Tourist surge at Si Thep sparks concerns over sacred site damage

Picture courtesy of Thailand Tourism Directory.

An unexpected surge in tourists at Si Thep Historical Park, recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on September 19, sparked concerns among locals in Phetchabun. The locals are worried about the increasing number of visitors scaling Khao Klang Nok, a historical site within the park.

The site, considered sacred and located approximately 2 kilometres from the old city ruins, is revered by the community, who believe that climbing it is inappropriate and potentially damaging.

Khao Klang Nok is a collapsed brick and laterite stupa, extending 64 metres on each side and standing 20 metres tall. The hill is home to several valuable relics, like ancient stupas that are held in high esteem by local Buddhists, reported Bangkok Post.

Weerawat Wattanawongphreuk, the district chief, shared these concerns with the head of Si Thep Historical Park earlier this week. Weerawat suggested that the park might soon enforce a ban on climbing Khao Klang Nok to preserve its sanctity and protect its historical value. Presently, the park authorities permit visitors to climb to the hill’s summit.

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“A personal belief of mine is that a restriction on climbing would add more value to this ancient location. The act of ascending to the top doesn’t hold much significance; people just want to capture photos of the landscape.

“The benefit is not substantial. It is more suitable to remain below and admire this ancient site, now recognised as a World Heritage site.”

Si Thep Historical Park in Phetchabun experienced an unexpected surge in visitor numbers over the weekend, following its announcement as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on September 19. The ensuing tourism influx prompted local agencies to call on the government for increased accommodation and facilities for the increasing number of tourists. To read more click HERE

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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