As the northern region of the country gears up for the surge of enthusiastic travelers during the colder months, vital nature preserves in the North are putting their foot down on liquor consumption, reinforcing guidelines to ensure every visitor complies. This timely action is courtesy of the stringent liquor regulation law put forth by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) back in 2021. The enforcement efforts are championed by Songkran Pakchokdee, who spearheads the StopDrink Network, an independent body committed to reducing alcohol intake.
Given the expected increase in foot traffic during the chilly season, especially in upper Thailand’s national parks, a favorite among sightseers, it is essential for park officials to tighten their approach in enforcing the alcohol prohibition. But the intent behind these stern measures stems not only from creating a safe and sober atmosphere for visitors who are more interested in the scenic allure than in booze-infused revelry.
Moreover, the parks themselves are also beneficiaries of this clampdown. It serves to reduce the litter and waste left behind by inebriated campers, thereby helping conserve the pristine condition of these natural spaces. Violators of the alcohol prohibition order may be in for a harsh wake-up call as they risk facing up to a month in confinement or a fine tipping the scales at 1,000 baht.
The seven parks stepping up their game against illicit drinking include enchanting spots like Doi Suthep-Pui, Op Khan, Phu Hin Rong Kla, Doi Inthanon, Chae Son, Phu Soi Dao, and Phu Chi Fa. At Suthep-Pui, assistant chief Surachet Phinitngam revealed that the park has put up visible signs to remind visitors about the no-alcohol rule. Similar announcements can also be found on their social media platform.
But the park workers are not just about enforcing laws; they also aim to foster a sense of responsibility among the park-goers. They will inspire visitors to participate in an environment conservation initiative by urging them to carry back all their waste once they wrap up their camping expedition.
Op Khan National Park’s officer Wanlop Mangtha points out an interesting challenge. Given its single-entry design, park employees have been able to conduct efficient checks for liquor at the entrance. This has so far helped maintain a strict no-alcohol environment within the park. But as the visitor numbers multiply during the tourist peak season, these standard checks might fall short. To combat this, the park might deploy random patrols around the camping site. The proposed plan underlines the committed efforts of the park’s team to create a secure and enjoyable environment for both the visitors and the parks themselves.