Staff transferred after Naga Cave congestion
Park reminds visitors to book entrance on app only
published : 7 Feb 2022 at 21:30
writer: Apinya Wipatayotin
BUENG KAN: Officials overseeing the entrance of Naga Cave have been transferred and some guides banned, after the famous attraction at Phu Langka National Park was flooded with visitors over the weekend.
Damras Phoprasit, director of the National Parks Office, said on Monday that a new team had replaced all staff at the entrance of Naga Cave, after an internal investigation on Sunday found that more than 500 tourists were allowed to enter the site on Saturday.
Mr Damras did not elaborate on the number of staff in charge of the entrance and did not specify the exact number of visitors on Saturday.
Naga Cave in Bung Khong Long district has a limit of 500 visitors a day, with last entry at 2pm. People are required to book their visit in advance via the QueQ application. It takes around five hours to explore the mountainous cave. The tour for about five hours for a trip to go up and down from the mountainous cave.
Posts on social media have shown more than 500 visitors at the cave on Saturday. Due to the congestion, many had to leave the site in the late hours of the night.
Mr Damras said some officials colluded with local guides to allow visitors who did not make a reservation to enter the cave. The tourists paid the guides between 500 and 1,000 baht for the access, he added.
The guides who violated the park rules had been banned and the staff who colluded with them would face disciplinary action, he said.
On Sunday, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa expressed displeasure after seeing images of the overcrowded cave posted on social media. He vowed to take action against park officials.
Naga Cave has become a must-see attraction in the northeastern province, thanks to social media influencers who help promote a rock shaped like a giant snake or the body of a serpent located at the site.
Phu Langka National Park on Monday reminded people planning to visit the cave that they must book their visit via QueQ in advance.
"Any tourist making a reservation with tour groups or agencies other than Phu Langka National Park with no evidence showing the official reservation will not be allowed to visit Naga Cave," it warned.
The entry charge for Thai nationals is 20 baht for adults and 10 baht for children, plus 10-baht insurance.
For foreigners, the charge is 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for children, plus 40-baht insurance.