Last year, on the 23rd of June, the world heard about the Tham Luang cave in Thailand probably for the first time as news came in of 12 youngsters and their coach being trapped in the cave due to rising water. They were rescued nearly 18 days later and all went on to be celebrated as heroes.
One year on, driving home the point of us living in a crazy world of social media, this cave is today one of the biggest tourist attractions in Thailand.
Since the incident, nearly 1.3 million tourists have visited the site nestled in the serene mountainside of Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand. Some people are seen snapping selfies by the bronze statue of the diver who died trying to save the youngsters who belonged to the ‘Wild Boars’ football team, while others are collecting souvenirs left behind by them.
There is a visitor center at the site. It displays murals of the 12 boys and their assistant coach, and stars of the rescue. You can also pick up framed photos, posters of the footballers and a souvenir T-shirt from the many vendors outside the cave.
Their rescue operation involved thousands of people—100 divers, rescue workers from about 100 governmental agencies, 900 police officers, 2,000 soldiers, 10 police helicopters, seven police ambulances, 700 diving cylinders, and the pumping of more than a billion litres of water out of the caves—to rescue the boys.
Indeed, we live in a crazy, crazy world!