Similan Island scenic view & map (Source: Wikipedia)
Small island in Phang Nga to be closed to save it from over-tourism (food-stalls, speed boats, thousands of tourists).
TOURISM & THE ENVIRONMENT
Tachai Island closed: Tourism damage to environment
There are the big tourism islands (Koh Samui, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samet) that most people have traveled to.
Then there are the many less-traveled to small islands in Thailand's Marine National Parks.
Even getting to these islands is not so easy.
To get to the Similan Islands, the subject of this article, you have to travel to Khao Lak in Phang Nga Province first (see here).
Recently, more and more tourists have been finding to these "off the beaten path" islands and the government is taking steps to protect them for the future, rather than having them irreparably harmed by a sudden onslaught of tourism.
One of the smallest of the Similan Islands, Koh Tachai, is being closed entirely.
CLOSING ISLAND TO REDUCE IMPACT OF TOURISM
The shoreline, beaches and coral reefs around Koh Tachai island in Phangnga province will be off-limits to all visitors indefinitely, starting Oct 15.
Reducing the impact of heavy tourism on the environment in Similan National Park, a natural conservation area, is the reason for the closure.
The measure is part of the master plan for marine resource management in the Andaman Sea.
Similan Islands map (Source: Wikipedia)
MARINE NATIONAL PARK CLOSURE DURING MONSOON
All marine national parks are closed from Monday to Oct 15 during the monsoon.
But after Oct 15, Koh Tachai of the Similan Islands National Park will remain closed indefinitely because of overcrowding and the degradation of natural resources and the environment from tourism on the island.
Two deep dive sites in the Similan Islands remain open to divers and tourists.
The environment both on the island and in the sea must be rehabilitated without being disturbed by tourism activities before the damage is beyond repair.
The closure of Koh Tachai was declared more than three months in advance, tourists should watch out for some tour companies which might try to sell trips to the island after Oct 15.
Tourists take photos on Koh Tachai in January 2015. (Bangkok Post file photo)
WHAT ACADEMIC EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY
Asst Prof Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy dean of the Faculty of Fisheries of Kasetsart University, said when he was a guest speaker at a tourism fair organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand on Sunday he found that 14 tour companies were still selling their tour packages to Koh Tachai.
"In fact, Koh Tachai is preserved as a primitive zone [ecologically sensitive protected zone], not a tourist site."
"A beach on the island is capable of holding up to 70 people at a time. But sometimes the number of tourists is well over 1,000 on the beach, which is crowded with food stalls and tour boats."
"This makes the island to quickly deteriorate. If it is not closed now, we would lose Koh Tachai permanently," he said.
Scenic view on Similan Islands (Source: Wikipedia)
Small turtle found in the Similan Islands. (Source: Wikipedia)
activity (noun): a thing that you do for work, interest or pleasure, or in order to achieve a particular aim - กิจกรรม
closure (noun): the shutting down of a school, factory or other business or service - การปิด
conservation (noun): the protection of plants and animals, natural areas, and interesting and important structures and buildings, especially from the damaging effects of human activity - การอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ, การป้องกันความสูญเสีย, การสงวนไว้
coral reef : an area of coral, the top of which can sometimes be seen just above the sea - แนวปะการัง
damage (verb): to harm or spoil something/somebody - ทำความเสียหาย
declare : to announce officially that something is true or happening - ประกาศ ยืนยัน
degradation : when the beauty or quality of something is destroyed or spoilt - การทำให้เสื่อมเสีย
disturb : to interrupt somebody or cause them to stop when they are trying to work, sleep, etc - รบกวน
dive (noun): one trip by a diver underwater - ดำน้ำ
diver : a person who works underwater, usually with special equipment - นักดำน้ำ
ecological : of the system of relationships between the air, land, water, animals, plants, etc., usually of a particular area - เกี่ยวกับความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างสิ่งมีชีวิตในระบบนิเวศน์
ecologically : of the system of relationships between the air, land, water, animals, plants, etc., usually of a particular area - เกี่ยวกับความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างสิ่งมีชีวิตในระบบนิเวศน์
environment (noun): the natural world including plants and animals, land, water, air, especially as it is affected by human activities - สิ่งแวดล้อม
impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ
in advance : before the time that is expected; before something happens - ล่วงหน้า
indefinitely : for a period of time with no fixed end - ไม่มีข้อกำหนด
management : the act or skill of dealing with people or situations in a successful way - การจัดการ
marine : relating to the sea and creatures that live in it - เกี่ยวกับทะเล
master plan : a detailed plan that will make a complicated project successful -
measure : a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ
monsoon : the season of heavy rain during the summer in hot Asian countries - มรสุม
national park (noun): a park run by the government of a country - สวนสาธารณะแห่งชาติ, อุทยานแห่งชาติ
natural : existing in nature; not made or caused by humans - เป็นธรรมชาติ, ตามธรรมชาติ
natural resources (noun): things such as water, coal, trees, wildlife and oil that exist in nature and can be used by people - ทรัพยากรธรรมชาติ
off-limits : (of a place or area of land) not allowed to enter - ที่ห้ามเข้า,ที่ไม่อนุญาตให้ผ่านเข้าไป
overcrowding (noun): having too many people or things in something ซึ่งแออัดยัดเยียด - ซึ่งแออัดยัดเยียด
province : one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
reason (noun): why something happened or exists - เหตุผล
reduce : to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - ลดลง
rehabilitate : to return someone or something to a good or healthy condition, state or way of living - ฟื้นฟูสุขภาพ
remain : to still be present after the other parts have been removed, used, etc; to continue to exist - ยังเหลืออยู่
repair : to fix something that is broken or damaged - ซ่อมบำรุง
resources : things such as water, coal, trees and oil that exist in nature and can be used by people - ทรัพยากร
sensitive : easily upset by the things people say or do - รับความรู้สึกได้ง่าย
shoreline : the edge of the sea, the ocean, or lake, large river - แนวชายฝั่ง
visitor (noun): a person who goes to a place for a short time; a tourist or guest - นักท่องเที่ยว, ผู้มาเยี่ยม, ผู้มาเยือน
watch out : look for something dangerous, be careful - ระวัง
zone : an area that has an important or typical feature; an area where a particular activity is allowed or not allowed - พื้นที่, บริเวณ, เขต