Thailand plans to add another 22 national parks in part to achieve a goal of foresting 55% of the kingdom by 2037.
The additional parks would bring the nation up to 155 registered protected areas, including marine parks, expanding the current 102.5 billion rai (16.4 million hectares) of forested areas, or about 32% of the country.
One of several 20-year plans enacted by the ruling junta before it was disbanded targets 55% coverage. Half of the new parks to come online are marine national parks totalling 44 million rai (7 million hectares). Altogether they amount to 13% of the national territory, according to the Tourism Authority.
The authority is celebrating the fact that five new parks have been established in under three years: four in the north and one on southern Koh Phangan.
“Part of the work to increase the forest area as well as forestry conservation is by the national park system under three key mandates, which are environmental conservation, research and recreational development,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, authority governor.
Recently established parks include Namtok Chet Sao Noi, which contains a scenic waterfall where, macabre folklore has it, seven women drowned together in eastern Saraburi province. Further north in Nan province, an over 1.5 kilometres above sea level, is Khun Sathan, set in rugged the mountains dividing the province from Nakhon Ratchasima.
Find waterfalls, cliffs and hot springs in Mae Takhrai atop several mountains including Doi Saket in Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces. Not far away in Lampang province is Doi Chong, the kingdom’s newest park established in April.
Finally, a reason other than puking under the full moon to go to Koh Phangan is the Than Sadet-Ko Phangan national park, where the island’s wild side thrives in its rugged and steep mountain range.