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Tham Luang Cave reopens to visitors in November

Jack Burton

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The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation says it is reopening the Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai on November 1. The cave had a test opening on October 27 and everything went as planned.

It will be the first time visitors have been allowed into the caves since the famous Tham Luang Cave Rescue nearly 18 months ago. Since then, visitors have only been allowed to the entrance of the cave and but not inside. On October 27 officials had a test run to allow tourists inside again.

During the rescue, twelve members of a local junior football team, aged eleven to sixteen, along with their 25 year old assistant coach, were trapped after heavy rains partially flooded the cave whilst they were inside.

Rescue efforts were hampered by rising water levels and strong currents, and no contact was made for more than a week. The effort expanded into a massive operation amid intense worldwide public interest involving international rescue teams. On July 2, divers found the group alive on an elevated rock about 4 kilometres from the cave mouth. Between July 8 and 10, all the boys and their coach were rescued in a risky, exquisitely-prepared and innovative operation.

Since the rescue there has been a massive renovation to the cave. All the rescue equipment has been removed and safety rails and decorations have been placed inside to ensure visitors can explore the cave safely.

The ‘test’ visitors were divided into groups of 25 to 30. Three groups were allowed in at a time, and later groups only admitted when the previous groups returned. All the visitors say were pleased with the process and changes to the cave, according to the cave’s spokesman.

The official opening date is November 1 and visitors can enter the cave from 9am – 4,30pm every day.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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