CHIANG RAI -Former Chiang Rai Governor Mr. Narongsak Osotthanakorn, who is now Governor of Phayao helped kick off The Tham Luang Cave Day Bike & Run 2019 to mark the first anniversary of the Tham Luang rescue operation and to raise a funds for the Tham Luang Cave-Khun Nam Nang Non Development Fund.
The event comprised a 10-kilometer-long mini-marathon, a six-kilometer fun run and cycling on 54km and 24km routes.The routes start and end at Tham Luang cave, Khun Nam Nang Non National Park, passing by historical sites related to the cave rescue operation.
At least 5,000 people took part, including running club members, cycling club members, tourists and the general public. All proceeds will go to the Tham Luang Cave-Khun Nam Nang Non Development Fund.
On June 23, 2018, 12 young footballers and the coach of the Wild Boar Football Club in Chiang Rai province were trapped in the Tham Luang Cave. They were all rescued by a team of renowned cave diving and rescue experts from around the world. The rescue operation took 17 days.
At present, tourists can visit Tham Luang cave and observe the monument to Lieutenant Commander Saman Kunan, or Ja Sam, created by Chalermchai Khositphiphat and a team of Chiang Rai artists to commemorate his courage and sacrifice. There is also a large painting, The Hero, created by local artists to remind people of what happened at the cave.
There are also shops selling community products, souvenirs and food, which generate additional income for people in the community. The national park provides shuttle bus services to facilitate tourists. It was found that, from October 2018 until present, there have been more than 1.3 million visitors to the national park, an increase from only about 40,000 visitors per year in the past.
By Supawadee Wangsri