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Tham Luang, site of dramatic 2018 rescue, re-opens to tourists on Friday

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Wikimedia

A Thai cave complex, which came to the world’s attention during a dramatic rescue in 2018, will re-open to visitors from Friday. The Tham Luang cave, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, hit the media spotlight when 12 young footballers and their coach became trapped by floodwaters 3 years ago.

The Bangkok Post reports that the cave complex, in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district, has been closed to visitors since April due to the Covid-19 pandemic. From Friday, tourists will be able to walk along a trail that has been newly extended, into the Tham Luang cave.

The visit now includes the underground chamber used by Navy seal divers as they embarked on their daring rescue of the trapped youths and their football coach. According to the Bangkok Post report, the chamber lies 200 metres from the cave’s entrance and is the only cave open to the public, with entry barred to other areas further inside the complex.

Kawee Prasompon, chief of the Khun Nam Nang Non forest park where the caves are located, says the newly extended trail will allow tourists to reach the chamber within about 15 minutes. To reach the area where the boys and their coach were trapped would take days.

“Noen Nom Sao, the chamber where the footballers and their coach were trapped, is actually located 2.43km from the mouth of the cave. It would take days to walk there, given the conditions.”

The Bangkok Post reports that visitor numbers will be limited to 40 at any one time, to comply with health and safety measures and to ensure there is no build-up of carbon dioxide. Flashlights and colour cards will be given to visitors prior to entry. They will also need to be fully vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test result.

Read a revue of the latest ‘rescue’ film HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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