PHETCHABUN: Visitors may soon be prohibited from climbing Khao Klang Nok, pyramidal ruins inside Si Thep Historical Park, amid concerns by local people who see it as inapproriate and view the ruins as sacred.
Unesco's declaration of Si Thep Historical Park as a World Heritage Site on Sept 19 generated an unexpected influx of tourists to the park, in Si Thep district.
This raised concerns among local residents about the number who were climbing Khao Klang Nok, a historical site inside the park boundary and about 2 kilometres from the ancient town ruins. They felt it was inappropriate and would damage the site.
The hill is a giant collapsed brick and laterite stupa about 64 metres long on each side and 20m high.
District chief Weerawat Wattanawongphreuk said on Tuesday that he had raised these concerns with the head of the Si Thep Historical Park. Tourists may soon be prohibited from climbing to the top of Khao Klang Nok, he said.
Historical park authorities currently allow people to go to the top of the hill. However, there were many relics there, such as ancient stupas, that were venerated by local Buddhists. Allowing people to climb it could be seen as inappropriate, the district chief said.
“Personally, a ban would make this ancient place more valuable. Going up to the top is nothing. People just want to take pictures of the scenery. There's not much of benefit. It is better to stay below and view this ancient place, which has been declared a Word Heritage site,’’ said Mr Weerawat.
Visitors climb to the top of Khao Klang Nok, an ancient ruin inside Si Thep Historical Park. (Photo: Sunthorn Kongvarakhom)