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Tour boats allowed at Phi Phi’s Loh Samah Bay

PHUKET: Tour speedboats lined up on the beach at Loh Samah Bay, bringing with them day-tripping tourists, are allowed, officials at Hat Nopparat-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park have confirmed to The Phuket News today (June 28).


By Sirapisit Bunchoocheep

Thursday 28 June 2018, 05:17PM


The news comes while all access to nearby Maya Bay – by boat or even onto the beach – remains strictly “no visitors allowed” until at least Oct 1 to allow the coral reefs and marine ecosystem there to recover from damage brought on by years of heavy tourism to the world-renowned site. The bay was closed on June 1.

At last report, Hat Nopparat-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park Chief Worapoj Lomlim confirmed that a floating pier was to be built at Loh Samah Bay so that boats could drop off tourists without dropping anchor and risking damage to reefs in Loh Samah Bay. (See story here.)

However, tour speedboats are now returning en masse to Loh Samah Bay, which is just a short walk walk along a jungle path to view Maya Bay.

With Park Chief Worapoj unavailable away today, Deputy Park Chief Pinij Aung-Chuan today told The Phuket News, “Tourists can visit there as normal. There is currently no limit on the number of boats, or tourists, allowed to visit Loh Samah Bay.”

Deputy Park Chief Pinij assured The Phuket News that no tourists were being allowed to access Maya Bay.

“Tourists cannot sneak into Maya Bay [from Loh Samah Bay] because park officers have been posted to keep an eye on tourists there [on the main path across the island], and the other path is too steep and bordered by rocky cliffs,” he said.

Speaking of the coral-restoration project currently underway in Maya Bay, Mr Pinij said, “The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is working with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) and the Department of Marine Science at the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University to carry the project.

“We are co-ordinating our studies and we are bringing coral branches from mature corals at Yoong Island and planting them in Maya Bay,” he said.

QSI International School Phuket

Whether the project was showing signs of success, Mr Pinij explained, “It is too early to tell. We are still compiling data and the project is not concluded yet.”

Mr Pinij also confirmed that his officers have so far not had any issues with tourist attempting to sneak into Maya Bay while it is closed.

Currently a string off floating buoys have been installed to rope off the entrance to Maya Bay by boat.

Nonthasak Marine, one of Phuket’s busiest speedboat day tour providers to the area, reported earlier this month that the bay closure had not affected tour sales.

“It has not affected us,” said Sittichai Buaban, Nonthasak Marine’s Sales & Marketing Manager.

“We are still selling the same number of tours, but instead of taking tourists to Maya Bay, we take them to Phi Phi Don and other popular sites,” he said.

“We actually still take them to the front of Maya Bay where floating buoys have been installed to prevent boats from entering the bay and our tour guides explain to them – and show them – this is as close as you can get for now,” he added. (See story here.)

 

 

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Nasa12 | 30 June 2018 - 15:30:43

"we are bringing coral branches from mature corals at Yoong Island and planting them in Maya Bay,
Read more at" This tell every thing about Mr Pinij and DNP they are completely behind goals and useless.

BenPendejo | 30 June 2018 - 12:31:37

Vegasbaby is correct...4 months does nothing for coral restoration for reefs damaged over decades of mismanagement.  Once again, I predict more irreparable damage to the natural environment, brought about by incompetent public officials and the greed and interests of relative few.  This comes at untold costs to Thai citizens and the planet as a whole.  Is a pity and a shame.

vegasbaby | 29 June 2018 - 19:10:27

Coral takes many years to grow and develop.  Closing 4 months, then allowing visitation again does nothing to restore the coral.  To make sure there is no drop-off in tourist sales, and tea money, it\'s ok then to let the mongers destroy another beautiful beach and more coral.  What is wrong with you people?

BenPendejo | 29 June 2018 - 15:56:58

Boy, big surprise here. As always, the need to keep baht flowing in excessive amounts will always override effective environmental protection and conservation. I really weep for Thailand's natural environment, which continues it's rapid decline at the hands of inept, unqualified and corrupt officials.  Management by greed and payola.

Kurt | 29 June 2018 - 09:35:41

Coral-restauration, now at cost of Phi Phi island environment. A few thousand tourist daily over the 'jungle path' will not do good either. What a mess/pollution. And why not limit number of boats? Set up a internet booking system for limited boats numbers. No booking number? Not allowed to land people on PhiPhi. Punish with a 10,000 thb fine each time not booked boats ignore the rules.

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