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5 June is World Environment Day. Thailand Today editorial team brings you to 4 scenic locations in Thailand which demonstrate the beauty of mother nature and its significance to mankind.

Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park is located mainly in Nakhon Ratchasima province just two hours’ drive from Bangkok. Established in 1962, the area comprises several notable features such as the western part of the Sankhamphaeng Mountain Range and a significant portion of the Khorat Plateau. It is a preferred natural retreat for many Thais living in the cities thanks to its 300 square kilometres of tropical forests and lush grasslands. Moreover, there are more than 3,000 species of plants and 386 species of animals who call this place home. Among this wide range of wildlife are the Asian black bears, Indian barking deer, Indian elephants and gibbons.

The third highest peak in Thailand, Khao Rom, and two beautiful waterfalls are located in this national park, including Heo Suwat made famous by the film The Beach. The natural beauty and diversity of Khao Yai National Park are internationally recognised as the park is currently both an ASEAN Heritage Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, with the increasing number of tourists as well as the nearby construction of numerous travel facilities, those who visit the national park are encouraged to enjoy what the park has to offer sustainably, and help preserve it for future generations.

 

 

Doi Tung Development Project

The Doi Tung Development Project is a people-centric development project, designed to help poor and vulnerable communities to attain socio-economic self-sufficiency. The project was initiated by Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, the late Princess Mother of Thailand, in accordance with her son, H.M. the late King Bhumibol’s plan to eradicate opium cultivation and liberate people from their financial burdens that had forced them to grow opium.

 

Decades ago, the people of Doi Tung, a mountainous region in far northern Thailand, used to be dependent on slash and burn farming as well as certain unlawful businesses—the farming and selling of opium, and illegal logging—as their sources of income. These all add up to never-ending social and environmental problems. Thanks to the Princess Mother’s determination and the development principles that she and the late King jointly developed, the Doi Tung Development Project was eventually started in 1988, covering large portions of Mae Fah Luang and Mae Sai districts in Chiang Rai province, and including various capacity-building measures for the locals.

 

As a result, more than 11,000 people from 29 villages are could now sustain their own livelihoods because of the revenues generated by green tourism and the sales of several agricultural products introduced to the region such as coffee and macadamia, and indigenous handicrafts that have become popular worldwide.

 

Phi Phi Islands

The Phi Phi Islands are a group of six tropical islands in Krabi provice, Thailand, with Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh being the two largest islands. Endowed with sublime natural beauty, the islands are internationally famous for their long white sandy beaches, beautiful limestone mountains, and abundant marine creatures. The islands grabbed worldwide attention when the film The Beach selected Phi Phi Leh as the main filming location. Since the film’s release, number of tourists surged, and several tourist facilities construction projects followed.

 

At present, tourists could reach Phi Phi islands via speedboats and long-tail boats from Krabi or piers in Phuket. Unfortunately, the thousands of tourists who flock to the islands also mean significant damages to the environment, as well as a sharp increase in waste, left behind by careless visitors. In the past years, the Government has initiated programs to encourage responsible tourism and to strictly enforce laws prohibiting littering, and the damaging of the environment. Most recently, Maya Bay at Phi Phi Leh has been closed to the public for four months, starting on 1 June 2018 to allow nature to recover.

 

Lumphini Park

Lumphini Park is perhaps the most popular urban park in Bangkok, situated at the heart of Pathum Wan district. The multi-use park offers Bangkokians and tourists a rare access to large, open public space and a green spot amidst the busy capital city. Covering the area of approximately 142 acres, Lumphini Park was originally constructed in 1925 by King Rama VI on royal property as the site for a national exhibition, but after the Second World War, it was rebuilt as the first park in the country.

 

Aside from being a public park, it also houses the Bangkok Elder Citizens Club, the Larn Tawan Yim Ground for disabled people, the Home of Hope refuge for homeless children, a public library, and a sports center. Paths around the park are also popular for morning and evening joggers, and the artificial lake in the middle of the park is a romantic spot for young couples.

 

More than half a century after the opening of the park, the area around the park—the outskirts of Bangkok at the time of its creation—is now a sprawling business area and a vibrant shopping district, and people may tend to overlook the park’s importance to the city’s quality of life. Apparently Lumphini Park is still one of the most notable features of Bangkok, and as the city continues to develop, the park will remain timeless for years to come.

 

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