Thailand is applying for UNESCO status for two of its most recognisable, but very different, features this year.
The Andaman Coast and Tom Yam Kung.
The Thai culture committee has agreed to push for UNESCO World Heritage Site Status for the Andaman coastline.
A World Heritage Site is a cultural or natural landmark that has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). These sites are deemed worthy of preservation due to their universal value to humanity, both in the present and for future generations.
Further details have not yet been released including where the boundaries of the site would lie.
The Andaman coast in Thailand runs from Ranong in the North on the Myanmar border to Satun in the South on the Malaysian border.
The recognition process can take a number of years. The first stage is for the location to be added to the Tentative List that each country must submit all prospective locations to. Thailand currently has the following sites on the Tentative List:
- Ensemble of Phanom Rung, Muang Tam and Plai Bat Sanctuaries – situated near to Phanom Rung Mountain close to the Cambodia border
- Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex (KKFC) – a vast forest area in Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, and Prachuab Kirikhan provinces close to the Myanmar border
- Monuments, Sites and Cultural Landscape of Chiang Mai, Capital of Lanna
- Phra That Phanom, its related historic buildings and associated landscape – located within the walled compound of the “Temple of Phra That Phanom” in Nakorn Phanom Province.
- Phuphrabat Historical Park – located in Udon Thani close to the Laos border
- The Ancient Town of Si Thep – Si Thep is in Phetchabun Provinc and is Thailand’s largest ancient city
- Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, Nakhon Si Thammarat – the main Buddhist temple of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province in Southern Thailand.
Once Thailand is ready to proceed to the next stage they must submit a Nomination File, an exhaustive submission that is then sent to two Advisory Bodies for evaluation. It is then up to the World Heritage Committee to decide if the site is deemed suitable to be added to the list.
Thailand currently has the following recognised as UNESCO World Heritage sites:
- Ban Chiang Archaeological Site – Ban Chiang is considered the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in South-East Asia. Located in Udon Thani in northeast Thailand
- Historic City of Ayutthaya – located north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Its remains, characterised by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of its past splendour.
- Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns – Sukhothai was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 13th and 14th centuries. It has a number of fine monuments, illustrating the beginnings of Thai architecture.
- Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex – covering 230 km between Ta Phraya National Park on the Cambodian border and Khao Yai National Park. Home to more than 800 species of fauna, including 112 mammal species, 392 bird species and 200 reptile and amphibian species.
- Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries – Stretching over more than 600,000 ha along the Myanmar border, the sanctuaries, which are relatively intact, contain examples of almost all the forest types of continental South-East Asia. They are home to a very diverse array of animals, including 77% of the large mammals (especially elephants and tigers), 50% of the large birds and 33% of the land vertebrates to be found in this region.
Tom Yam Kung
The shrimp soup – flavoured with galangal, lemongrass, chilli, lime leaves, fish sauce and sugar – was proposed for recognition on the UNESCO Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Thai Culture Ministry..
The UNESCO Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage have the aim of ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance.
Tom Yam Kung will try to join Khon, the masked dance drama that combines musical, vocal, literary, dance, ritual and handicraft elements. Khon performances – which involve graceful dance movements, instrumental and vocal renditions and glittering costumes – depict the glory of Rama, the hero and incarnation of the god Vishnu, who brings order and justice to the world.
Nuad Thai, the traditional Thai massage is the other Thai entry on the list.
Songkran Water Festival and the southern Thailand dance, Nora are both already under consideration for inclusion.
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