BANGKOK — A group of Thai tourists who visited Yellowstone National Park in the United States raised eyebrows for casually tromping over a restricted area and harassing the tour guide who filmed them.
Footage of the incident, which happened late last month according to the original video uploaded to YouTube, shows a large group of Thai tourists milling about a thermal pool, including a child perched on the edge poking at the water.
“What the heck. Hey! Get out of there,” the guide can be heard telling the group. After he challenges them for ignoring a warning sign that people should not approach the pool, a few walk away while others continue posing for photos.
“From Thailand,” one woman offers in simple reply, while a man in the group follows the guide and tells him to delete the footage.
“Why?” the woman laughs. “I’m Thai!” She then laughs some more. However, some viewers have claimed that the woman says that she is “shy,” not “Thai.” Regardless, Thai viewers of the video have stated that the people are indeed speaking Thai.
On Tuesday, Channel 3 got hold of one of the women, who identified herself as Anna Orawan and said she lived in Los Angeles. She defended her actions as no big deal, saying “others have done it too” and arguing that if it was really forbidden, the area should be cordoned off.
Yellowstone’s many hot springs can be highly acidic. In June 2016, a visitor’s body was entirely dissolved after he wandered off a path and fell into one.
The original YouTube video was watched more than 400,000 times before it was deleted. It also rose to the front page of Reddit and was picked up on Monday by Social Hunter, a Facebook page popular in Thailand. The clip elicited strong responses from many Thais who said they were ashamed and condemned the behavior.
“Let me tell you honestly that what you guys did was fucking bad. This is Yellowstone National Park, and there exists a clear sign forbidding people from entering the area because the place is fragile, and if it caved in, you folks would die,” the page admin wrote in a post shared nearly 4,000 times.
Others were more concise in their criticism.
“Dick. These people are disgusting,” wrote Facebook user Anuharee Aukkraranart.
Not all were angry at the tourists, however.
“Stupid white boy, take a chill pill. People travel far just to see it, let them take few pictures, what’s up with you?” wrote Facebook user Lisa N Txawj Zeb.
YouTube user “Jeff H.,” who first posted the video, said he was giving a tour to visitors from South America when they encountered the group near the Fairy Falls trailhead. A small warning sign nearby says “Danger. Fragile Thermal Area.”
After he tells them to leave the area, one of the women tells the others in Thai, “It’s beautiful out there. Quick!”
“Hey, don’t do that? Get out of there!” the guide repeats, saying he will turn in the video. “Hey don’t do that. Get out of there.”
“I know. But I want to.” a middle-aged woman replies in English with a laugh.
“No. I don’t care. You don’t do that,” the man replies. “It’s not funny.”
“Why? I’m shy,” replies the woman.
“Look lady, no walking.”
“Oh, sorry. From Thailand!”
A Thai man who appeared to be part of the group then walks over, confronts the videographer and tells him to delete the video: “You take photo? Why? Why?”
He then was told by the cameraman that it was wrong to trespass there.
“Yes, I know.”
“So why are you out there?”
The Thai man, who looked threatening, wasn’t able to provide any reasons and acknowledged: “Yes I know.”
The guide added in text at the end of the video that he was thankful no one got hurt.
“Even though I received threats from the Asian group regarding this video, I am posting for education and hopefully some goods comes from it,” wrote the cameraman.According to the park’s sign, the ground at thermal areas may be only a thin crust above boiling hot spring or scalding mud. “There’s no way to guess a safe path: new hazards can bubble up overnight, and some pools are acidic enough to burn through boots. More than a dozen people have been scaled to death and hundreds badly burned and scarred.”