Thai ‘gang of sinners’ damaging ancient Ayutthaya temple

Parts of Wat Chaiwatthanaram, an ancient temple in Ayutthaya, have been closed as officials seek to repair damages caused by tourists.

“Some tourists have not followed the rules. They climbed on ancient structures instead of using stairways,” Channarong Kaewruang, a historian working at the Ayutthaya Historical Park, said yesterday.

Inspired by the popular Ayutthaya period TV drama “Buppesannivas”, or “Love Destiny”, more than 10,000 tourists have recently visited the temple each day.

An artisan who is repairing the historic site said many bricks had fallen off the structure because tourists had climbed on it.

The historical park has erected boards warning tourists about banned behaviour.

Nattakorn Heepkaew, a 29 year-old tourist from Chon Buri, said he respected the rules and hoped others would do the same.

“We need to help conserve such historical sites or else such impressive sites will disappear in the future,” he said.

There have been a series of high-profile cases related to historic sites in Ayutthaya recently, including uproar after a group of Thai tourists posted photos of themselves posing on temples under the hashtag “gang of sinners”. – The Nation

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