. (Photo supplied by Ouan Tour Phu Thap Boek)
Holidaymakers pack Phu Thap Boek in Lom Klao district of Phetchabun to celebrate the New Year. (Photo supplied by Ouan Tour Phu Thap Boek)

PHETCHABUN: Roads around Phu Thap Boek were jammed with cars in both directions on Saturday morning as holidaymakers left the popular hilltop destination for other nearby sites after celebrating the New Year.

Traffic was heavy on the road leading down the mountain in Lom Klao district of Phetchabun as many vehicles departed at the same time. The road is narrow and causes traffic to move at a snail’s pace.

Seksan Klinphoon, chief of Lom Klao district, said officials had to manage traffic by releasing a certain number of outbound vehicles at a time. And while many people were heading down the mountain, many more were on the way up to spend part of the long weekend there.

Authorities did not limit the number of tourists visiting Phu Thap Boek during the New Year holiday period, said Mr Seksan.

“We have not limited tourist arrivals as the number of tourists is not high when compared to previous years. Some holidaymakers might be worried about Covid-19,” he said.

Local business operators and shops have been asked to strictly abide by Covid-19 control measures to reduce the risk of infection, he added.

Community leaders earlier this year had imposed strict lockdown measures on Phu Thap Boek, as Hmong ethnic residents feared outsiders could bring Covid with them. At one point, visitors who wanted to stay there were told they would have to undergo 14-day quarantine, which effectively deterred most travel.

The popularity of Phu Thap Boek with tourists has always posed challenges, most of them related to overdevelopment and environmental degradation.

Five years ago, the government ordered the demolition of 64 illegally built resorts and laid charges against 100 operators.

Most structures had been built on land classified as forest reserve and intended for the use of the area’s Hmong inhabitants. However, a lot of the land had ended up in the hands of influential people and developers.

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