The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has announced the implementation of safety measures in preparation for the reopening of Chiang Rai’s Tham Luang Cave in July. The cave gained global attention in 2018 when 12 young Wild Boars football players and their coach were trapped inside for 18 days due to flooding, ultimately leading to a successful rescue operation.
Officials including Atthaphon Charoenchansa, Director-General of the Marine and Coastal Resources Department; Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn, Director of the National Park Office; Chutidech Kamonnachanut, Director of the Conservation Area Administration Office 15 Chiang Rai; and Vernon Unsworth, a British cave diver who played a vital role in the 2018 rescue mission, are scheduled to visit the Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non-National Park this weekend.
Currently, only the exhibition zone and the area in front of the cave are accessible to the public. Starting in July, the first cave chamber, which stretches approximately 150 meters, will be opened to visitors. Each visiting group will be limited to a maximum of 25 people, with each round of exploration lasting 30 minutes.
To manage the flow of tourists, authorities have established a daily limit of 16 rounds, permitting up to 400 visitors to enter the first chamber each day. For the second chamber, only four groups consisting of 15 individuals will be granted access on a daily basis. To secure entry, applications must be submitted at least one week in advance. The third chamber will be reserved exclusively for researchers and experts, who are required to submit a letter to the department at least 30 days prior to their visit.
The implementation of these safety measures aims to ensure the preservation of Tham Luang Cave while also allowing limited public access for sightseeing and exploration. By carefully managing the number of visitors and controlling the duration of each visit, authorities seek to maintain a balance between safety and providing an opportunity for people to experience the cave’s natural wonders. (NNT)