Collapse closes famed ‘stone castle’ in UNESCO-listed Thai geopark

A file photo of the Prasat Hin Pan Yod in the Mu Ko Phetra National Park. Photo: National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department
A file photo of the Prasat Hin Pan Yod in the Mu Ko Phetra National Park. Photo: National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department

A stunning landscape of limestone formations, islands and turquoise lagoons that is part of a UNESCO-listed geopark was ordered shut indefinitely yesterday after a giant stone outcropping fell into the sea.

The Prasat Hin Pan Yod (Stone castle of a thousand spires) in southern Satun province was closed until further notice after a portion of it collapsed in the Satun Geopark, which is recognized by UNESCO for its abundance of ancient fossils. 

Fearing harm to visitors, Mo Ko Phetra National Park chief Wittaya Buapol ordered his team to cordon off the site, considered the geopark’s most outstanding, with red flags to keep tourists and local fishing boats clear of the area. 

Wittaya said the area can reopen as soon as experts confirm it is safe for visit again.

In October, one-fifth of the coral off a small islet in the Andaman Sea was destroyed after roughly 50,000 tons of cliff collapsed into the water.

The Satun Geopark, covering 2,479 square kilometers and four districts of Satun, won UNESCO designation in 2018 as Thailand’s first such park. It contains more than 500 million years of geological and natural history and is referred to as the “Land of Palaeozoic fossils.” 

National park workers investigate the Prasat Hin Pan Yod, where a portion of the rock formation fell into the sea. Photo: Prachachat
National park workers investigate the Prasat Hin Pan Yod, where a portion of the rock formation fell into the sea. Photo: Prachachat

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