Thailand

Thai officials plan to nominate historic park for World Heritage status

Hor Nang Usa is located in Phu Phra Bat Historical Park, Udon Thani, photo by Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Thai officials are continuing to seek recognition for the kingdom’s rich heritage. The country’s World Heritage Convention Committee is collecting information for an application for the Phu Phra Bat Historical Park to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The park is located in Thailand’s northeast province of Udon Thani. The site demonstrates Thailand’s prehistoric beliefs, according to Lieutenant General Phatchasak. It has unusual rock formations and ancient drawings, which display Therevada Buddhist beliefs.

The director-general of the Fine Arts Department said the committee would forward the proposal to relevant parties before submitting it to Unesco in January. UNESCO will then consider the proposal over several months, Bangkok Post reported.

The nomination dossier will also propose Si Ma cultural site and Wat Phraputthabat Bua Ban to UNESCO, Phatchasak said.

Thailand currently has six UNESCO Heritage Sites. These sites are the historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns, the Historic City of Ayutthaya, Thungyai-Huai Wildlife Sanctuaries, Bang Chiang Archaeological Site, Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, and Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex.

Beyond sites, Thailand’s rich heritage has been recognised in many other areas as well. Earlier this month, raising water buffalo at the Thale Noi Waterfowl Park in the southern province of Pattalung was declared a Global Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

In December 2021, Southern Thailand’s traditional, and ultra-elaborate, folk dance “Nora” was recognised by UNESCO as a piece of Thailand’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage.”

The Nora performance, which can last up to three days and three nights, joined the elite ranks of Thailand’s other two recognised on the heritage list, the Thai massage and masked Khon dance.

The dance is believed to date back as far as 1305 with roots in India. Accompanied by a fast-paced rhythmic orchestra of drums, gongs, and cymbals, the Nora dancers, with their ultra-long fingernails known as the lep- perhaps the most recognisable feature of the outfit, wear vibrantly patterned shirts, a pik neng or pair of wings, along with various bangles and bracelets.

The Phu Phra Bat Historical Park is another thing that displays the depth of Thailand’s cultural history.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.