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Overnight stays banned on Similan from October

PHUKET: Tourists will be banned from overnight stays on the pristine Similan Island in the Moo Koh Similan National Park in Phang Nga province to protect marine resources.

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 31 May 2018, 08:44AM

If anyone asks why tourists are banned from overnight stays in Similan National Park, just refer them to the photo above – a typical morning at Moo Koh Similan Marine National Park. Photo: Screengrab via Thai PBS

If anyone asks why tourists are banned from overnight stays in Similan National Park, just refer them to the photo above – a typical morning at Moo Koh Similan Marine National Park. Photo: Screengrab via Thai PBS

The famous island will be available for day trips only. The policy will make it easier for authorities to protect natural resources, said Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine ecologist and chairman of the government’s committee to draft a national master plan for marine resources management.

“The Moo Koh Similan National Park now sees an overwhelming number of visitors … the day-trip only option comes as a concrete step to cope with the problem,” said Dr Thon, deputy dean of Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Fisheries.

“They may trek, swim, dive but will have to leave at the end of the day,” he added.

The ban on overnight stays will start in October, when the marine park is officially open to tourists. The park was closed earlier this month.

Similan Island is the only one of nine islands in the national park that provides bungalows and camping grounds for visitors.

The overnight stay facilities were operated by the state.

The ban was announced by the National Park Office of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department last Friday (May 25).

Splash Beach Club

The department has already dismantled most of the bungalows and camping facilities, according to department director Songtam Suksawang.

“The cost-effectiveness of the repair of those houses is one factor, while concerns over the impact of wastewater from houses on the park’s environment is a more important factor leading to the decision to remove all those houses,” he said.

Similan Island, he said, was not suitable for overnight stays given a lack of fresh water and limited space, unlike larger islands such as in Tarutao National Park in Satun that are large enough to accommodate visitors, he said.

A boat ride to Similan is approximately one hour, so it isn’t necessary for anyone to spend the night at the park, he said.

The ban on overnight stays would also help cut an unnecessary workload on the park’s staff, he said.

The department is conducting an alternative tourism policy, he added.

Read original story here.



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Asterix | 31 May 2018 - 15:28:21

DNP Rangers should apply the same policy for all Marine National Parks in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, especially for all illegal private structures for day tours, bungalows, resorts, restaurants, bars, etc with a first start at Phi-Phi and Koh Lipee where it is a mess and an embarrassment for National Park Department.

CaptainJack69 | 31 May 2018 - 11:57:03

The DNP are starting to get the right idea, but like Maya Bay this needs to be just the start. Most people are there on day-trips anyway. They leave food and rubbish and human waste and get back on their pollution spewing speedboats and head back to shore (and then back to China within the next 3 days).

These restrictions are great. Lets see more of them and lets see them respected.

Kurt | 31 May 2018 - 11:51:57

.."Help cut workload on park staff""... Very social thinking, because park staff needs time run their own business on the side.
Closing accommodation also save the reefs, no more polluting bathroom/toilets flows into the sea around the island.
Anyway now it becomes a kind of Phi phi day tourism. And we know what that means.

Asterix | 31 May 2018 - 11:04:36

Very good decision by DNP Rangers but it is more important to close all restaurants run by DNP Rangers as well to prohibite package-tour operators to provide picnic buffets on the beaches as previous years.

All day-trippers should have lunch aboard boats to be sure they will bring back to port their garbages.

Asterix | 31 May 2018 - 11:04:13

Perhaps, DNP Rangers should limit to one boat per company with a maximum of 20 passengers per boat as it is done in many marine national parks in the world (Malaysia: Sipadan).

Xonax | 31 May 2018 - 10:47:15

Day-trip only tourists makes a higher profit. 

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