Water­fall visit woes

Bangkok Post - - OPINION -

I would like to air my con­cern about a change of reg­u­la­tions for a visit to the fa­mous Ti Lo Su water­falls which now pro­hibits pri­vate ve­hi­cles to ac­cess the site. The only way to get there now is on one of the lo­cal 4x4 song­taew which form a car­tel-type mo­nop­oly among the lo­cal trans­porters.

This of course means that those with 4x4s and camp­ing gear, I am one of them, can­not in all prac­ti­cal­ity go to the camp­site as it would in­volve trans-load­ing all the gear to an in­fe­rior 4x4 ve­hi­cle and leav­ing the ve­hi­cle parked in town. Ap­par­ently, you can leave them at the po­lice sta­tion or your ho­tel, but the cost is un­clear.

The of­fi­cial rea­son I have been given for this change is pol­icy is: “The Tak gov­er­nor wants the peo­ple to have in­come.” The cost of a ve­hi­cle to do the 23km to the camp­site is 2,000 to 2,500 baht.

I vis­ited the at­trac­tion around Christ­mas/ New Year in 2014/15. I have a fully equipped 4x4 ve­hi­cle with camp­ing equip­ment and camp kitchen.

Due to the new reg­u­la­tions, I can­celled my trip this year.

While the gov­er­nor out of good­will to lo­cal peo­ple put in place the reg­u­la­tions, it turns out that the ban has a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the lo­cal econ­omy.

For ex­am­ple last year we can­celled the con­voy. This year I’ve also can­celled my visit to the area. This would have in­volved my ve­hi­cle and about four other 4x4s — each with 2 to 3 pas­sen­gers — re­sult­ing in the loss of about six room rentals for two days to the lo­cal re­sorts in Um­phang and a loss of park fees, ve­hi­cle fees and camp­ing fees to the lo­cal park.

It is cer­tain that many will no longer visit. The ho­tels and re­sorts I’ve spo­ken to are very con­cerned by the re­duc­tion in trade brought about by this ban. WD KELSALL

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